Demons crush the Hawks to maintain unbeaten start to AFLW

Australia World

Defending AFLW premiers Melbourne have monstered a plucky Hawthorn to maintain their perfect start to the season after four rounds.

In a first meeting between the club’s two respective women’s sides on Friday, the Demons claimed a 10.10 (70) to 1.5 (11) victory in Frankston for their 13th consecutive victory — a competition record.

Melbourne vice-captain Tyla Hanks (26 disposals, three clearances) led the way, along with ball magnet Olivia Purcell (29, two).

Lauren Pearce and Blaithín Mackin kicked the opening majors.

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Mackin’s goal came after her sister Aimee’s — who also played Gaelic football for their home county of Armagh before coming to Australia — snap for goal bounced backwards to Blaithín when heading towards the posts.

Libby Birch (seven intercept possessions) and Sinead Goldrick (five) stood up in defence to keep the hosts goalless in the first half.

Captain Tilly Lucas-Rodd (28 disposals, four clearances) and Emily Bates (21, seven) worked hard to keep the Hawks in the contest but opportunities at goal were squandered by kicking inaccuracy.

Matters were made worse for Hawthorn when star forward Greta Bodey left the ground with an injury, starting the second half with three behinds to Melbourne’s four goals, six behinds.

Eliza McNamara opened the third stanza with her first major since returning from a back injury that required her to learn how to walk again.

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Fellow Irishwoman Aine McDonagh broke through the Dees’ barricade to end the Hawks’ goal drought, kicking the first and only major of the night for her side.

Bodey returned to the fray but had minimal influence on the park.

Melbourne’s Eden Zanker booted three goals in the span of five minutes to blow the margin out to 44 points before three-quarter time.

Skipper Kate Hore (two goals), Alyssa Bannan (one) and Tayla Harris (one) were also among the Demons’ goalkickers.

Melbourne (4-0) make the trip down to Kardinia Park to face Geelong in round five, while Hawthorn (1-3) host the Brisbane Lions again at Frankston.