The Melbourne Demons overcame a significant disruption from COVID-19 to defeat Richmond by 16 points at Punt Road, starting their AFLW season with back-to-back wins.
The PM’s favorites have been forced to omit Maddi Gay, Shelley Scott, Sarah Lampard, Casey Sherriff and Shelley Heath under the league’s health and safety protocols.
And, after resisting an early blitz from the Tigers, the Demons responded fiercely, scoring six straight goals before releasing 8.6 (54) to 6.1 (38) winners on Friday night.
Richmond has also been affected by COVID-19, with Sarah D’Arcy, Maddie Shevlin and Tayla Stahl all forced out of the game, as well as Emelia Yassir (concussion) and Poppy Kelly (knee).
Kate Hore, with 14 eliminations, helped turn the tide in Melbourne’s favor, throwing the first four kills of the second quarter to put the Demons ahead for the first time.
Veteran Karen Paxman was also influential, with 23 touches and a crucial goal just before three quarters, to stifle the expanding Tigers.
Monique Conti stood out for Richmond, with 25 eliminations (15 contested), seven clearances, six tackles and a magnificent goal 40 yards from the limit.
The Demons enjoyed a huge advantage in ball control, with 48 more eliminations (228-180) and 31 more points (50-19) to resume the game after the quarter, overshadowing the Tigers in the clearances (22-19) and inside. 50s (20-13) in the last three quarters.
Demons champion Daisy Pearce progressed through the second term, after a quiet opening at the back, and also played a crucial role in helping the visitors open a 26-point lead at halftime.
And while Richmond refused to hoist the white flag, scoring four to two goals in the second half, Melbourne’s class and experience prevailed.
PAA / ABC