MELBOURNE has survived an almighty scare at the MCG, defeating North Melbourne by two points.
In a matchup that has never seen a margin higher than 10 points, the Demons got over the line 3.8 (26) to the Roos' accurate 4.0 (24).
Some late Alyssa Bannan heroics snatched the win for a Melbourne outfit that was largely outsmarted by the Kangaroos' smart defensive unit.
After the Demons struggled to find the goals in the first quarter, it was captain Daisy Pearce who stepped up and became the most dangerous forward on the ground. Pearce kicked two goals in quick succession thanks to relentless work from contest to contest inside 50. In the second half, North Melbourne defender Sarah Wright clamped right down on Pearce, playing in front and preventing the star from any easy access to the ball.
DEMONS v KANGAROOS Full match coverage and stats
North Melbourne looked best when moving the ball quickly on turnover, exploiting Melbourne's aggressive defensive setup. Libby Birch and Tahlia Gillard fought well as key posts behind the ball but did look vulnerable when the ball hit the ground.
In her 50th game, North vice-captain Emma King kicked the opening goal of the game, and then slotted one late to put her side in front with minutes remaining.
But it wasn't to be, as Bannan found her first taste of space close to goal and took it to put the Demons up by two points.
All game Melbourne had repeatedly tried to send the ball over the back to allow Bannan to run onto it as she has so often done in the past, but Erika O'Shea's speed simply didn't allow Bannan the breakaway she needed. The one chance Bannan did get in space, however, she took.
Ashleigh Riddell was immense in the middle for the Kangaroos, gathering 26 disposals and laying eight tackles to lead all comers in both metrics.
Luck of the Irish
Two games in and North Melbourne's Irish duo of Vikki Wall and Erika O'Shea look like they were made to play AFLW. Typically, when coming to AFLW, Irish players take some time to get used to the physicality, but against Melbourne, Wall and O'Shea put their bodies on the line to impact the play, and then turned on the jets. The Roos have found a couple of stars.
Rennie's day out
In a career-best game, ruck Kim Rennie was vital for the Roos. Her athleticism against the Melbourne contingent of Lauren Pearce, Tayla Harris and Eden Zanker was impressive, especially the way she spread from the contest and challenged in the air. The Roos brought Rennie in to allow Emma King more time in attack, and it's certainly paying off.
Melbourne will head to RSEA Park to play an up-and-about St Kilda, while North Melbourne must travel to South Australia to take on reigning premiers Adelaide at Unley Oval.
MELBOURNE 0.1 2.4 2.6 3.8 (26)
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.0 1.0 2.0 4.0 (24)
Melbourne: D.Pearce 2, Bannan
North Melbourne: Em.King 2, Smith, Gavalas
Melbourne: Paxman, Purcell, Hanks, D. Pearce, Birch
North Melbourne: Rennie, Bruton, Riddell, Garner, Wright
North Melbourne: Tess Craven (left foot)
Crowd: 17,851 at the MCG