A FIRED-UP Melbourne stayed on track for a NAB AFLW finals berth with a stirring 28-point win against Adelaide in cold, wet conditions on Saturday night.
The disciplined Demons dished up Crows-like pressure to dominate the contest 6.7 (43) to 2.3 (15) at Casey Fields.
DEMONS v CROWS Full match coverage and stats
Aside from Melbourne's fierce tackling across every line, its midfielders - inspired by Tyla Hanks - were more than a match for the Crows' elite onballer group led by Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall.
Hanks was unstoppable with 24 disposals, five tackles and a goal, well supported by Eden Zanker, Lily Mithen and the consistent Karen Paxman in the crucial midfield battles.
Melbourne coach Mick Stinear lauded the performance as the club's best win in five years of the competition.
"Adelaide gave us that treatment on this ground a couple of years ago and some of the girls remembered that," he said.
"We let ourselves down with our defensive pressure (that time) and the girls got a taste of that last week and what they can do and they delivered on that tonight."
Melbourne's costly inaccuracy of previous weeks disappeared in a flurry of goals, with the dangerous Kate Hore bagging three among the impressive list of contributors.
It was a critical victory against a fellow top-six occupant as Melbourne finishes the home and away season with tough assignments against Fremantle in Perth and Brisbane at home.
With goals at a premium with a heavy ball and wet turf, the Demons found timely breakthroughs from Zanker and Hanks to set up a scoreboard buffer in the first half.
Zanker, who had contributed a dismal 0.5 in previous weeks, slotted a goal with a set shot from a tight angle in the first quarter and Hanks pounced on a loose ball to snap her first goal of the season early in the second term.
When ruck Lauren Pearce took a strong mark in the goalsquare from a Mithen centred pass, Melbourne had a handy 13-point half-time lead.
It was a matter of whether the Dees could sustain that team pressure, particularly in the back half, for the entire contest against an opponent renowned for those same relentless tactics.
That query was never in doubt as Melbourne players continued to fling themselves into the contests and steadily stretched the lead in the third quarter to put away the game by the final change.
Adelaide coach Matthew Clarke said Melbourne was far too strong in the second half.
"We weren't at our best, but ultimately, that's because your opponents play really well," he said.
MELBOURNE 1.2 3.3 5.6 6.7 (43)
ADELAIDE 1.1 1.2 1.3 2.3 (15)
Melbourne: Hore 3, Zanker, Hanks, L. Pearce
Adelaide: Randall, Martin
Melbourne: Hanks, Hore, Mithen, Gay, Paxman, Zanker, Lampard
Adelaide: Marinoff, Allan, Hatchard, Phillips, Foley, Randall
Adelaide: Danielle Ponter (groin) replaced in selected side by Jessica Sedunary
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