MELBOURNE’S old firm of Daisy Pearce and Karen Paxman shone in tough conditions to steer their side to a gritty 20-point win over Western Bulldogs on Friday night.
Steady rain made for scrappy passages of play at Whitten Oval but didn’t dampen either side’s spirit in a hotly fought contest, particularly early in the piece.
Pearce and Paxman were cleaner than most with ball in hand as goals proved hard to come by in a low-scoring first half.
But two in the first quarter through Paxman and Chantel Emonson gave Melbourne a lead they never relinquished in a 4.8 (32) to 2.0 (12) triumph that underlined their premiership credentials.
However, a suspected knee injury for Ainslie Kemp threatens to sour the latest victory.
Kemp, who has had two serious knee injuries previously, went down in the final few minutes and hobbled off the ground.
Pearce played the role of general across half-back for the second successive week on return from a 693-day break from AFLW football, during which she had twins.
The former midfield star mopped up loose balls and provided a steadying influence for the Demons all night, with her clean hands in the wet outstanding.
But the game’s biggest highlight came from young teammate Casey Sherriff, whose first AFLW goal was one she won’t forget in a hurry.
The 21-year-old followed Shelley Scott’s long kick into a vacant forward line during the third quarter and cleverly poked the ball off the deck from 20m out with an opponent in hot pursuit.
Maddison Gay converted a free kick moments later to give Melbourne an unassailable 26-point lead.
They had registered a dozen scoring shots to the Dogs’ one by three-quarter time.
Kate Hore was dangerous in attack for the Demons but should have had a bigger impact on the scoreboard kicking 0.2.
Melbourne’s win meant they retained the Hampson-Hardeman Cup, which the two foundation AFLW clubs play for each year.
© AAP 2020
MELBOURNE DEMONS 2.3 2.6 4.8 4.8 (32)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.0 1.0 1.0 2.0 (12)
Goals: Melbourne Demons: C Emonson C Sherriff K Paxman M Gay. Western Bulldogs: B Toogood D Berry.
Umpires: Eleni Glouftsis, Nathan Toner, Martin Rodger.
Venue: Whitten Oval.