MELBOURNE might have experienced heartbreak just missing a Grand Final spot in the first two AFLW Women's seasons, but electric forward Kate Hore insists those failures won't hinder the team as it faces a must-win situation.
The Demons are fourth in a loaded Conference A and face top side Adelaide at Casey Fields on Saturday.
Defeating the Crows is a formidable enough task, but even that wouldn't guarantee anything. Percentage would then come into play, and if North Melbourne drew with Fremantle in the second match on Saturday, the Dees would have to forget about progressing to a preliminary final.
Last year, Melbourne lost a nailbiter to the Western Bulldogs in the final round to rule them out of the Grand Final, while percentage saw them edged out of a spot in 2017.
The pressure might be on, but Hore was philosophical when she spoke to womens.afl in the lead-up to Saturday’s match.
"That's just the nature of a short competition…that it's going to come down to the last round," she said.
"A few games this weekend will determine who finishes top two. It's exciting. All we can focus on is bringing our best footy and hopefully that gets us the result we need."
Adelaide is humming, having won five straight, and has stars all over the field.
Melbourne, though, is laden with talent too. Karen Paxman, Elise O'Dea and Maddie Gay form a formidable midfield, while Tegan Cunningham is taking marks for fun up forward.
That's why the message hasn't changed.
"(The Crows) have got quality players all over the ground so it's definitely going to take a team effort to shut down their stars. (But) all season, we've had a theme of just focusing on our game and getting that right, so I wouldn't imagine that to be too different," Hore said.
The Demons will want to make sure they take advantage of any dominant patches after a wasteful start last Saturday night against the Bulldogs. They escaped with a one-point win, but had to come from behind in the last term.
"We just need to get a little bit better at that. When we do have those dominant quarters, we actually (have to) put a bit of scoreboard pressure on," Hore said.
Hore is certainly one of the Dees' most dangerous players. Her blinding pace means defenders can't relax, as Tiarna Ernst found out last week.
"I was just going flat out and then when I saw her take the bounce, I thought, 'Oh, I think I can close in a bit here'," Hore said.
"When I got her, it felt pretty good."