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Demons too strong for Blues

Tom Pountney for AFL.com.au  March 11, 2018 7:04 PM

Post-match | Danielle Hardiman Carlton Media spoke to Danielle Hardiman after Carlton's round six AFLW match against Melbourne.

MELBOURNE has leapt up to second on NAB AFLW ladder after it beat Carlton by 35 points at Ikon Park on Sunday.

Three goals apiece from Elise O’Dea and Tegan Cunningham, and two from Kate Hore, secured victory for the jubilant visitors, who are hitting form at the perfect time.

The Demons – who will play off with the Bulldogs next Saturday night for a place in the Grand Final – ran out to a 38-point first-term lead after a record six goals.

But the win came at a high cost as veteran defender Melissa Hickey left the field in tears with a knee injury. 

With ice on the outside (medial) of the left knee, Hickey joined in the three-quarter time huddle, allaying initial fears of an ACL injury, but Melbourne will wait on scans.

The Demons kicked three goals in the first five minutes but were tamed thereafter in the race for percentage. 

"I have not seen us play a better quarter of football [than that opening term]," said Melbourne coach Mick Stinear.

"In terms of their ability to connect with each other, aggression, composure. We were ferocious around the footy but we kept clear heads.

"There will be a few sore bodies out there but the thought of playing in [what is essentially] a preliminary Grand Final will get them up pretty quickly."

The Carlton game-plan failed to worry Melbourne as the Demons flooded the midfield from the first bounce and kept the hosts pinned inside their defensive 50 for the first quarter. 

"We clearly had some issues in that first quarter around our intensity," said Carlton coach Damien Keeping. 

"We have demonstrated that we are able to be effective. We’ll take the learning opportunities and travel to Fremantle as a united group. We have one more game to stand for something as a group.

"Winning next week will be our sole focus. Anything behind that we will worry about afterwards."

The Blues' form continued to stutter after their first two wins of the season as the Melbourne midfield trio of Karen Paxman, Daisy Pearce and Elise O’Dea proved too strong.

Georgia Gee, 18, kicked her first League goal to add to majors from Darcy Vescio and Tayla Harris, but it was all over after the first quarter.

The moment
With Carlton’s backs reeling, Melbourne's Jasmine Grierson collected the Sherrin inside 50, wheeled around, and picked up out Elise O’Dea who obligingly slotted her third for the first quarter. Extending the visitors’ lead to 30 points, it set Carlton up for a long afternoon. Nineteen-year-old Grierson’s creative and composed display came after she had been pushed up the field as Melbourne sought a landslide victory to head into round seven second on the ladder. 

Blink and you missed it
After the Blues endured a dismal first quarter, key forward Tayla Harris goaled with a 45m barrel within the first minute. The former Lion escaped the attention the Demon' defenders and unleashed her famous right boot.

Five minutes of madness
It was all over after the first five minutes as Melbourne waltzed through the Carlton defence. The fired-up visitors left the Blues at sea with an explosive start that signalled intentions of boosting their percentage for a chance to go top.

Point of difference 
Laura Attard’s first game of the season did not make for a comfortable afternoon and the Carlton defenders failed to contain 186cm Tegan Cunningham. An inability to clear lines proved one key point of difference as Melbourne pumped possession back into the forward 50 again and again.

What’s next?
Both groups have a six-day turnaround but, while Melbourne makes a short trip across town to face the Bulldogs, Carlton takes the long haul to Fremantle in a bid to avoid the wooden spoon.


CARLTON                  0.1     2.1     2.2     3.4     (22)                  

MELBOURNE              6.3     7.5     7.8     8.9     (57)           


GOALS

Carlton: Harris, Vescio, Gee

Melbourne: O’Dea 3, Cunningham 3, Hore 2


BEST 

Carlton: Harris, Gee, Hardiman

Melbourne: O’Dea, Zanker, Cunningham, Grierson, Hore, Scott 


INJURIES 

Carlton: Attard (hand)

Melbourne: Hickey (knee), Newman (groin)