After a 139-day losing streak to Adelaide’s grand final, Melbourne had a chance to turn the tables on Friday night and the Demons refused to let the opportunity go begging.
The Devils’ high-powered offense got the best of the Ravens’ entire team defense, and the Ravens followed through with all the changes at Gleneagles Oval.
Melbourne’s lowest two points last season came against the Crows, but in another competitive heavyweight, Karen Paxman buried a few mental demons for her teammates with a thrilling final goal.
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It was the end of the night for Paxman, who had an impressive midfield display.
Paxman (24 disposals), Eliza West (25) and Olivia Purcell (22) collected plenty of possession as the Demons outscored the disposal count 267-193.
Kate Hoare, after some early pressure, rolled the ball over for the visitors and, unusually, the nearby Crows pounced on her boot.
Hoare collected a loose ball in the pocket and made it her team’s goal when Chelsea Biddle tried to break the ball into the top of the goal area.
Sarah Allen was held hostage by a brutal header and Eloise Jones chased Sherry down four more times before clearing the ball over the goal line.
All Melbourne needed was a release of pressure as Mick Steiner’s side led by four points at the first break and 10 at half-time.
Biddell was in the thick of the game again in the third quarter, calling a touchdown for a touchdown.
This time it was Daisy Pearce who was on the right side of a close call, whose impressive traffic header extended the margin to 11 points at three-quarter time.
Half century style
Ann Hatchard and Tayla Harris both celebrated their 50th game goals and both played key roles for their respective sides.
Hatchard came off the blocks with nine possessions in the first quarter and was a constant physical presence around the ball.
The three-time premiership star finished with 24 touches and eight inside 50s.
Harris renewed her battle with nemesis Chelsea Randall and the Adelaide batsman dominated early, stopping Harris with a bone-chilling takedown.
The star forward, who played eight games for Brisbane, 29 for Carlton and 13 for the Demons, had the last laugh in a tense first quarter when she grabbed Sarah Allen’s clearance attempt.
Just in the 50th, Harris threw the ball on the right boot and sent it through a wonderful goal.
Ash Woodland, the tournament’s leading wicket-taker last season, got off to a bright start in Adelaide with her first major.
She hit the scoreboard twice in the second quarter with the third major coming straight off her right boot top shelf.
Unfortunately, the home side contained all of Adelaide’s majors until Danielle Ponter recovered from a late injury to score the only goal of the night for the reigning premiers.
Adelaide then head to Melbourne to face Richmond at Punt Road Oval on Saturday, while the Demons kick off Round 2 at the MCG curtain raiser in North Melbourne before Friday night’s grand final against Sydney.
Crows 1.0 1.1 3.1 4.2 (26)
Demons 1.4 2.5 4.6 6.8 (44)
Crows: Hatchard, Woodland, Randall, Thompson, Jones, Biddell
Demons: Paxman, West, Hoare, Purcell, Mittens, Hanks
Crows: Woodland 3, Ponter
Demons: Hoare, Harris, Pierce, Hanks, Zanker, Paxman
Place Geleg oval