MELBOURNE has progressed to an AFLW preliminary final with a 17-point win over Fremantle in hot and blustery conditions at Casey Fields.
The Demons led from start to finish on Saturday to score a 5.10 (40) to 3.5 (23) win that moves them into a preliminary final against the Crows in Adelaide.
Karen Paxman, who was Melbourne’s acting skipper with Daisy Pearce out injured, starred with 20 possessions, while Maddison Gay was also influential with 19 touches and a goal.
Fremantle star Kiara Bowers laid 17 tackles and amassed 20 disposals.
The Dockers had first use of a stiff breeze, but the home side dominated the early going.
The Demons poured on the pressure – they had 11 inside-50s to one at one stage – and led by six points at quarter-time thanks to Alyssa Bannan’s clever goal in traffic.
Melbourne made better use of the wind in the second term and skipped away from the visitors.
Shelley Scott did the damage with back-to-back goals, the Demons keeping Fremantle scoreless to lead by 19 points at halftime.
Ashley Sharp’s long-range goal soon after the restart sparked the Dockers into action.
Brenna Tarrant hit back for Melbourne with a priceless goal against the wind, her first at AFLW level, but majors to Sabreena Duffy and Gemma Houghton slashed the margin to four points at the last break.
Fremantle have earned a reputation for finishing games off strongly this season, but could not find a way through the well-organised Demons defence.
Melbourne peppered the goals with the final use of the breeze before Gay put the icing on the cake with the only goal of the quarter with 12 seconds remaining.
(C) AAP 2021
MELBOURNE 1.2 3.3 4.3 5.10 (40)
FREMANTLE 0.2 0.2 3.5 3.5 (23)
Goals: Melbourne: S Scott 2 A Bannan B Tarrant M Gay. Fremantle: A Sharp G Houghton S Duffy. Umpires: Nic McGinness, Michael Pell, Peter Bailes.
Venue: Casey Fields.