MELBOURNE has made it 13 wins on the trot, dispensing of Hawthorn by 59 points on Friday night.
A career-high three goals from Eden Zanker led the Demons to the 10.10 (70) to 1.5 (11) win at Kinetic Stadium, marking not just Melbourne's 13th straight win, but Tayla Harris' 16th consecutive win.
HAWKS v DEMONS Full match coverage and stats
Tyla Hanks was outstanding once again, winning 26 disposals, four inside 50s and 10 score involvements and creating space where there was none. Her ability to neatly use the ball even under the most pressure is impressive, and sets Melbourne up so well.
Meanwhile, Eliza West (19 disposals, seven tackles) and Liv Purcell (29 disposals, five intercepts) complemented her beautifully in the thick of it.
Hawthorn worked to pressure every possession the Demons found, trying to mob the ball carrier at every opportunity. At times this worked well, winning repeated holding the ball free kicks and turning the ball over, but given Melbourne's class when moving the ball by hand, it opened opportunities for the well-disciplined Dees running in space.
Winning the tackle count 79 to 53, the inexperienced Hawks' work rate couldn't be questioned, but the class of the Demons to win 183 uncontested possessions, plus-61 more than the home side, allowed them to work through that persistent pressure.
While the Hawks tried to flood their defensive line to close down leading lanes and force Melbourne into poor conversion at goal, when the visitors were able to move the ball quickly into attack, the likes of Casey Sherriff (six score involvements, 12 disposals) and Alyssa Bannan (10 disposals, one goal) found acres of space with little opposition. This ultimately culminated in a stunning end-to-end run from Bannan in the second quarter, resulting in the Demons' fourth goal.
Going inside 50 Melbourne was super efficient, creating a shot on goal from 76 per cent of its entries, while the Hawks weren't quite able to work through the Demons' well-drilled defensive unit, scoring from only a quarter of its entries despite winning the inside 50 count.
Coming out of defence, Hawthorn tried to make the most of defender Catherine Brown's huge boot, wanting to attack the corridor and gain as much ground as possible in a high-risk, high-reward style of play.
On debut Aimee Mackin (13 disposals) was impressive, covering the ground beautifully – especially early – and creating scoring opportunities for teammates, including Melbourne's opening goal off the boot of sister Blaithin.
For the Hawks, star recruit Emily Bates was tireless around the contest, winning 21 disposals and seven clearances, and while the likes of Jasmine Fleming (21 disposals, 309m gained) and Tilly Lucas-Rodd (28 disposals, four tackles) worked hard, it simply wasn't enough to match that of Melbourne's midfield.
Melbourne's winning ways
The Demons have now won 13 on the trot, continuing to improve on their AFLW record streak, meanwhile Tayla Harris has now won each of her last 16 games. In that time, Melbourne has won by an average of 43.5 points, the narrowest being its four point Grand Final victory in November last year. It will take a special team to beat these Demons.
Bannan goes end-to-end
Under an injury cloud coming into the game thanks to an awkward tackle last week, Alyssa Bannan proved her ankle was nothing to worry about in the second quarter. Playing down back to take on Hawks speedster Aine McDonagh, Bannan saw an opportunity and took it. Her teammates won a contested ball on the half back flank, and with trust in her teammates that they would maintain possession, Bannan took off and sprinted the length of the field to get into the Demons' open forward line, ultimately getting on the end of a neat transition from her midfield group to kick her side's fourth goal of the evening.
Hawthorn will return to Kinetic Stadium on Sunday to host Brisbane, playing the Lions for the first time since stars Emily Bates and Greta Bodey made the move south, while Melbourne will travel down the highway on Thursday to play Geelong for the first time.
HAWTHORN 0.1 0.3 1.5 1.5 (11)
MELBOURNE 2.4 4.6 8.7 10.10 (70)
Melbourne: Zanker 3, Hore 2, Pearce, B.Mackin, Bannan, McNamara, Harris
Hawthorn: Bates, Everist, Fleming, Elliott, Lucas-Rodd
Melbourne: Hanks, Heath, Gillard, Mithen, Purcell,
Crowd: 2,917 at Kinetic Stadium