MELBOURNE has announced itself as genuine premiership contenders after holding off a fierce North Melbourne fightback to secure a pulsating nine-point AFLW win.
In a high-quality match, the Demons booted six goals to one in the second term to set up a 27-point lead by the long break of Saturday night’s match.
North Melbourne started the season as premiership favourites, and they showed why they are so highly rated with a blistering fightback that saw the lead whittled back to two points with just less than six minutes remaining.
The Kangaroos launched several more attacking raids in the dying minutes but could not land the final blow, with the Demons booting a goal after the final siren for the icing on the cake of a 9.6 (60) to 8.3 (51) win at Casey Fields.
The result improves Melbourne’s record to a perfect 3-0, while North Melbourne are 2-1.
Melbourne forward Jacqueline Parry booted three first-half goals to help set up the win, while Karen Paxman (25 disposals, one goal), Lily Mithen (21 possessions), and Tyla Hanks (22 possessions) were also crucial to the hard-earned triumph.
For North Melbourne, Jasmine Garner tallied two goals, 15 disposals and 12 tackles, while Emma Kearney finished with a goal from 16 possessions.
The opening quarter was an even affair, but the Demons put on a clinic in the second term as almost every foray forward bore fruit.
Their swift ball movement and clean skills proved crucial, with Parry and Tegan Cunningham booting two goals apiece for the term.
The Kangaroos looked shellshocked as they headed to the change rooms at halftime, but they came out breathing fire in the third term.
Garner got the ball rolling early with a goal, and when Daria Bannister booted two goals within the space of 30 seconds, the margin was down to just eight points.
The free-flowing game became a slog in the final term as both teams locked up the ball.
A goal to North Melbourne’s Isabella Eddey closed the margin to two points with just less than six minutes to go, but the Demons’ – with skipper Daisy Pearce putting her body on the line time and again – held firm.
(C) AAP 2021
MELBOURNE 1.3 7.4 8.4 9.6 (60)
NORTH MELBOURNE TASMANIA 2.1 3.1 7.3 8.3 (51)
Goals: Melbourne: J Parry 3 S Scott 2 T Cunningham 2 K Hore K Paxman. North Melbourne Tasmania: D Bannister 2 J Garner 2 E Kearney G Campbell I Eddey S Abbatangelo.
Venue: Casey Fields.