The Melbourne Demons soared to the top of the AFLW ladder on Friday night with round-four victory made in Armagh.
Shane O’Neill’s and Armagh footballer Aimee Mackin made an impressive debut for the reigning premiers when she notched 13 disposals and created scoring opportunities for her team-mates including younger sister Blaithin.
In only the second minute of the Demons match against Hawthorn at Kinetic Stadium in Frankston, four-time Allstar Aimee, showcased her instinct for goal when she twisted and turned inside Melbourne's forward 50-metre arc before unleashing a thunderbolt from her left boot which hit the post.
Incredibly the ball rebounded to younger sister Blaithin, who booted a goal on her right foot from close range.
Having won four matches in as many weeks, Melbourne is justifying the pre-season predictions of many pundits who tipped them to win consecutive premierships this season.
Aimee finished the four-quarters with 13 disposals (7 kicks & 6 handballs), 2 marks, and one tackle. Allstar winger Blaithin collected 11 disposals (10 kicks & 1 handball), 3 marks, and one tackle.
“It was extra special when we got out to watch last year's Grand Final, Blaithin kicking a goal was brilliant – seeing the way she’s adapted gives you that wee bit of confidence,” Aimee Mackin said.
“I would never have (joined a rival club), when I’d seen what this club was like. I don’t think I could’ve gone against them and my sister, that wouldn’t have been agreed at home.
⭐️SISTER MAGIC⭐️— AFLW Ireland (@aflw_ireland) September 22, 2023
A cruel bounce robbed Aimee Mackin☘️ of a DEBUT Goal but a fantastic step and hands from sister Blaithin Mackin☘️ saw her finish the move off brilliantly for her SECOND GOAL of the Season for Melbourne#AFLW #aflwomens #aflwireland
“It’s almost like an adopted family with Melbourne, how they treat everyone’s parents, it’s been good to meet everyone in the games at Casey Fields (Melbourne's home ground).”
Aimee became emotional when one of her nephews, Eoin, broke the news of her debut in a surprise video call last Tuesday.
“It is hard because we are so close with family… we’re so far away from them that it’s hard to get them to get over to visit, with the kids being so young,” she said.
“I suppose it’s extra special having your sister here, it’s just sort of that home feeling.”
Aimee reiterated that she will be available to play for Armagh next year during the AFLW off-season.
“It actually works out perfectly, you can get both seasons fully, you don’t have to let anyone down at home, which is nice,” she explained.
“We missed a few weeks of pre-season, but the fitness levels at home are quite similar so it feels like you’re coming over ready.”
- “There's no way I could play against my sister" - Mackin siblings on their AFLW dream in Melbourne
- AFLW round-up: Blaithin Mackin maintains winning start with Demons, Bonner helps Crows to soar and Suns shine with Irish trio
- Donegal's Niamh McLaughlin not worried about journey into the unknown ahead of AFLW debut with Gold Coast Suns
On Saturday, Donegal's Yvonne Bonner booted her third goal of the season for the Adelaide Crows who demolished her former side, the Greater Western Sydney Giants, 37-106 at Manuka Oval in Canberra.
The unbeaten Crows moved level on points with Melbourne in second spot on the season ladder after recording the second highest team total in AFLW history against GWS. The visitor's only led by two points at half-time but kicked ten goals in a second-half blitz which secured their one-sided victory.
Bonner also kicked two behinds in a match tally of 9 disposals (5 kicks & 4 handballs), 2 marks, and 2 tackles.
On Sunday, Donegal footballer Tanya Kennedy was in action for the Sydney Swans who won only the second AFLW match in their history when they defeated the West Coast Eagles 34-21 at Henson Park in Sydney.
The Swans in 11th spot. now have two wins and two losses in their opening four matches and are only one win outside of the top eight finals places heading into the mid-way point of the home and away season next week.
Kennedy who works as a traffic controller on the streets of Sydney when she is not playing Australian rules, tallied 16 diposals (7 kicks & 9 handballs), 1 mark, and 6 tackles.
Also, on Sunday Orchard County's Amy Mulholland came off the interchange bench for Fremantle in their 50-30 defeat to Essendon at Windy Hill.
The Forkhill woman finished with 7 disposals (6 kicks & 1 handball), 1 mark, and laid 4 tackles. She also kicked a behind for the Dockers who are down to 10th on the season ladder.
In the final match of the round on Sunday, the Gold Coast Suns made it three wins a row after their 48-44 home win against the Western Bulldogs at Heritage Bank Stadium.
Former Donegal captain Niamh McLaughlin kicked the first goal of her AFLW career for the Suns. The 2022 GAA Ladies Footballer of the Year finished the four quarters with 8 disposals (4 kicks & 4 handballs), 2 marks and 2 tackles.
Down footballer Clara Fitzpatrick collected 11 disposals (6 kicks & 5 handballs), 4 marks, and 3 tackles.
The Suns in sixth place are on course to play finals for the first time since their maiden campaign in 2020.