MELBOURNE is well and truly back in contention for the AFL Women's premiership after slaughtering a listless Brisbane by 39 points at Hickey Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Demons kicked five unanswered goals in the second term to scoot to a 40-point half-time lead before running out 9.6 (60) to 3.3 (21) victors.
The win moves Melbourne to third in the powerful Conference A, trailing unbeaten North Melbourne and Fremantle, while Brisbane's quest to make it to a third straight Grand Final is in tatters following its second successive heavy defeat.
Aliesha Newman kicked three goals for the winners, igniting Melbourne with two eye-catching first-quarter goals.
The first came after two bounces and a composed finish on the run from 30m and the second from a clever left-foot snap after she roved a pack.
The second term was one-way traffic and stunned Brisbane's vibrant home crowd.
Katherine Smith kicked a brilliant right foot snap after bursting clear of a tackle, dual All Australian Karen Paxman marked and goaled from a set shot, Newman kicked her third, and Eden Zanker and Bianca Jakobsson added more pain for the hosts.
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Paxman (24 disposals) and Lauren Pearce (21) dominated in the midfield and Harriett Cordner nullified the influence of Brisbane's All Australian forward Sabrina Frederick-Traub.
Despite the loss Brisbane remains third in Conference B.
Look no further than Aliesha Newman. The lightning-quick Melbourne forward set up the victory with her three first-half goals and should have had a fourth but missed with her kick off the ground from the top of the goalsquare in the final term. Newman's first goal, in which she took two bounces and finished on the run from 30m, set the tone for the clinical Demons' finishing.
The ladder now
The controversial conference system is in for more criticism in the coming week. Melbourne's crushing win moves it to third in the powerful Conference A, yet miraculously Brisbane is also third in Conference B despite back-to-back hidings. The Western Bulldogs – Brisbane's next opponents – are last in their conference with two wins, while Carlton is top of the other with just one win. Bizarre.
Five minutes of madness
It was more beauty than madness if you're a Demons fan. After taking a six-point lead at quarter-time the visitors blew the contest open with four goals in six minutes midway through the second. Katherine Smith's power and classy snap started the rout, followed by Karen Paxman's clinical finish. By the time Eden Zanker and Newman added goals, the match was as good as over.
Got the job done
She wasn't always one-out but Harriett Cordner's job on hulking Brisbane forward Sabrina Frederick-Traub was first class. Undersized, but certainly not outclassed, Cordner used her speed to get in front of the Lions' All Australian and restrict her to just four disposals and a solitary mark.
"We're like a normal footy team that's got five or six debutants in the one year trying to hang on at the moment. To compare us now to anything that happened in 2017 and 2018, as bullish as we might be about our chances, I think it's a little bit of an unfair comparison. We need some more from our top-end players that have got the reputation for performing well." - Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich
"The second quarter really set it up ... we used that breeze to our advantage and converted in front of goal. We're in a good space at the moment. Our destiny's in our hands and if we keep playing like that we'll get the reward we deserve." - Melbourne coach Mick Stinear
The Demons have a chance to move into the top two of the loaded Conference A when they take on unbeaten North Melbourne at Casey Fields next Sunday at 4.05pm AEDT. Brisbane has a short turnaround in the Grand Final rematch against the Western Bulldogs, playing at Whitten Oval next Saturday night at 7.15pm AEDT.
BRISBANE 1.1 1.1 2.3 3.3 (21)
MELBOURNE 2.1 7.5 8.5 9.6 (60)
Brisbane: Wardlaw, Exon, McCarthy
Melbourne: Newman 3, Jakobsson 2, Paxman, Smith, Zanker, Cunningham
Brisbane: Exon, Anderson, Lutkins, Wardlaw
Melbourne: Paxman, Newman, Cordner, Pearce, O'Dea, Zanker
Brisbane: Kaslar (calf)
Umpires: Edwards, Gibson, Strybos
Official crowd: 5453 at Hickey Park