Dees back on winners list after making short work of Blues

MELBOURNE has rebounded after last week's loss to Brisbane, comfortably accounting for Carlton by 42 points at Ikon Park.

The Demons had suffered their first loss of the season to the ladder-leading Lions, but enjoyed the chance to take on a well-below strength Blues in the 7.8 (50) to 1.2 (8) victory.

Carlton sprung a selection surprise, recalling young key forward Serena Gibbs for her first game of 2022, only to have her line up on Melbourne spearhead Tayla Harris in the absence of Paige Trudgeon (concussion).

AFLW S7 Highlights: Carlton v Melbourne

04:31 Sep 23. 2022. 9:22 PM

The Blues and Demons clash in round five of the 2022 NAB AFL Women's Competition

Harris relished the opportunity against an inexperienced opponent, booting two goals in the first quarter to reach 50 AFLW career goals and finishing with three for the game.

The Blues struggled to control play through possession, Melbourne's pressure forcing continual turnovers and bomb kicks out of defensive 50.

The rain came at half-time and continued into the third term, and the Blues came out with intent, peppering their front half but struggling to find a marking target.

BLUES v DEMONS Full match coverage and stats

By contrast, Melbourne found scoring straightforward, but had its own battles with inaccuracy,

Mimi Hill (33 disposals, five clearances) and Abbie McKay (18, seven tackles) fought valiantly in the midfield, while Mua Laloifi (14 intercepts) stood up well in defence under enormous pressure, Melbourne piling on 46 inside 50s to Carlton's 13.

It was a well-rounded, mature team effort from the Demons. Liv Purcell's fine season continued with another 30 touches, while Eliza West's creative handballs (14 from 20 touches, seven tackles) helped the Dees out of several tight spots.

The ruck battle between All-Australians Breann Moody and Lauren Pearce was intriguing, with Moody perhaps just having a slight edge. The two even kicked a goal apiece, Pearce's coming with a flourish in the final minutes of her 50th match.

Moody improvises and provides Blues' first

00:32 Sep 23. 2022. 8:08 PM

Breann Moody's soccer out of the air trickles through for a major

Blues patching holes
Carlton hit the trigger for injury replacement players during the week, signing former Tiger Christina Bernardi to her fourth club. The key forward slotted in place of Phoebe McWilliams, whose season is done with a foot injury. In the absence of Darcy Vescio (finger), Gab Pound was moved into a small forward role, occasionally pushing up to the wing. Jess Dal Pos spent some time in the backline in Pound's absence, and Gibbs was swung into defence to cover for Trudgeon.

50 of the best
Only Harris could bring up her 50th career goal against her former side. The dynamic forward has come a long way since the start of her career as a marquee signing for Brisbane at just 19. She made the move to Carlton the following year, before jumping over to the Dees for the 2022 season. Harris brought up the milestone in her 53rd game, averaging just a touch under a goal per game.

Say what?
"We started the season well against Adelaide, but we feel we've been inconsistent since then. We've had some good periods and won some games, but Brisbane showed us we need to work harder and we had a few flaws in our game. We had a lot of supply in our forward half, we just wanted to be stronger and more direct and give our forwards more opportunity, and we felt we did that." – Melbourne coach Mick Stinear

"They're a serious contender for the flag. We knew it was going to be an enormous challenge for us tonight with the squad we assembled. It was a great opportunity for players to get out there and test themselves against the best. They're great moments, the outcome isn't what we wanted, clearly, but we can't question our effort. Our method got caught up at times, their strength and physicality and cleanliness made a big impact on the game." – Carlton coach Daniel Harford

Harris launches huge bomb for incredible opener

00:30 Sep 23. 2022. 7:41 PM

Tayla Harris takes a strong mark and nails a brilliant thumping goal

Up next
Melbourne will be facing a revitalised Fremantle on its home deck on Sunday, while Carlton and Greater Western Sydney will battle it out for some much-needed points at Henson Park on Saturday.

CARLTON           0.1     1.1     1.2     1.2     (8)
MELBOURNE      2.1     5.4     6.7     7.8     (50)

GOALS
Carlton: Moody
Melbourne: Harris 3, Paxman, Duffy, Hore, L.Pearce

BEST
Carlton: Hill, McKay, Laloifi, Moody
Melbourne:
Purcell, West, Harris, Hanks, Birch

INJURIES
Carlton: Nil
Melbourne: Nil