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Daisy Pearce relishes shot at AFLW glory

Melbourne captain Daisy Pearce isn’t too proud to admit there were times throughout her AFLW career when she considered she might never feature in a grand final at the top level.

Pearce, one of the most decorated players in the game, was an integral part of the dominant Darebin Falcons outfit in Victoria’s state league.

But the ultimate team success has always eluded her – often by small margins – in the national competition.

On Saturday, six years after Pearce pulled on the boots as Melbourne’s inaugural AFLW skipper, she finally gets her shot at premiership glory when the Demons take on Adelaide in the decider.

“For those that have been around at Melbourne for the six years, it kind of feels like we’ve been close in every year,” Pearce said.

“There’s been percentages and single goals or single stoppages that I can think of in my mind as reasons why we weren’t in a grand final.

“Then there was the prelim last year, as well. We’ve been close but not good enough, ultimately, to get there.

“This year, so far, we’ve been good enough to get there and now we’ve got to go about being good enough to win it.”

Pearce took a year off in 2019 to give birth to twins, Sylvie and Roy, and said the physical toll of her pregnancy and motherhood affected her football for two full seasons.

The former midfield star has played a key role in attack, kicking 13 goals as part of a potent forward mix alongside Tayla Harris, Kate Hore and Alyssa Bannan.

“This season is probably the first time physically that I’ve felt myself again since having the kids and I wasn’t kind of in catch-up mode,” Pearce said.

“It takes a lot for any athlete to get up and through a footy season, and with kids it’s got its extra challenges as well.

“There are times when I wondered whether it would be possible but the biggest thing is that you’re still yourself.

“When all of those challenges come upon you, like when I had the kids, I was still a competitor at heart and wanted to get back out there.

“Being around the teammates that I love has driven me to keep getting back to the line.”

Pearce has built an off-field career as an expert AFL commentator and has been linked to a possible coaching role with Geelong’s men’s team.

But the 33-year-old insists she has not yet decided whether she will hang up the boots after Saturday’s grand final, with the prospect of another AFLW season starting in August.

“It’s awesome to think there are other opportunities in the game for me when my playing career finishes, but right here and now my biggest focus is this team and the opportunity we have,” Pearce said.

“The highlight of my week still is driving out to Casey on a Thursday to go to training, let alone suiting up to play on a weekend.

“If that’s still the case at the end of the season I’ll have some big decisions to make.”

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