Melbourne have announced themselves as genuine premiership contenders after holding off a fierce North Melbourne fightback to secure a pulsating nine-point AFLW win at Casey Fields.
In one of the best quality matches in the competition's five-year history, the Demons booted six goals to one in the second term to set up a 27-point lead by the long break.
North Melbourne started the season as premiership favourites, and they showed why they are so highly rated with a blistering fightback that saw the lead whittled back to two points with just less than six minutes remaining of Saturday night's match.
The Kangaroos launched several more attacking raids in the dying minutes but could not land the killer blow, with the Demons booting a goal after the final siren to put the icing on the cake of the 9.6 (60) to 8.3 (51) win.
The result improves Melbourne's record to a perfect 3-0, while North Melbourne are 2-1.
Melbourne forward Jacqueline Parry booted three first-half goals to help set up the win, while Karen Paxman (25 disposals, one goal), Lily Mithen (21 possessions), and Tyla Hanks (22 possessions) were also crucial to the hard-earned triumph.
Demons skipper Daisy Pearce was inspirational, especially when the game went on the line in the final quarter.
For North Melbourne, Jasmine Garner tallied two goals, 15 disposals and 12 tackles, while Emma Kearney finished with a goal from 16 possessions.
"Belief will be the big thing for us that will come out of the game," Melbourne coach Mick Stinear said.
"It's just reinforced what the girls are capable of when they play to their strengths and believe in our game style and method - that they are good enough to match it with the best in the competition."
The opening quarter was an even affair, but the Demons put on a clinic in the second term as almost every foray forward bore fruit.
Their swift ball movement and clean skills proved crucial, with Parry and Tegan Cunningham booting two goals apiece for the term.
The Kangaroos had only conceded a total of two goals in their opening two games of the season, and they looked shellshocked as they headed to the change rooms at halftime.
But they came out breathing fire in the second half, and came within a kick of snatching the lead in the dying minutes.
"We felt the whole first half we didn't get the game on our terms, even in the first quarter," North Melbourne coach Darren Crocker said.
"We felt the scoreboard probably flattered us in the first quarter, and the second quarter was really disappointing.
"But to the girls' credit they dug in during the third and fought their way back into the game."
Australian Associated Press