Dees boss delighted after Dee-lightful display

AFTER his side won through to a second successive Preliminary Final, it was hard to wipe the smile off the face of Melbourne coach Mick Stinear.

Reflecting on the game, Stinear said that it was “really pleasing in the end”.

“I think the first quarter, Adelaide are a really strong side, they brought their best around the contest and overwhelmed us really,” he said. “It was pleasing at quarter time, the players were a little set back, like it was a bit of a sharpen up, but they weren’t panicked and we sort of knew what it was going to take to get back into the game.

“(We) probably didn’t expect it to turn around so quickly in that second quarter, but come in at half-time and have addressed that part of our contest game and our backs just to take a chance to settle and to get some more time in our forward half, that was really pleasing and to grind out the whole game and not give them an opportunity to get back in. They only kicked one goal after quarter time so yeah really pleased with the group’s efforts.

“(It was a) Tough, physical game, and I think we take a lot out of it after quarter time but that quarter time lesson will be a good one. It will come in handy in the coming weeks.”

Stinear was really pleased with the way his side despite the bad start really shut down Adelaide after quarter time.

“We were really disappointed at quarter time. We’ve been priding ourselves on our team defence and they ripped through us a number of times, and so it was a little bit deflating early on, but after that our ability to defend from that point off the back of a strong contest, I thought everyone stepped up and contributed in a really good team effort.”

Stinear was full of praise for several of his players post game, including Sarah Lampard, who after kicking two goals in the win “had big smiles after the game.”

“She’s been huge for us this season,” Stinear said.

“Her ability to play half-back and wing, just that flexibility. Shelley Heath started inside, then we made a decision at quarter time to put her down back just to give us a bit more leg speed and that allowed Lampy to go play on the wing and Lily Mithen to go back inside.

“Her flexibility has been brilliant and she’s been working on her game for seven seasons now and you get to see what she’s capable of. So loved her efforts and her ability to finish because we were a bit wayward early, so it was good that she took her moments.”

Someone else who drew praise from the boss was Olivia Purcell, who continued her stellar season on Friday night.

“I think three fantastic quarters I think like a lot of our mids early on,” Stinear said. Our mids and our backs were on the back foot, but yeah she just continually puts herself in great positions. Her clearance and contest work, and then drop of ball, I think she’s now starting to get a few more metres gained with her kicking game, so she’s been a great addition to our team the last two years and I think she’s had a magnificent season and hope that continues and they keep working well as a midfield unit.”

Even on Friday night, Stinear had a clear plan about how the week off would pan out for his troops.

“I think a lot of conversations now, making sure we get it right,” he said. (It is) probably an opportunity to rest and recover over the next couple of days, but we’ll definitely need a good, strong hit out. Not using it as just a week off to put the feet up.

“A week off playing, but an opportunity to get better and put ourselves in an even stronger position to attack the prelim and you really want to use that to an advantage against the opposition and come ready to go and not start the way we did tonight. Be ready to go right from the start.”

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