Melbourne will be anxiously awaiting an update on Daisy Pearce’s fitness ahead of the AFLW finals after the Demons captain suffered a knee injury in her side’s two-point win over Brisbane.
- Pearce left the field early in the Demons’ victory over the Lions
- The win gives the Demons a home final
- The Kangaroos secured a finals berth following a one-point defeat of the Dockers
Meanwhile, the six finals teams are locked in after North Melbourne sealed its spot with a gritty one-point victory over Fremantle.
Pearce was injured when she was tackled while attempting to kick a goal in the opening two minutes of Saturday afternoon’s match at Casey Fields, and immediately headed down to the rooms.
The 32-year-old was ruled out of the remainder of the match with “knee soreness”, leaving the Demons a player down.
From there, Brisbane took the ascendancy before Melbourne mounted a brave fightback to secure a 6.2 (38) to 6.0 (36) victory and a home qualifying final.
The match was a missed opportunity for the Lions, who kicked out to a 17-point lead in the third quarter but let the match — and with it their shot at top spot on the ladder — slip in the final term.
Young tall Eden Zanker dominated for the Demons with 25 disposals and Shelley Scott kicked three goals, while Brisbane’s Ally Anderson (22 disposals) continued her excellent season and Lions forward Dakota Davidson booted two goals.
Lions sensation Courtney Hodder made her mark when she burned off her opponent, kicked the ball up to herself and steered through a goal on the run to give Brisbane some breathing space in the second term.
Brisbane looked in control when Lauren Arnell extended their lead to 17 points in the third term, before Scott’s third kept the Demons within touching distance at the final change.
Alyssa Bannan cut the deficit to five points with a long-range goal early in the final term, while Tyla Hanks put Melbourne in front barely a minute later.
Brisbane’s Greta Bodey received a free kick on the paint of 50-metre arc and lined up after the siren to win the match, but her shot fell short.
Roos through to finals
North Melbourne coach Darren Crocker said the Kangaroos’ thrilling one-point win over Fremantle was “a great dress rehearsal” for their upcoming finals campaign.
The Kangaroos had to dig deep to overcome the Dockers at Arden Street Oval on Saturday afternoon, with Daisy Bateman’s late goal seeing them snatch a 4.6 (30) to 4.5 (29) win and a finals spot.
The result crushed Carlton’s faint finals hopes and means the top six — Brisbane, Collingwood, Adelaide, Fremantle, North Melbourne and Melbourne — is locked in, although their positions can change.
“It’s a great dress rehearsal for us, to come up against a team that have been a really formidable force for a number of years now,” Crocker said.
“They play a really high-pressure game of football which is going to be really similar to finals football.
“For our girls to have to be able to absorb it and go again, I think it’s a really good dress rehearsal for finals.”
Jasmine Garner starred for the Kangaroos with 25 disposals and a goal, while skipper Emma Kearney (24 touches) and ball magnet Ashleigh Riddell (33 disposals) were also excellent.
Kiara Bowers (19 disposals) and Steph Cain (15 touches) were busy for the Dockers.
Cats hand Suns wooden spoon
Geelong have avoided the ignominy of a winless AFLW season, instead inflicting that fate on Gold Coast with a 17-point win over the Suns in their wooden spoon playoff in Carrara.
The Cats made the most of a three-goal first term on Saturday to secure a 6.5 (41) to 3.6 (24) win and finish the year with a 1-8 record for 2021.
Defeat for the Suns however means they end the season bottom of the ladder with an 0-9 record in a year where they’ve made history for all the wrong reasons.
The Suns not only posted the lowest score in AFLW history this season, they also set a new mark for the heaviest defeat in the competition’s history.
Veteran Richelle Cranston scored two goals for the Cats, including a sensational solo effort in the third quarter where she sold a dummy to her opponent before kicking home from just inside the 50m arc with the outside of her right boot.
Cranston had earlier scored one of the first two goals of the game for the visitors in an opening quarter which ended with a bit of push and shove.
That led to a 50m penalty against the Suns which allowed Rene Caris to kick the Cats’ third after the siren and take a 19-point lead into the opening break.
It was one of 11 free-kicks conceded by the hosts in the opening term, which was spent largely inside their defensive 50.
Suns’ star Kalinda Howarth kicked two goals for the Suns, who were unable to get the margin under a goal despite battling hard following a poor opening quarter.
The Cats iced the victory with a goal on the siren that sparked jubilant celebrations with a pack of players falling on goalkicker Rebecca Webster.
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