Melbourne’s experience should have plenty of teams worried

Melbourne successfully executed its hard-running, overlap-disposal game style in a contest that was almost unabated one-way traffic for four quarters.

The gap between the Demons and the Eagles ballooned as the expansion side’s petrol tickets evaporated in the second half against the run and carry of Karen Paxman (who can pencil in another three votes with her 21 touches), Tyla Hanks, Daisy Pearce and Niamh McEvoy, whose lightning speed will become more and more dangerous as she acclimatises herself to the ball skills of Australian Rules.

West Coast was able to contain the home side in patches, playing a one-on-one brand to curtail the Demons from looking for the handpass and streaking through the centre of the ground.

The experience of Melbourne was underlined in its response to the Eagles’ set-up; the likes of Pearce and Libby Birch calmly switched play to open up the ground rather than simply bomb up the line.

Today emphasised Birch as one of the most successful trade moves of the 2020 season. The former Bulldog played as an intercept defender and was best afield at half time with her superb reading of the incoming ball and clean hands in the air.