MELBOURNE remains in touch with the top six following an impressive 44-point victory over St Kilda on Saturday night.
Consecutive losses for the Demons over the past two weeks saw them fall to seventh place on the AFLW ladder, but their victory at Casey Fields has kept their finals chances alive.
DEMONS v SAINTS Full match coverage and stats
Captain Daisy Pearce led from the front with 2.1 and 13 disposals, while Karen Paxman (24 touches), Eden Zanker (23 touches and eight marks) and Tyla Hanks (22 touches) also starred.
The game was played completely in the Demons' front half early, with the St Kilda defence under siege from the very start.
Melbourne didn't make the most of their opportunities but was able to keep St Kilda scoreless and kick two first-quarter goals through Pearce and Alyssa Bannan.
St Kilda finally got its first major on the board in the second quarter, after a Melbourne turnover inside 50 allowed Nat Exon to weave her way through Demon defenders and kick a much-needed goal.
It kickstarted a promising few minutes for the Saints, who suddenly started getting repeat forward-50 entries and looked threatening for the first time.
But St Kilda's good work was soon undone after a controversial ruck infringement free kick inside 50 led to a Tegan Cunningham goal and put Melbourne 18 points up at half-time.
It was more of the same after the break, with Pearce, Bannan and Jacqueline Parry all adding goals in the third term and putting the game out of reach for St Kilda, which fell to its fourth loss of the season.
Inside 50 domination
Melbourne was in complete control in the first quarter, dominating territory and making it impossible for St Kilda to get it in its front half. At quarter-time, Melbourne led the inside-50 count 13 to zero, despite only recording four more disposals than St Kilda for the term.
It was over when…
Jacqueline Parry kicked a perfectly weighted long-range goal to put the Demons 38 points up midway through the third quarter. It followed an impressive soccer goal from Bannan minutes earlier and well and truly took the wind out of St Kilda's sails.
Inaccuracy strikes again
Melbourne has been beset by inaccuracy issues in recent weeks, having kicked 3.20 over the previous two rounds. Things looked better this time around, with the Demons recording seven goals from their first 12 scoring shots. But six behinds in the final quarter saw Melbourne finish with 9.12. In a season when the Demons are fighting for a finals spot, this inaccuracy may come back to haunt them.
"Tonight (was) a really good team effort. Obviously we've got to keep winning now, so we've got to keep bringing that level of effort (and) intent, week on week." - Melbourne coach Mick Stinear
The Demons will stay at Casey Fields to take on Adelaide at 7.10pm AEDT next Saturday. St Kilda will host the Giants next Saturday at RSEA Park at 3.10pm AEDT.
MELBOURNE 2.2 4.3 7.6 9.12 (66)
ST KILDA 0.0 1.3 1.3 3.4 (22)
Melbourne: Pearce 2, Bannan 2, Scott, Cunningham, Parry, McNamara, Hore
St Kilda: Exon, Whitfort, Luke
Melbourne: Gay, Pearce, Hanks, Zanker, Bannan
St Kilda: Priest, Patrikios, Exon, Phillips, Watt
St Kilda: Nil
Crowd: N/A at Casey Fields
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