Defending AFLW premiers Melbourne have fought through difficult conditions and its own inaccuracy to beat Fremantle by 33 points to all but extinguish the Dockers’ finals hopes.
Fremantle went with Melbourne early in typically horrendous wind at Casey Fields and led by a point at quarter-time.
But with the wind at their backs, the Demons, led by gun midfielder Paxy Paxman, peppered Fremantle’s defence in the second quarter and got on top, prevailing 8.13 (61) to 4.4 (28).
Melbourne (32 points) consolidated top spot on the ladder while 13th-placed Fremantle, in the logjam of teams sitting on 16 points, remain outside the top eight on percentage with a round to go in the home-and-away season.
The Dockers will realistically need to win their final-round match against Sydney, while relying on other results going their way, to sneak into the top eight.
Paxman (27 disposals, one goal) was typically prolific and well-supported by Eliza West (21 disposals, six clearances), Lily Mithen and Eliza McNamara, while Kate Hore and Eden Zanker kicked two goals apiece.
Hayley Miller, Dana East (11 clearances), Ange Stannett and Kiara Bowers were busy for the Dockers while Megan Kaufmann kicked three goals.
Melbourne took control of the match when Zanker marched into an open goal early in the second term.
Paxman and Eliza West snapped two more in quick succession to put the Demons well and truly on top.
Melbourne got out to a 24-point lead but should have led by more, with inaccuracy around goal proving costly.
Fremantle hit back against the run of play late in the second term, with Kauffman coolly finishing into the wind to cut the deficit to 18 at half-time.
Hore and Fremantle’s Serena Gibbs traded third-quarter goals to keep the game alive at the final change.
Blaithin Mackin hammered home a long-range major with seven minutes on the clock to ice the win, while Hore and Zanker each goaled in the dying minutes to blow the margin out.
Source: AFL NEWS ABC