21/02/2024

The Melbourne Demons have kept their finals contention alive after defeating the Gold Coast Suns at Casey Fields. (Photo: AFL Women's)

Melbourne's premiership hopes have been given an extra push, with Lauren Pearce a standout in its win against Gold Coast.

In a hard-fought battle only made more difficult by the windy conditions at Casey Fields, the Melbourne Demons managed to avoid a shock upset despite a late surge in the final quarter from an in-form Gold Coast Suns side.

Looking to move past from their loss last week, Melbourne was pushed right until the very end to gain vengeance and topple the Suns in spectacular fashion 5.8 (38) to 4.2 (26).

A slow scoring affair set off the opener, as Melbourne bagged the first points of the game but saw neither team able to score a goal.

What followed was an exhilarating build up to the final siren. Although Gold Coast demonstrated much needed pressure in the contest, it wasn’t enough to stop the force of the Demons, whose defence won out in the end.

The win was helped by Lauren Pearce’s stellar performance throughout the game, who fired up on the field to produce 20 disposals, 20 hit outs and 11 kicks.

The 2019 All Australian’s three tackles produced on the night also helped contributed to the historic stat of the most aggregate tackles made in competition history, which was 177 combined.

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Adding to Melbourne’s winning stride was Tayla Harris, who aside from scoring two goals, played up against the Sun’s Lauren Ahrens which made for electrifying viewing.

However, this was overshadowed by Ahrens’ leg injury sustained in the third term that kept her from playing out the battle until the very end.

Rounding out Melbourne’s goal scorers were Eliza McNamara, Daisy Pearce and Megan Fitzsimon, who scored one goal each.

The Suns showed positives throughout the game, applying much needed pressure to their opponents despite the absence of star defender Jade Pregelj.

They now have to move forward two of their first choice defenders, with Kalinda Howarth already having to pick up the slack down back.

Among Gold Coast’s standouts were Ali Drennan, who broke through to score the first goal of the game in the second term. Also impressing for the Suns were Jamie Stanton and Howarth, who also helped trigger goals for their team.

As the competition edges closer towards the chance to play finals, Melbourne’s next challenge is against GWS. Meanwhile, the Suns will be up against Geelong.

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