Demons hang on to edge Kangaroos in tense AFLW encounter

Melbourne has held on to beat North Melbourne by just two points at the MCG and maintain its unbeaten start to the AFLW season.

The Demons looked set to rue their wasteful finishing on Friday night, which included being held goalless in the first and third quarters, when Emma King toe-poked the Kangaroos in front late in the final term.

But young gun Alyssa Bannan struck to restore Melbourne’s lead and deliver a 3.8 (26) to 4.0 (24) victory.

Skipper Daisy Pearce booted two goals, while Olivia Purcell (22 disposals), Tyla Hanks (23) and Karen Paxman (18) all had plenty of the ball for the Demons.

Kangaroos mainstays Jasmine Garner (22 disposals, 10 clearances), Ashleigh Riddell (26 disposals, eight tackles) and Jenna Bruton (17 disposals) were typically busy around the ground and Kim Rennie held her own in the ruck.

The Demons had early territory but did little with it and the Kangaroos soon made them pay.

Tahlia Randall took a towering contested mark and teed up King to kick the Kangaroos’ first goal.

The Kangaroos took the ascendancy for the rest of the quarter but were unable to add to their lead, albeit while keeping the Demons goalless.

Pearce’s quick-fire brace at the start of the second term turned the match on its head, giving Melbourne a 10-point lead at half-time.

Reliable Demon Maddy Gay limped off early in the third term, although she later returned and shortly after the Kangaroos pulled the match back into an arm wrestle.

Amy Smith pounced on a loose Melbourne kick out of defence and coolly goaled on the run to cut the deficit to a lone major at the final change.

North Melbourne livewire Ellie Gavalas sneaked the opening goal of the final quarter to set up a grandstand finish and when King snagged her second in the goal square, the Kangaroos appeared set for an unlikely victory.

But Eliza West burst her way forward and spotted up Bannan, who — with a defender on her tail — pulled off an athletic snap to snare victory.


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