Alicia Bannan celebrates a goal for Narrm against West Coast in R8 of the 2023 season. Picture: AFL Photos

NARRM speedster Alyssa Bannan produced a career-best five goals to spearhead a powerful 70-point win against West Coast as the Demons steadied after their first loss of the season and put themselves back in the top-two race.

Bannan's mix of skill and speed was thrilling at Mineral Resources Park, with the young forward burning off her opponents in the stifling Perth heat as the reigning premiers moved to 6-1, winning 11.16 (82) to 2.0 (12).

EAGLES v DEMONS Full match coverage and stats

It was a dominant performance from the hard-running Narrm ahead of a top-four clash against North Melbourne next Saturday, with the visitors controlling the clearances 31-23 and winning the forward entries 52-9.

They made their decisive move in the third quarter, with Bannan heavily involved alongside Aimee and Blaithin Mackin as the Demons kicked 4.7 and held West Coast scoreless to turn a 15-point deficit into a massive 46-point lead at the last change.


As well as Bannan, the Demons' contested ball-winners were critical with Eliza West (20 and five clearances) and Olivia Purcell (19 and eight inside 50s) giving the visitors first use out of the midfield.

Goalkicking stars Eden Zanker and Kate Hore both worked into the game as the Demons' dominance grew, kicking two goals each to ensure they remain in the top two places on the AFLW goalkicking leaderboard.


It was Bannan's day, however, as she kicked the opening three goals of the game and then stayed involved throughout, passing off several opportunities in a polished and unselfish performance.

Bannan's early goals aside, however, Narrm's dominance through the first half was not rewarded on the scoreboard as they dominated forward entries but added just one more goal through Aimee Mackin, who converted a crafty snap at the top of the goalsquare.


They had the better of general play through the second quarter but were kept to just 0.2, with the Eagles ramping up their pressure and tackling their way through a hard-fought quarter as temperatures peaked.

When they had the ball, the Eagles routinely undid their hard work with missed handballs and dropped marks, but a clean passage of play late in the second term that started in defence produced their one goal for the quarter as Courtney Rowley converted a set shot.

They dropped off alarmingly after half time and could not run with the Demons, who picked out gaps in their defence as the game wore on and held the home team scoreless in the last two quarters in what was the fourth worst defeat in their history.


Watt a return
The celebrated story of Sunday for Melbourne was the return of ruck Rhiannon Watt after 24 games with Carlton and St Kilda. Having arrived at the Demons during her recovery from an ACL injury, Watt threw herself into the Demons' program and became a leader while unable to play, making her game on Sunday one to celebrate. The 35-year-old finished with 12 disposals, 12 hit-outs and four clearances, supporting Georgia Campbell in the ruck and contributing to the Demons' midfield dominance.

Rhiannon Watt in action for Narrm against West Coast in R7 of the 2023 season. Picture: AFL Photos

Efficient Eagles frustrate Dees early
West Coast's ability to soak up 12 opposition entries through the second quarter and rebound them all before going inside 50 once and kicking the only goal of the term would have left the Dees tearing their hair out. The opening quarter had also produced a goal from only four West Coast entries, with the Eagles' ability to find two goals from only five entries in a half keeping them in the game. Charlie Thomas was terrific under pressure for the Eagles, winning 14 disposals under pressure and five rebounds through the first half.

Next up
The Eagles are on the road and have a seven-day break before taking on the 5-2 Essendon at Windy Hill on Sunday. The Demons have a short turnaround and will meet North Melbourne on Saturday at IKON Park in a night game that could see them leapfrog the Kangaroos into the top two.

WEST COAST 1.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 (12)
NARRM 4.1 4.3 8.10 11.16 (82)

West Coast: Gibson, Rowley
Narrm: Bannan 5, Hore 2, Zanker 2, A Mackin, Sherriff

West Coast: Thomas, Roberts, Smith, Gooch
Narrm: Bannan, Purcell, West, B Mackin, Hore, Hanks

West Coast: Nil
Narrm: Nil

West Coast: Sarah Lakay replaced in selected side by Beth Schilling
Narrm: Nil

Crowd: 1,232 at Mineral Resources Park