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Joanna Guelas

No Tayla Harris, no worries: Demons defeat Cats in AFLW

Captain Kate Hore led with four goals for Melbourne in their 49-point AFLW win over Geelong. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

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 beforehand proved no obstacle in the Demons' maiden clash with the Cats as they claimed a 11.8 (74) to 4.1 (25) victory at GMHBA Stadium on Thursday evening.

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.

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).

"I've had probably my best start to the year," Morrison said post-match.

"I feel like I've been consistent in playing my role. I just need to keep getting better at running out the game and performing in the second half."

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 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.

"It's a game we've been keen to get our teeth stuck into," Demons coach Mick Stinear said.

"It took to that last quarter to break away but it was a good strong contest and both teams were out on their feet in the end.

"The team did a great job to cover for Tayla (Harris). Hopefully Tayla's all clear to go next week."

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.

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