Dee-light for Stinear as Melbourne back on track

MELBOURNE AFL Women’s coach Mick Stinear was “pleased” his side could walk away with the four points on Friday night against Carlton, in its most complete four-quarter performance since Round 1. On that day, the Dees defeated reigning premiers Adelaide in a grand final rematch, but have since been “inconsistent” according to Stinear. On Friday though, Melbourne got back on the winners list in a big way, cruising to a 7.8 (50) to 1.2 (8) victory at Ikon Park.

“We started the season well against Adelaide and we just feel like we’ve been inconsistent since then,” Stinear said. We’ve had some good periods and won some games and certainly Brisbane showed us that we’ve got to work harder and we’ve had a few flaws in our game.

“We just lacked a bit of method and purpose against Brisbane and obviously good sides will challenge you and test you. I guess we’re grateful for that game, we certainly didn’t want to lose, that’s not part of our plans, but we felt like we learnt a lot from that game and it gave us an edge coming into this week, and we got a lot of supply and we just wanted to be a lot stronger and more direct and give our forwards opportunities and we felt we did that.

“There was probably little moments we could have done better but I feel like that’s going to be every game of footy so we walk away from tonight really pleased that we put four quarters together and ground out a good win.”

The inclusion of defender Sinead Goldrick provided important run despite just the six disposals upon coming back from injury. Stinear said his side had looked to focus on getting more predictability between the three phases of defence, midfield and attack, something that Brisbane and the Western Bulldogs had done well to start the season.

“(Brisbane and Bulldogs have) Just (been) using speed and taking the game on and be prepared to take risks and potentially we’ve lacked that in the last couple of weeks and then it has a really ripple effect,” Stinear said. It limits our supply up forward and just becomes a bit unpredictable when you’re trying to be a bit too neat and perfect so even having Sinead Goldrick back in the side tonight injects a bit more run and helps us transition from our back half. I thought there was certainly lot to like tonight.”

Stinear said his side’s ball movement not only in space, but out of a stoppage had improved, with players more willing to give the ball to a teammate in a good spot rather than being “a bit fussy” about the ball movement. That seemed to change for the better on Friday night, but Stinear did not want the playing group to rest on its laurels.

“I think the group did that well tonight and feel like we can keep building from this point and for us as a team we want to be one of the best teams in the competition and you can’t be inconsistent and achieve that so we really want to keep building from this point now and not wait another three weeks to put another four quarters together,” Stinear said.

Melbourne had a couple of milestones on the night, with key forward Tayla Harris notching up her 50th goal with three against the Blues after missing the Brisbane gam in Round 4 due to suspension. Along with Harris, ruck Lauren Pearce played her 50th game.

“She (Harris) was brutal early on, such a quality player. We’re really blessed to have her in our team and excited to have her back, a week off felt like an eternity so it was nice to have her back today,” Stinear said. Such power and penetration in her kick and her contested marking was on display today so but Lozzy Pearce with 50 games as well, she managed to get a goal today. She hasn’t kicked 50 but you never know we might play her forward a bit more often.”

One of the other inclusions was former Fremantle forward, Sabreena Duffy who kicked a great goal from five disposals on a big night for the Peel Thunder premiership player.

“Daisy (Pearce) spoke so well with presenting her jumper before the game. She’s played 25 games but it really felt like she had to put her head down and work for this one,” Stinear said. Coming over from WA at short notice and leaving her support network behind and really just put her head down and got herself in a position where she’s in really good footy form.

“Still building that match fitness but today she just bobbed up and did her role and she’s such a quality footballer, really clever around goals so looking forward to building her up over the next couple of weeks and feel like she’s added great depth to our team.”

Speaking of Fremantle, the Dockers are the Demons’ next opponents with Melbourne having to travel across the Nullarbor to take on the purple army at Fremantle Oval next Sunday, October 2 at 1:10pm local time.

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