Western Bulldogs 5. 6. 36
Melbourne Demons 6. 4. 40
After enjoying an excellent game at the MCG back in May, I was more than happy to lug myself across town to Etihad for the fourth match-up between Western Bulldogs and Melbourne Demons in the women’s AFL exhibition match series.
I have no love for Etihad: the roof was closed in the middle of the day, lights point the wrong direction and security are always a little overzealous – but heck, to watch a women’s game, I’d come here every week.
The Demons got away to an early start but the Dogs lifted their intensity dramatically in the second half and star forward Katie Brennan kicked four goals – she was easy to pick out on the field thanks to the long white ribbon in her hair. In the low scoring game, Brennan literally carried the Dogs up forward.
Momentum was with the Dogs and in classic Dees fashion, I was waiting patiently in the final quarter to see if the Demons would clutch defeat from the jaws of victory, but they held on, winning by a four points.
Best on ground with 30 disposals went to Demons captain and possibly our first women’s AFL superstar, Daisy Pearce. Pearce and Brennan both play for Darebin Falcons so I think I’ve just picked myself a WVFL team. Other solid performances were from the speccy-pro and young 18 year old, Demon’s Tayla Harris and Dog’s Moana Hope, who had a quieter game than usual. She still managed to kick 1. 2 even though Dogs struggled in first half to get the ball up forward.
With the footy record in my lap and pen in hand, it struck me how quickly you can develop an affinity or love for a game. After just a couple of live matches, I’m learning the names and playing styles of the league’s top stars. I’ve got my favourite players already. The crowd was enthusiastic. I even hummed the Demons song at the end, and I’m a Collingwood member.
In sports-mad Melbourne, we’ll take to women’s AFL like a duck to water. And there was something about the white ribbon bobbing up and down in Brennan’s blonde hair that reminded me this sport is going to be different – in its own way – to men’s AFL and that difference is going to be a good thing.