Dockers come back to beat Demons in AFLW

Fremantle have fought back from 14 points down at three-quarter time to record a stirring four-point victory over Melbourne in one of the best games in the AFLW's short history.

In a seesawing contest, starting in 39-degree conditions on Sunday at Casey Fields, the visitors kicked six of the last seven goals in the first half to take a commanding 20-point lead at the major break. Melbourne fought back hard to boot five unanswered goals in the third term.

However, despite the 14-point deficit, the Dockers' superior fitness was evident in the final period, as they kicked the last three goals to run out 9.5 (59) to 8.7 (55) winners in a match that was just two points shy of the AFLW record total of 116.

The Demons finished with more disposals (189-172), contested possessions (112-100), marks (25-24), clearances (31-27) and hit-outs (45-21).

But Fremantle out-hunted Melbourne with 31 more tackles (76-45) while they also registered more inside 50s (28-24), marks inside 50 (11-7) and tackles inside 50 (10-2).

The result was further soured for Melbourne by Shae Sloane, brother of Adelaide co-captain Rory Sloane, suffering a knee injury in the second quarter and taking no further part in the game.

Gemma Houghton and Ashley Sharp were the Dockers' leading goalkickers with two apiece. Dana Hooker, Ebony Antonio and Kiara Bowers, who booted a crucial final-term goal in her first game since injury ruined her first two seasons, were all pivotal.

Eden Zanker kicked two goals for the Demons and enjoyed support from Karen Paxman, Lily Mithen, Elise O'Dea and ex-SEABL basketballer Kate Hore.

Melbourne burst out of the blocks with goals from former soccer player Aliesha Newman and Hore inside the first four minutes.

But after being shellshocked early, the Dockers settled into the game on the back of their attacking game style to take a commanding 20-point lead at halftime.

The momentum swung back Melbourne's way dramatically in the third quarter, though, as the ball stayed almost exclusively in their forward half with Fremantle failing to get it inside their forward 50 and being held scoreless.

However, it was Melbourne's turn to stall in the final term, as the Dockers ran all over the hosts to boot the last three goals and record their first interstate win in sensational style.