A standout performance in front of goal from former Australian cricketer, Jess Cameron, was one of the major talking points from Melbourne’s 71-point win over the Brisbane Lions. While Cameron finished the day with six goals, it was Melbourne’s rampaging opening quarter that set up the win.
From the opening bounce, Melbourne’s experienced on-ball brigade surged the ball forward relentlessly; with Maddie Boyd, Alicia Eva and Cameron all capitalising on the midfielders great work early in the term. One of those midfielders providing sliver-service to their forwards was Elise O’Dea.
“From the moment the ball went up we were ready. We focused on just doing the team things and being able just to switch on straight away.” O’Dea said.
And ‘switch on’ they did, finishing the quarter with six goals and keeping the Brisbane Lions scoreless. With seven new faces in the line-up from the team that took the field in March, each new player slotted seamlessly into the Melbourne system; speaking volumes of the leadership that coach Michelle Cowan and captain Daisy Pearce provide.
“It was lead from the front by Daisy; her leadership is just second to none. She got the group together and we were able to gel. Everyone knew their role on game day and it wasn’t a surprise to us the way we came out.” O’Dea explained.
Meanwhile, Jess Cameron’s goal-kicking clinic validated the AFL’s push to entice talent from other elite sports. Cameron, who will continue her cricket at state level, is a strong advocate for playing multiple sports.
“I’d certainly encourage all girls to play whatever sport they’re playing for as long as they can until someone tells you to decide. I’m just looking forward to playing both.” Cameron said after the match.
The game was more even after quarter time. Brisbane’s Selina Goodman got first hands on it in the ruck, but their midfielders were unable to capitalise around the ground. Despite this, Megan Hunt, Sam Virgo, Emma Zielke and Emily Bates all battled hard and Kate McCarthy kicked two final-quarter goals. However, the damage had been done and the Demons were able to extend their lead at each break, running out comfortable 71-point winners.
Despite the final margin, the match was an exciting free-flowing affair. In the lead up to the game there had been some conjecture about rule trials, most notably the ‘last touch out of bounds rule’. From a spectator’s perspective, on the wide expanses of the MCG, it appeared to have very little impact on the game. That view was also shared at ground-level:
“I didn’t really notice it. It just kept the game moving and there weren’t as many stoppages. If anything, you tried to keep it in a bit more and look for a player, which we were trying to do anyway.” Elise O’Dea said.
Round two of the 2016 AFL Women’s Exhibitions Series continues on June 5 when the Western Bulldogs take on Western Australia at Etihad Stadium, 12:40pm AEST.
MELBOURNE: 6.4 8.5 10.7 14.7 (91)
BRISBANE: 0.0 1.0 1.1 3.2 (20)
Melbourne: Cameron 6, Boyd 3, Eva, Foley, Kemp, D. Pearce, L. Pearce
Brisbane: McCarthy 2, Law
Melbourne: Blackburn 25, Lochland 24, Hosking 22, O’Dea 19, D. Peace 19
Brisbane: Virgo 19, Hunt 17, Bates 15, Zielke 13, Anderson 12