It’s now or never for the underachieving Melbourne Demons.
Star midfielder Paxman will be looking to upkeep her phenomenal input, after claiming the Demons’ 2019 Best and Fairest, and becoming one of just three AFLW players to be crowned a three-time All Australian.
Her outstanding endurance and strong work rate will again be a key facet in the success of Melbourne’s midfield.
Despite consistency being a downfall of the Demons, Paxman has been a pillar of stability. Her reliable performances will be bolstered to new heights in 2020, with the handy support of midfielders Pearce and O’Dea.
Melbourne will we overjoyed to welcome back their spiritual leader, Pearce. Whilst her midfield prowess should prove difficult to stop, it’s Daisy’s leadership which makes her such an important asset for the Demons.
After giving birth to twins early last year, Pearce has worked admirably hard to get back to her career best form. With the loss of Lily Mithen and Tegan Cunningham, she will need to step up early to fill her side’s attacking gap.
At 32, Pearce did not look to be slowing down in Melbourne’s practice match against Collingwood. Rather, her prolific ball use and signature skill was on full display, providing further evidence for why Daisy may just be the irrefutable queen of AFLW.
Downie was a key figure in Melbourne’s defence last season. Her one-on-one efforts were constantly impressive, often claiming bragging rights over her direct opponent.
The defender was reliable in the air and on the ground, noticeably lessening the opposition’s attacking flow.
As Melbourne seek to improve their fast, attacking brand, having a key pillar in defence will be critical when playing sides like Adelaide and Fremantle, who enjoy charging forward.
One to watch
It’s hard to go past Tyla Hanks when considering up and coming talent at Melbourne.
A standout player from the 2018 draft, Hanks will be itching to push for regular selection in the forward line.
A talented athlete, Hanks can have an impact wherever she goes. Whether that’s inside 50 or in the centre, her high footy IQ seems to put her in good stead.
At just 157cm tall, Hanks has no fear when attacking the ball – a skill which earned her the opportunity to play in the midfield during practice matches.
After showing promising signs, Hank’s challenge will be to reproduce these impressive performances on the main stage.