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Melbourne produces record performance

Bruce Matthews  March 18, 2017 7:09 PM

MELBOURNE has produced a record-breaking performance to stay in the premiership hunt in the NAB AFL Women's competition.

The slick-moving Demons whipped Fremantle by 54 points at Casey Fields in Cranbourne in a dominant display for their last home-and-away game.

The 11.4 (70) was the highest score in the AFLW's inaugural season and the greatest winning margin as well to give Melbourne a chance to be the Brisbane Lions' Grand Final foe next Saturday.

Now Demons coach Mick Stinear and his players can only sit and wait for the outcome of Sunday's Collingwood-Adelaide game at Olympic Park Oval, with the Crows' superior percentage possibly the crucial difference.

Not only was Melbourne able to score almost at will on Saturday, its backline held the hapless Dockers goalless for the last three quarters.

Fremantle was always going to miss the on-ball expertise of injured skipper Kara Donnellan. Her absence was even more pronounced against an opponent that's blessed with prolific midfielders.

Melbourne made its intentions clear from the opening bounce - a clearing kick by Daisy Pearce that landed in the safe arms of Alyssa Mifsud for the first goal inside the opening minute.

It set the pattern for the contest, with the Demons hunting the ball in packs, led by midfield trio Pearce, Elise O'Dea and Karen Paxman and drive and precision from across the middle with Lily Mithen.

Melbourne's defence stood firm when they lost possession. So often, Fremantle offensive moves were easily cut off by a Demons backline well organised by cornerstones Laura Duryea, Jasmine Grierson and Melissa Hickey.

The Dockers had fearless and tireless triers rather than individual winners, like midfielder Dana Hooker, onballer Gemma Houghton and forward Amy Lavell.

The more determined Demons split open the game with a sustained opening quarter and five straight goals was the rightful return for their hard work and superior teamwork.

When the inspiring Pearce was involved in two second quarter score assists - a handball over the top to Deanna Berry in the goal square and another inboard that released Allesha Newman to score on the run - the game was virtually over as a contest.

What remained as the Demons' challenge was to maintain the intensity for what could be a crucial percentage boost, depending on what the Crows produce on Sunday.

MELBOURNE       5.0  8.0 10.0 11.4 (70)
FREMANTLE        2.0  2.3  2.4  2.4 (16)

GOALS
Melbourne: Berry, Mifsud, Scott, Phillips 2, Paxman, Newman, Humphries
Fremantle: Antonio, Houghton

BEST
Melbourne: D Pearce, O'Dea, Mithen, Phillips, Grierson, Paxman, Humphries
Fremantle: Hooker, Houghton, Lavell, Filocamo

INJURIES
Melbourne: Nil
Fremantle: Angel (knee)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Michael Pell, Ryan Guy, Annie Mirabile

Crowd: 2,500 (est) at Casey Fields, Cranbourne