AFTER so many seasons being around the mark, last season Melbourne got the closest they have ever been to finally breaking through for the ultimate glory.
The offseason expansion and trade period was also kind to the Dees, with all bar one of their losses players that were on the fringe of selection anyway.
With the hunger of going one better then last season combined with a relatively same best 21, there is no reason to suggest the Dees will not be a contender again in season 7.
Position: 2nd (Runners Up)
Best & Fairest: Daisy Pearce
Leading Goalkicker: Tayla Harris
IN: Jordan Ivey (Geelong), Charlotte Wilson (Carlton), Blaithin Mackin (Ireland), Georgia Gall (Murray Bushrangers/Cricket), Samantha Johnson (Casey), Meave Chaplin (Redrafted from Casey), Sabreena Duffy (Fremantle)
OUT: Jacqueline Parry (Geelong), Shelley Scott (Geelong), Brenna Tarrant (Sydney), Lauren Magee (stepping away), Isabella Simmons (West Coast), Krstel Petrevski (West Coast)
Alyssa Bannan, Libby Birch, Alison Brown, Georgia Campbell, Maggie Caris, Maeve Chaplin, Sabreena Duffy, Megan Fitzsimon, Georgia Gall, Maddison Gay, Tahlia Gillard, Sinead Goldrick, Tyla Hanks, Tayla Harris, Shelley Heath, Kate Hore, Jordan Ivey, Samantha Johnson, Sarah Lampard, Blaithin Mackin, Lily Mithen, Karen Paxman, Daisy Pearce, Lauren Pearce, Olivia Purcell, Casey Sherriff, Eliza West, Charlotte Wilson, Eden Zanker
Inactive: Gabby Colvin, Rhi Watt, Eliza McNamara
Round 1: @ Adelaide | Norwood Oval
Round 2: vs. North Melbourne | ETU Stadium
Round 3: @ St Kilda | RSEA Park
Round 4: vs. Brisbane | Casey Fields
Round 5: @ Carlton | Ikon Park
Round 6: @ Fremantle | Fremantle Oval
Round 7: vs. Western Bulldogs | Casey Fields
Round 8: @ Gold Coast | Metricon Stadium
Round 9: vs. Essendon | Casey Fields
Round 10: vs. West Coast | Casey Fields
B: Libby Birch – Charlotte Wilson
HB: Sinead Goldrick – Sarah Lampard – Shelley Heath
C: Karen Paxman – Tyla Hanks – Lily Mithen
HF: Alyssa Bannan – Kate Hore – Sabreena Duffy
F: Daisy Pearce – Tayla Harris
R: Lauren Pearce – Olivia Purcell – Maddison Gay
INT: Eden Zanker – Jordan Ivey – Eliza West – Maeve Chaplin – Casey Sherriff
EMG: Megan Fitzsimon – Maggie Caris – Tahlia Gillard
Remaining players: Alison Brown, Georgia Campbell, Georgia Gall, Samantha Johnson, Blaithin Mackin
Inactive: Gabby Colvin (knee), Rhi Watt (knee), Eliza McNamara (back)
LEAGUE B&F CONTENDER: Tyla Hanks
Despite being so young, Hanks has the talent, experience and maturity of someone who is much older.
She had another stellar season in season 6, and after what she showed on the weekend there is no reason to expect anything different from the young leader in season 7.
With other players playing more outside roles this season, Hanks also has less teammates to pinch votes off her as compared to previous seasons.
BIG YEAR FOR: Shelley Heath
Season 6 was a stellar, breakout season for Heath.
She really locked down her spot in the Dees side, and became one of the most reliable lock down defenders in the competition. She also neutralised the influence of many a key forward last season.
This season will be big for Heath to see if she can continue the progression everyone saw from her last season, and prove that last season was not just a once off.
KEY TALKING POINTS:
Can they finally go all the way?
Melbourne have been around the mark for so many years now, but have never been able to break through for that elusive premiership.
Will they finally be able to do it in season 7? They certainly have the talent to do so, but whether they finally can remains to be seen.
How do their new additions improve an already stellar side?
Melbourne did get a few new faces through the door in the offseason, including the likes of Charlotte Wilson and Jordan Ivey, so it will be fascinating to watch what kind of impact they can make on an already strong side. Are they the final pieces the Dees needed to finally hoist the cup? Only time will tell.
Jordan Ivey as a forward?
Speaking of Ivey, the former Cat seems to have had a positional change in the offseason, now plying her trade in the forward line.
With an already deep midfield, this is a smart positional change, and will had a further element of difference and a bit of speed to Melbourne’s forward line, as the likes of Kate Hore and Alyssa Bannan push further up the ground.
What’s the secret to the loyalty of the list?
For the past few years as the tempt of expansion has come and gone, Melbourne have been one of the clubs whose list has largely remained untouched. What is the secret to that? Is it the belief from within the group that a premiership is around the corner? Is it something else?