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No Tayla Harris, no worries: Melbourne defeat Geelong for 14 wins on the trot

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By Joanna Guelas

September 28, 2023 — 9.11pm

Melbourne have stormed home with a 49-point win over Geelong to kick off their AFLW rivalry and keep their 14-game winning streak alive.

Losing star forward Tayla Harris to a hamstring injury proved no obstacle in the Demons’ maiden clash with the Cats, with the visitors taking out a 11.8 (74) to 4.1 (25) victory at GMHBA Stadium on Thursday as former skipper Daisy Pearce watched on.

Captain Kate Hore led on the scoreboard with a haul of four majors while vice-captain Tyla Hanks (20 disposals, three clearances) and Olivia Purcell (19, eight) worked overtime in the midfield.

Pressure point: Melbourne’s Sinead Goldrick is tackled by her Geelong opponent.

Pressure point: Melbourne’s Sinead Goldrick is tackled by her Geelong opponent. Credit: AFL Photos / Getty Images

Paxy Paxman (two goals), Eden Zanker (two), Maddi Gay (one) and Lily Mithen (one) were also among Melbourne’s six goalkickers.

But it was Cats star Nina Morrison who took control of the midfield, snatching a major and racking a game-high 30 disposals and eight clearances, along with Amy McDonald (26, seven).

The hosts started strongly in typical Geelong fashion, registering six inside 50s to Melbourne’s one and six forward-half intercepts to none in the opening minutes of the match.

Prolific goalkicker Chloe Scheer threatened to open the account for the Cats with a running open goal but instead gave away a free kick for a push in the back.

Veteran Demon Paxman grabbed the first six points after being awarded a free kick for being held by defender Georgie Rankin, before Hore backed it up with a centre-bounce goal.

The Cats found a response in Irishwoman Aishling Moloney (three goals) to reduce the margin to seven points just before quarter time.

Hore took centre stage in the second term, kicking two majors to put the Demons ahead by 22 points.

It was Moloney’s turn to star in the third quarter, adding two goals to her haul in the span of five minutes to keep the Cats in the contest while captain Meghan McDonald (seven intercept possessions) and Claudia Gunjaca (eight) stood up in defence.

Melbourne kicked four unanswered goals in the closing term to seal the win, with Hore making herself the league’s leading goalkicker with 14 goals to her name.

Heading into the second half of the season with five wins on the trot, Melbourne’s undefeated status will come under threat when they meet three-time premiership side Adelaide next weekend.

Meanwhile, Geelong (3-2) and midfielder Georgie Prespakis make the trip to Warrnambool to meet with Essendon and sister Maddy for round six.