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SLOW START AT THE TOP by Bewitched

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The hot conditions would probably have proved too much for Bernard Tomic but, for the women of Melbourne, the heat and the humidity were the perfect conditions to enable them to overcome the Adelaide Crows after a now standard slow start in the nation's Top End.

What is it about the slow starting Demons?

Only once during this inaugural AFLW season have they held a quarter time lead and that was in the opening round against the league-leading Brisbane Lions when they scored three points to nothing and failed to goal until just before half time. Their best quarter time score to date stands at 1.1.7 when they trailed the Doggies by a couple of goals in round three.

And so it was last night at TIO Stadium with a listless start that, as in Sydney the week before, saw the opposition on 2.1.13 at the first change (only this week the Dees hadn't even scored a point). It was almost as if last week's shock loss had sucked the life and the fight out of the team - but all that changed in the second quarter.

Led by inspirational skipper Daisy Pearce, they fought their way back into contention for a grand final berth. After Deanna Berry bobbed up for the team's first goal early in the second quarter, an arm wrestle ensued and the Crows took sway with a goal in response midway through the term. However, from that moment on until late in the night it was all Melbourne with Daisy leading the way. She was everywhere. At one stage she goaled up forward and moments later was marking strongly deep in defence.

Along with Karen Paxman who had 21 possessions for the game, Pearce (20) was fantastic and so were the hard tackling Elise O'Dea and youngster Lily Mithen.

It looked as if their fast start in the thirty degree sauna-like conditions had taken its toll over the Crows. They were completely shut out in the third quarter and when Aliesha Newman scored Melbourne’s fifth goal at the 10-minute mark of the final term, they seemed to be up against an unassailable lead.

But as is usual for Melbourne sides, that was not the end of the drama because two late goals from Adelaide, one after the other, led to a heart-stopping finish. The final siren couldn't come too soon.

The equation for next weekend is simple. The Dees must beat Fremantle at Casey Fields on Saturday and then hope for a Pies victory over Adelaide on Sunday to set up a replay of the opening round clash in the grand final due to take place in Brisbane.
  
Melbourne 0.0.0 2.1.13 4.3.27 5.4.34

Adelaide 2.1.13 3.1.19 3.1.19 5.2.32

Goals

Melbourne Berry Mifsud Newman D Pearce Scott

Adelaide Bevan Gibson Perkins Randall Riley

Best

Melbourne Paxman Pearce Newman O'Dea Mithen Smith Berry

Adelaide Foley Bevan Randall Randan Phillips

Injuries

Melbourne Nil

Adelaide Nil

Reports

Melbourne Nil

Adelaide Nil

Umpires Andrew Crosby, Brodie Raynor and Nathan Toner

Crowd 5,100 at TIO Stadium, Darwin

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