SARAH Perkins' NAB AFL Women's return couldn't have gotten off to a better start as Melbourne smashed West Coast by 59 points.
DEES THUMP EAGLES Full match coverage and stats
The new Demons recruit nailed West Coast captain Emma Swanson in a tackle and won a free kick, before setting new teammate Eden Zanker up for Melbourne's opening goal.
Perkins capped off her day with a goal just before the final siren, as the Demons recorded a 10.6 (66) to 1.1 (7) win at Casey Fields.
The victory leaves Melbourne with four wins and one loss, but a percentage of 214.3% puts them ahead of Carlton.
Karen Paxman was at her usual best with 21 disposals, while Irish duo Sinead Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy were excellent for the Demons with 27 disposals and a goal between them.
Kate Hore was the driving force in Melbourne's forward line, with a great goal on the run as well as an unselfish hand off to Sarah Lampard for her first goal in the NAB AFL Women's Competition.
Elise O'Dea was the key Demon early, but the Eagles looked to stop her momentum by sending Kellie Gibson to the Melbourne midfielder to start the second quarter.
FULL FIXTURE Every round, every game
Maddy Collier gave West Coast some hope with a great goal to kick off the second term, but the Eagles never really threatened to break the game open.
It was over when…
The wind always tends to favour one end at Casey Fields, and Sunday's game was no different. Melbourne's five-goal third quarter with the wind quickly put to bed any hopes the Eagles had of a comeback, as eight of the 11 goals kicked in the game were at the wind-assisted end.
A ruck battle to remember
The ruck battle between Melbourne's Eden Zanker and West Coast's Parris Laurie was probably the most entertaining match up for neutral fans, with Zanker grabbing the points on the day. The Demon finished with two goals, nine disposals and 19 hitouts, while Laurie toiled away with 10 disposals and 17 hitouts.
The Irish connection
Sinead Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy combined for the play of the day, with the former pushing through a tackle and setting up her teammate for a goal. The recruitment of the Dublin duo has been a clear success for the Demons.
Perkins got reward for her repeated efforts all day, but arguably her best moment was something that won't show up on the stat sheet. The key forward hadn't played an AFL Women's game since the end of 2018, but she wasted no time to sell candy.
Hello, Perko ??#AFLWDeesEagles pic.twitter.com/R5HjcKx3An— AFL Women's (@aflwomens) March 8, 2020
"I thought our mids flew the flag from the front, but we didn't end up putting in a four-quarter performance," West Coast coach Luke Dwyer said post-match.
"The girls are hungry to kick a goal at any opportunity." - Melbourne coach Mick Stinear on the Demons adding valuable percentage.
Melbourne will host Carlton at TIO Traeger Park next Saturday at 6.10pm ACST in one of the most important games of the season. West Coast will be looking to bounce back at home against Gold Coast at 2.10pm AWST on Sunday.
MELBOURNE 2.0 3.0 8.3 10.6 (66)
WEST COAST 0.0 1.1 1.1 1.1 (7)
Melbourne: Zanker 2, Lampard, Hore, McEvoy, Scott, Emonson, Cunningham, Parry, Perkins
West Coast: Collier
Melbourne: Paxman, Goldrick, Zanker, O'Dea, McEvoy, Scott
West Coast: Hooker, Atkins, Swanson, Bowen, Radan, Laurie
West Coast: Nil
West Coast: Nil
Crowd: 1800 at Casey Fields