Blistering Blaithin helps Dees destroy Dockers

MELBOURNE continued on its winning ways yesterday afternoon with a solid 33-point win over Fremantle at Casey Fields in what was particularly testing conditions.

A big part of that win – as she has been all season – was winger Blaithin Mackin.

In just her second season in the competition after coming out from Ireland, you would be forgiven for thinking she has played a lot more than the 18 games of Australian Rules she has played so far. Although she took to the game like a duck to water last season, her game has already grown even further this season.

Earlier this season Melbourne coach Mick Stinear spoke of the value Mackin brings to the Melbourne side.

“Her running power is extraordinary, and she’s a great learner and really coachable and she just keeps evolving each week and we’re really pleased to have her part of our side and she’s got really good versatility as well,” he said.

With pace to burn, Mackin’s arena of choice is the wing, with occasional pushes into attacking and defensive 50s.

Like many of the Irish players in the competition, in particular her fellow Irish Dees, Mackin’s first instinct is often to grab the ball and just run, which in combination with her speed is a real asset to the Dees. A large part of the Dees strategies is to utilise space and speed and run and carry off the half back line to set up attacks, and Mackin’s skills and game style really slot into that well.

Mackin is averaging about 15 disposals per game this season, which is almost double what her average was last season and that ever increasing presence in games is showing in other ways too.

One of the biggest areas of growth in Mackin’s game this season is her metres gained, and it shows on field. She’s averaging about 320m gained per game this season, which is double what her average was last season.

Her confidence in matches has grown too. From strong marks to tap ons to team mates and even fending off opponents as she is running through a pack, it is clear Mackin feels more at home on an Australian Rules field as she races towards her second season in the competition.

To cap off another stellar game she also kicked a goal that utilised the conditions really well. Up the carpark end of Casey Fields – which for once was the windy end as opposed to the normal one which is the Cranbourne Rd End – she carefully used the breeze to help guide the ball in from roughly 50m out. Although she does have a powerful kick on her, she did not need to fully utilise it with that particular kick as she cleverly used the breeze to her advantage.

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