MELBOURNE has continued its recent dominance over the Western Bulldogs, prevailing by eight points at the MCG on Sunday in the first of two AFL women's matches.
The Demons were held goalless in the second and third terms, but managed to claim a hard-fought 4.13 (37) to 4.5 (29) victory to secure their third successive win over the Bulldogs in as many years.
Melbourne was led by onballer Kara Donnellan, who was named most valuable player with a match-high 23 touches (16 kicks, seven handballs), seven inside 50s and four tackles.
Demons forward Emma Swanson was influential in attack and laid a game-saving tackle in defence on Bulldog Emma Zielke in the dying moments.
Dees captain Daisy Pearce, the No.1 draft selection in 2013, was also kept busy, generating plenty of run across half-back with 23 disposals.
Forward Tayla Harris, who took a high-flying mark in last year's match, again impressed for the Dees with an accurate set shot from 40m before moving down back in the second half.
Demon Cecilia McIntosh sustained a serious right knee injury in the first quarter while attempting to run for the ball and did not take any further part in the match.
Fellow teammate Ellie Blackburn hobbled off the ground after rolling her left ankle midway through the final term.
West Australian Emma King, who was taken with pick No.1 by the Bulldogs in last month's women's draft, began in the ruck against Danielle Goding and got the better of her opponent.
The Bulldogs registered the first goal of the game through forward Darcy Vescio, who converted with a running goal from 40m.
Vescio showcased her skills at both ends of the ground, kicking a clever banana goal and taking a strong defensive mark.
Defender Meg Hutchins stood tall in defence for the Dogs with 18 possessions, while midfielder Stephanie Chiocci looked lively with her 15 disposals.
Forward Moanna Hope had the chance to boot her third goal to give the Bulldogs the lead in the final minutes, but failed to convert the set shot.
The second curtain-raiser will be played at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, August 16 ahead of the round 20 Western Bulldogs-Melbourne clash.
MELBOURNE 3.3 3.8 3.11 4.13 (37)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.2 2.3 3.4 4.5 (29)
Melbourne: Harris, Swanson, Bowers, Phillips
Western Bulldogs: Vescio, Hope 2
Melbourne: Donnellan, Swanson, Blackburn, Pearce, Bentley, Bowers
Western Bulldogs: Brennan, Hope, Anderson, Hutchins, Vescio, Chiocci
Melbourne: McIntosh (knee), Blackburn (ankle)
Western Bulldogs: Nil