Mithen as motivated as ever to take out title
IN what must have at least a little element of déjà vu, Lily Mithen and her Melbourne teammates find themselves in yet another Grand Final, barely seven months after the heartbreak of that April afternoon in Adelaide against the Crows.
There is certainly a number of feelings that Mithen is feeling ahead of playing in another decider. She said that playing in another decider is “obviously so exciting.
“When we lost obviously seven months ago at Adelaide Oval against the Crows it was devastating and you know how much work goes into it at that time, and obviously knew that we need to put so much more work into it, so for that opportunity to only be now in the same year is pretty surreal to be honest, but there has been a lot of hard work,” Mithen said.
“A few list changes and things like that, but I don’t think the group has been in a better place to be able to challenge for this premiership on Sunday, but I’m just so pumped and proud of the group as to what we’ve been able to achieve. I just love coming to work with such a special group of people and be surrounded by an amazing environment.”
When she thinks back to that game, a particular memory is etched in her mind.
“I think it internally and individually fuels us all differently, and for me individually when I think about Adelaide Oval and that game I just picture us bawling our eyes out in the meeting room, just being so heartbroken knowing how hard it is to get to a Grand Final, and then obviously losing it was just heart shattering, but then I think you do have that hunger,” Mithen said.
“You know what it feels like from one side of the fence, but then you also get to watch on and see the other team celebrate and just wish that was you, and for me that’s probably what I wanted the most, when I had to watch on Chelsea Randall and Matthew Clarke hold up the Premiership Cup, I just thought ‘imagine if that was Mick and Daisy‘, and that’s an image that pops into my head so often, thinking if I could witness that in my lifetime I would be a very satisfied human.”
Mithen is happy with how her season went individually, playing across a few different roles, but ever the team player she was quick to praise how much the team as a whole has grown over the season.
Her coach Mick Stinear said on the weekend after their preliminary final that the loss last time to the Lions “springboarded the rest of our season”, and Mithen agreed with that.
“I think whilst we would have liked to win that game, the loss taught us plenty of lessons and yeah Brisbane are an amazing side who we have so much respect for,” she said.
“They play a very tough brand of footy and really quick on turnover from when they are afforded the opportunity to go on offence, so they taught us those lessons and at that stage we were probably a bit shaky behind the ball in terms of our defensive efforts, so that was one really big learning that we were able to take out of it and really fine tuned in a sort of team defence sense, which has changed the way we’ve been able to defend and then play offence, so yeah that loss albeit not ideal has put us in a really good position to challenge on Sunday.”
Mithen believes that contested ball will be the key to victory on Sunday, and is fully aware of how strong Brisbane is in that area. Mithen is only one of a handful of Dees that were there in Season 1 still on the list, and she said that she has seen a lot of growth in the Dees in that time since the 2017 season.
“The growth has been immense” she said. I think there’s been plenty of personnel changes obviously since year one, but it’s just the level of commitment that the girls continue to show and everyone just keeps showing up to want to get better, and I guess the competitiveness amongst the group has never been higher.
“Everyone wants to be the best version of themselves, not for themselves personally but for the team and for our team mates, and I think that’s been a really nice shift more recently. It is about what can I do to be the best tea mate I can possibly be and how do I give myself the best opportunity to ensure the team as a whole is successful and functions as a unit.
“I think that’s been a really big growth point of ours is our ability to continue to contribute for the purpose of the team which has meant that we’ve just bought into something bigger than ourselves and bigger than the team because it means that our fans and supporters and sponsors get to see us have fun out there and connect as a group and play some really strong footy off the back of that.”