Demons hang on to beat Kangaroos in AFLW

·2-min read

Melbourne have held on by the skin of their teeth to beat North Melbourne by two points at the MCG and maintain their unbeaten start to the AFLW season.

The Demons looked set to rue their wasteful finishing on Friday night, which included being held goalless in the first and third quarters, when Emma King toe-poked the Kangaroos in front late in the final term.

But young gun Alyssa Bannan struck late to deliver a 3.8 (26) to 4.0 (24) victory.

"We were just a bit clunky," Melbourne coach Mick Stinear told reporters.

"It was certainly a good contest, we never quite got our game going or got any flow going and that's full credit to North but I'm pleased that the team found a way to win."

Skipper Daisy Pearce booted two goals while Olivia Purcell (22 disposals), Tyla Hanks (23 disposals) and Karen Paxman (18 touches) were busy and key defender Libby Birch clunked a game-high seven marks.

Kangaroos mainstays Jasmine Garner (22 disposals, 10 clearances), Ashleigh Riddell (26 touches, eight tackles) and Jenna Bruton (17 disposals) were typically busy while Kim Rennie held her own in the ruck and Emma King booted two goals.

North Melbourne struck first when Tahlia Randall took a towering contested mark and teed up King to kick the only goal of the first quarter.

Pearce's quick-fire brace at the start of the second term turned the game on its head, giving Melbourne a 10-point lead at the break.

The Kangaroos pulled the game back into an arm wrestle when Amy Smith pounced on a loose Melbourne kick out of defence and coolly goaled on the run to cut the deficit to a lone major at the final change.

North Melbourne livewire Ellie Gavalas sneaked the opening goal of the final stanza to set up a grandstand finish and when King snagged her second in the goal square, the Kangaroos appeared set for an unlikely victory.

But Eliza West burst her way forward and spotted up Bannan, who with a defender on her tail, pulled off an athletic snap to snare victory.

Kangaroos coach Darren Crocker lamented a second-quarter drop-off and believed it was likely several defensive errors had contributed to Bannan's late goal.

"Melbourne would come away from that game going 'gee, North Melbourne were a bloody to play against tonight and hard to beat,'" Crocker told reporters.

"So that's a step in the right direction for us. But in saying that, we came here to get the four points as well."

North Melbourne's Tess Craven limped off late with a shin injury.