A FIVE-GOAL second term has put Melbourne up 2-0 to start the season, with a much-improved Richmond unable to slow the Demons' run as they cruised to a 16-point victory at the Swinburne Centre on Friday night.
The Demons have now won seven out of their past eight games, despite the Tigers showing some newfound bite in the 8.6 (54) to 6.2 (38) contest.
Second year player Alyssa Bannan put in her bid for goal of the year, as she received a handball near the centre circle and turned on the jets. Bannan kicked a second just moments later, while Kate Hore also registered two for the quarter.
The second-quarter onslaught came despite a fast start for the Tigers, with a quick clearance leading to Tessa Lavey's first goal in the game's opening minute, with another Richmond goal coming just moments later courtesy of captain Katie Brennan.
Richmond was conscious not to allow Melbourne find runners through the corridor, with the Tigers sure to keep a forward deep to prevent any easy turnovers, as Monique Conti continued her impressive start to the season, running through stoppages and finding the footy with ease.
TIGERS v DEMONS Full match coverage and stats
But once the Demons found a little more composure around the ball, their quick, direct attack put a Tigers defence - missing the important Sarah D'Arcy - under the pump.
Tayla Harris put her body on the line, as she is wont to do, while Eliza West's pressure around the ball played a big part in Melbourne getting on top.
Brennan worked hard in the second half to give her side opportunities to score, moving freely around the forward 50 arc to spot up teammates closer to goal, but the Demons' ability to read the ball proved too much.
Bannan's got wheels
As the Demons found their groove in the second quarter, Alyssa Bannan got on her bike. Receiving a quick handball from Lily Mithen near the centre circle, Bannan engaged the speed she's known for, evaded a few Tigers and settled for a clean shot at goal directly in front. It's one that will be hard to beat for goal of the year votes this year.
A star continues to rise
Monique Conti's 29 disposal performance last week had the footy world talking, and she's backed it up this week. Registering a game-high 25 disposals and kicking her first goal in the yellow and black, Conti proved hard to stop. Using her speed to split packs and clean hands to gather the ball with ease, no Demon was able to go with her.
A forward line that is hard to stop
Even without Shelley Scott up forward, Melbourne's marking targets plucked the ball out of the air with ease. Taking 10 marks inside 50 compared to the Tigers' three, they were able to find their forwards in space, or back them in to beat direct opponents. Without Sarah D'Arcy in the side, Harriet Cordner and Rebecca Miller were stuck one-out more often than they would have liked.
"We're pleased we kept our nerve, we were under the pump a little and their tackle and pressure game was excellent, they were finishing their work in front of goal. I thought the end of that first quarter we just started to wrestle it back on our terms, and I think that gave the group a little bit of confidence." Melbourne coach Mick Stinear
"I thought the first quarter we could have been more up at quarter time, we were playing a really good brand of footy - hard and tough and getting some run into the game. The territory game was our way. The third and fourth quarters were a real arm wrestle, with momentum swings. I don't know what it looked like from the stands or on the telly, but from my vantage point it was a real quality game of footy. I do feel like we're a better team tonight than when we rocked up at the start of the game." Richmond coach Ryan Ferguson
Richmond will be back at the Swinburne Centre to take on the hubbed Fremantle Dockers, while Melbourne will head home to Casey Fields for the first time to play St Kilda.
RICHMOND 2.1 2.1 4.1 6.2 (38)
MELBOURNE 1.0 6.3 7.6 8.6 (54)
Richmond: Lavey 2, Brennan 2, Dargan, Conti
Melbourne: Harris 2, Hore 2, Bannan 2, D. Pearce, Paxman,
Richmond: Lavey, Brennan, Conti, Seymour
Melbourne: L. Pearce, Paxman, Birch, Hanks, West
Crowd: 1,517 at the Swinburne Centre
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