AFLW 2020: Molly McDonald’s Magic Moment

It was a day of celebration at Moorabbin as the Saints made their AFLW debut in Round One of the 2020 season. An afternoon of historic firsts, one was willed on a little more than others by the lock out crowd at Moorabbin.

It would be a forward 50 entry from Georgia Patrikios that set up the moment the crowd had been waiting for. While the well-weighted pass found a loose Molly McDonald, there was still some work to do for the second player signed by St Kilda to an AFLW contract. Helped by a sneaky shepherd from Emma Mackie, the 18-year-old from the Mornington Peninsula barely broke stride upon marking the ball as she continued towards the South Road end goals and her date with history.

Effortlessly she settled under pressure from a committed chase and kicked the goal with an accurate left-foot strike. Undoubtedly the highlight of a tough first day at the office for the Saints, it was far from the last time McDonald had an impact on the contest as she covered an enormous amount of territory from a halfback flank.

That McDonald would be the first goalscorer for the Saints in AFLW completed a remarkable double 147-years in the making. Astonishingly in St Kilda’s first season in 1873, their first goal scorer was a 16-year-old by the name of James Middleton Macdonald. Little would the Saints know as they celebrated victory over Carlton’s Second Twenty on that May afternoon that their match would be in the spotlight once again nearly a century and a half later.

For the 21st Century McDonald, when asked post-match, it was all a matter of instinct. “I don’t know, I got a bit anxious,” she told saints.com.au. “I saw the player follow and I thought I’m just going to go for it, put it on the boot and it went through.” The crowd’s response was not lost on the 18-year-old either. “I was kind of lost,” she said of her reaction to the noise of the Moorabbin fathful. “There was this crowd everywhere, I was so hyped. It was good. Good fun”

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