Fremantle’s disappointing AFL Women’s season ended with a whimper in a record 54-point thrashing at the hands of high-flying Melbourne at Casey Fields on Saturday.
The Dockers were missing injured captain Kara Donellan and struggled from the outset, conceding five first-quarter goals as the Demons ran up a record score in their 11.4 (70) to 2.4 (16) triumph.
The thumping win kept Melbourne’s grand final hopes alive.
They will play off against Brisbane in the decider next week if third-placed Adelaide are beaten by Collingwood at Olympic Park tomorrow.
Fremantle, however, will look back on campaign that promised so much and delivered little in terms of results.
The Dockers were rated amongst the premiership favourites going into the season, but produced just one win and a draw from their seven matches.
While disappointed with the results, coach Michelle Cowan said her players could be proud of their efforts throughout the inaugural AFL season after first coming together for pre-season training late last year.
“I guess it’s about the bigger picture and what they have been a part of, which has been amazing over the last five months,” Cowan said.
“They’ve worked really hard to get to this point and they’ve learnt a lot.”
Fremantle went goalless after quarter-time today and had few winners as the Dees dominated.
Dana Hooker (20 disposals), Amy Lavell (11) and Gemma Houghton (10) tried hard.
AFLW star Daisy Pearce was prominent early for Melbourne despite the close attention of Lara Filocamo and was best afield with 22 disposals and a series of goal assists.
Alyssa Mifsud kicked Melbourne’s first goal in the opening minute, marking unopposed 20m from goal after Pearce had won the first centre clearance.
Ebony Antonio responded almost immediately for Fremantle, but it was all the Demons from there.
The Dockers conceded three first-half goals from indiscretions, including a free kick, a 50m penalty and a down-the-ground free kick.
Melbourne kicked 10 straight goals before registering their first behind and eclipsed Collingwood’s previous record AFLW score of 7.13 (55).
Deanna Berry, Catherine Phillips, Shelley Scott and Mifsud kicked two goals each for the Demons, whose accurate disposal and fast ball movement was a highlight.
“I thought Melbourne were really clean and we were certainly outclassed,” Cowan said.
“I thought they played one of the best games AFLW has seen this season.
“They were very good.”
Fremantle’s Akec Makur Chuot was reported for a clumsy late hit on Lily Mithen during the final quarter.
Docker Taylah Angel copped a knock to the knee and hobbled off before half-time.
MELBOURNE 5.0 8.0 10.0 11.4 (70)
FREMANTLE 2.0 2.3 2.4 2.4 (16)
GOALS – MELBOURNE: D Berry, C Phillips, S Scott, A Mifsud 2; A Newman, E Humphries, K Paxman.
FREMANTLE: G Houghton, E Antonio.
BEST – MELBOURNE: D Pearce, L Mithen, E O’Dea, C Phillips, M Hickey, L Paxman, S Scott.
FREMANTLE: D Hooker, A Lavell, G Houghton, L Filacomo.
INJURIES – MELBOURNE: Nil.
FREMANTLE: T Angel (knee).
REPORTS: Akec Makur Chuot (Fremantle) for rough conduct on Lily Mithen in the fourth quarter.
UMPIRES: Michael Pell, Ryan Guy, Annie Mirabile.
CROWD: 3226 at Casey Fields.