MUCH like its opponent Brisbane, Melbourne finds itself back in another AFL Women’s decider after the heartbreak of last season’s loss to Adelaide.
Melbourne assistant coach Tamara Hyett believes that despite Melbourne being the “perennial almosts” since the establishment of the competition, she does not believe that adds any pressure to her side coming into tomorrow’s clash, because of the number of list changes they have to make every season.
She also said that the mood in the Dees camp is “good.”
“(We) took a lot of learnings from the game against North, so being able to look at some vision and areas we can improve, but the girls are really up and about and there’s a nice calmness amongst the group and the coaches, so yeah it’s good,” she said.
Hyett said that the disappointment of losing last season’s decider did not necessarily have a mental effect on the team, but “it was more the disappointment that we knew that we had the style of play to compete, (we) just didn’t execute. That was probably the most disappointing thing was the fail to execute, so that was a really good learning.”
“I feel like the team is a little bit mentally tougher this time around, been working on ways that not just scoreboard but other areas where they feel like they can get some fulfilment, and I think that’s helped,” she said.
“Rather than kicks marks handballs, there’s other areas of the game we want to do well at, and it’s something that the whole team’s on board with, so that has been a nice mindset shift going into this season as well, especially after I guess that all happened after Round 4’s game. Just a bit of a mental tweak of what we value and since then it’s been pretty good.”
Hyett is defensive coach at the Dees, which means she is in charge of the strongest defence in the competition, and is excited about the challenge of coming up against the competition’s strongest offence tomorrow.
“It’s going to be an awesome, awesome matchup, but we’ve got a point to prove” she said. I think the backs sort of lowered our colours the last time we met, just some areas we just needed to improve on, and we’re happy to be stingy again this weekend.
“The whole team defence has been working really well, and the backs’ job is a lot easier when there’s pressure on the ball, so it’s not as easy coming in. But they’ve got a lot of weapons, and they’re all different Brisbane.
“They’ve got good talls, good ground level players, speed, but we’ve also got a good variety of players down back that I think there’ll be a few different roles and we’ve just got to play to our strengths as a back group and I think that will assist in nullifying their strengths as well.”
Hyett praised the season of young defender Tahlia Gillard, who has really made the most of regular game time afforded to her by the injury to Gabby Colvin. However, Hyett is not surprised Gillard is having such a good season.
“Yeah Tahls is super talented, but also she’s in the off season really knuckled down hard on her game,” she said. “She’s got fantastic support and a good role model down there in Libby Birch. She’s worked a lot with Libby, but the biggest thing for Tahls is she’s not a fluke that she’s having a good season, she’s put in the work that she’s doing. She’s got a lot of strengths, then also using those strengths as a weapon.
“She’s 19, and playing on the key forward every week, Randall and King last week, Davidson and Wardlaw [this week], and in her first year/second season, there’s not too many players that can compete against those week in and week out and she’s really done a good job.”
Hyett believes that if her Dees stick to their roles and work for each other, this will counter the evenness across the field and see the side triumph.