Headed by two of our very own and with plenty of interest heading into the first AFL-sanctioned women’s match, the crowd of 7518 were treated to a fantastic display of the ability women possess.
Although there could only be one winner on the night, Michelle Cowan’s Melbourne running out 32-point winners over Peta Searle’s Western Bulldogs, the interest, intrigue and support gathered throughout the contest means that the goal of ultimately having a national women’s competition seems a whole lot closer.
Despite many predicting a Bulldogs win, it was the Demons that claimed the first goal through speedy young midfielder Ellie Blackburn, a classy snap from a tight angle. The Bulldogs’ Kira Phillips converted a set shot to get the Dogs’ first major.
Western Australia’s leading goal kicker Chelsea Randall marked and goaled from close to goal and when Steph Walding’s snap from out the back of a pack snuck through, the margin began to open up. Alicia Eva and Alexandra Price added majors before the half-time break to give the Demons a comfortable 23-point buffer at half time. Darebin’s Daisy Pearce had 15 disposals to the half while Ellie Blackburn and Kara Donnellan racked up 11 and nine respectively.
A blistering run from the Bulldogs’ Kira Phillips to setup a goal for Steph Chiocci had the Dogs back in it but the Demons’ Courtney Gum marked and goaled from the goal square to push the margin back out. Kira Phillips kicked her second for the Bulldogs before the end of the quarter, just keeping the Bulldogs in touch.
A goal line volley-like goal from Melbourne ruckman Lou Wotton had the Demons picturing the finish line. When Jasmine Garner marked and goaled from the goal square, the Demons were home, eventually claiming the win, and the Hampson-Hardeman Cup, by 32 points.
Darebin and Melbourne captain Daisy Pearce, also the number one draft pick in the first women’s draft, claimed best on ground honours after claiming a staggering 28 disposals from four 15-minute quarters.