AFLW Season 7 Glass Half Full/Empty: Melbourne

IN a new approach to the AFL Women’s end of season reviews, Rookie Me Central casts both a glass half full and half empty lens over each side’s campaigns.

Today’s team, the last in the series, is of course Melbourne, who broke through for its first AFLW Premiership in Season 7.


They finally broke through for their first flag

After the perennial ‘almosts’ for so long, Melbourne finally broke the drought and won its first AFLW Premiership, downing Brisbane by four points.

After going so close so many times, you can tell on the faces of the likes of Daisy Pearce, Sarah Lampard and others how much the win meant to them.

The powerhouse midfield quartet

Even though the Dees have strong assets across the ground, it was a particular group of four midfielders who really became a force to be reckoned with in Season 7.

Karen Paxman, Tyla Hanks, Eliza West and Olivia Purcell are all stars in their own right, but combined really well in Season 7 to create a truly damaging combination that was at times hard to stop.

Players taking their game to the next level

A number of Melbourne’s players – both experienced and not – took their games to the next level in Season 7, in a positive sign for the versatility and depth of the club’s list moving forward.

Maeve Chaplin made the most of a second chance given to her after being delisted at the end of Season 6, while Tahlia Gillard really stepped up in the absence of some key Dees defenders and took the opportunity of more game time with both hands.

Meanwhile on the more experienced of the scale, Sarah Lampard reinvented her games at times and spent some time on the wing and diversifying her game, while Tayla Harris spent a fair bit of time in the ruck this season and proved to be quite the handy chop out for Lauren Pearce.

Blaithin Mackin is a natural already

One of Melbourne’s offseason pick ups was a young star from County Armagh, who despite her rushed preseason has settled into footy so well, and looks like a natural 10 games into her footy career.

Blaithin Mackin slotted seamlessly onto a wing for the Dees, and the good thing for Dees fans is that she is only 23, so has plenty of seasons left in her.


33 does not go into 30…

Despite everything ultimately going right for the Dees this season, they have a list conundrum heading into next season.

They had three players on their inactive list in Season 7 – Gabby Colvin, Rhi Watt and Eliza McNamara – who all need a spot back within Melbourne’s list of 30, so who makes way? This is in addition to the other changes Melbourne are no doubt going to have to make as part of the AFL’s list turnover policy.


It is hard to fault a premiership winning season, no matter who the team is.

After going so close so many times, the excitement and relief was palpable from everyone involved at the Dees.

They finally found the missing pieces and everything came together.

However moving forward, the list management team have a very unenviable job, trying to make 33 Season 7 listed players fit into their 2023 list, but leave room for draftees.

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