ADELAIDE has become the first side to defeat reigning premier Melbourne, withstanding a fourth-quarter charge from the Demons to win by 10 points at Casey Fields.
The Crows were scoreless in the first term but kicked six consecutive goals to race out to a 25-point lead late in the third term, hanging on for dear life as the Demons pushed hard to close the 8.8 (56) to 7.4 (46) result as Melbourne's 14-game winning streak was ended.
DEMONS v CROWS Full match coverage and stats
Eden Zanker booted a career-high five majors, but Dees captain Kate Hore was kept goalless for the first time this season as the Crows midfield dried up Melbourne's forward supply.
The Demons kept Adelaide to its first scoreless quarter of the year in the first, Zanker busy with 2.1 and Sinead Goldrick finding the footy at will.
It was a different story in the second, the Crows locking the ball in their attacking half and getting on the scoreboard after a strong contested mark from Danielle Ponter and a stunning, spinning Ebony Marinoff goal.
Chelsea Randall was also swung into defence after Zanker's strong opening term, providing a level head to the young backline, and it was Melbourne's turn to be held to its first scoreless quarter of the season.
There was a breeze – but no means a howling Casey Fields gale – heading to what was fast shaping up to be the scoring end of the field, with all 32 first-half points recorded at one end of the ground.
Adelaide star Anne Hatchard broke through at the "wrong" end of the ground five minutes into the third term, and the run generated by both Hatchard and her partner in crime Marinoff set the tone for the Crows.
Most concerningly for Melbourne coach Mick Stinear would have been the manner of how Eloise Jones kicked her third-quarter goal, left free while Caitlin Gould shaped to take a set-shot from the boundary, instead chipping to her teammate.
Eliza McNamara broke the run of six consecutive Adelaide goals just one minute before three-quarter time, cutting the margin to 19 at the final break.
It just gave the Demons a sniff at some form of momentum after being outplayed for two quarters, and they came out all guns blazing, Zanker adding her third and fourth in quick succession.
A downfield free kick for a bump after a kick was gratefully received by Hatchard, kicking her second to take the Crows out to a lead from which they were never headed.
Tackle pressure reigns supreme
The Crows laid an astonishing 19 tackles inside their forward 50, with Melbourne recording just six in the metric. Adelaide also utilised its handball to great effect, swinging the play around from the charging Melbourne players and giving its forwards different channels to lead into.
Could the Grand Final venue be closer to being locked in?
It all depends what happens during the finals series in November, but with Saturday's win, Adelaide is a game clear in first position with four rounds remaining. Grand Final hosting rights go to the highest-placed qualifier in the decider, giving the Crows the best look currently, should they win through. It has already been determined Adelaide will host at Norwood Oval, should the Crows make it to the first Sunday of December.
Melbourne has the last Sunday slot, travelling to Mineral Resources Park to face West Coast on its home deck. Adelaide, by contrast, kick off round seven, hosting the winless Western Bulldogs at Norwood Oval.
MELBOURNE 2.4 2.4 3.4 7.4 (46)
ADELAIDE 0.0 2.4 6.5 8.8 (56)
Melbourne: Zanker 5, McNamara 2
Adelaide: Ponter 2, Marinoff 2, Hatchard 2, Jones, Gould
Melbourne: Hanks, Zanker, Purcell, Goldrick, Hore
Adelaide: Marinoff, Hatchard, Kelly, Allan, Randall
Crowd: 1,975 at Casey Fields