Melbourne Demons beat Western Bulldogs in AFLW thriller

A clutch goal from Tegan Cunningham has kept Melbourne's AFLW finals hopes alive, with the Demons beating the Western Bulldogs by a point.

Melbourne's 5.9 (39) to 6.2 (38) win in the second game of Saturday's Marvel Stadium double header was arguably the match of the season.

The pulsating win keeps Melbourne's finals hopes alive and they have a huge game next Saturday against Adelaide at Casey Fields.

"I just tried to relax and treat it like any other shot," Cunningham said of her match-winning goal.

"It's probably cliche, but it's routine and making sure it goes through the middle."

Asked for how it felt as the ball went through, she replied: "it's relief".

Cunningham took a superb mark to set up the goal, after several minutes where Melbourne were struggling to find a scoring opportunity.

"I had my eyes on the footy, I launched and just happened to get all the ball in my hands, so it felt pretty good," she said of her mark.

The Demons hung on grimly in the last two minutes after Cunningham's goal to seal the crucial win.

Provided Adelaide beat GWS at home on Sunday, the Crows will go into next weekend's last round sharing a 5-1 record with North Melbourne and Fremantle at the top of Conference A.

The top two teams in the conference go into the finals.

Melbourne are a game behind the trio, but with better percentage than North and Fremantle.

Fremantle will also host North next weekend in another unofficial final.

Melbourne have missed the finals narrowly in the first two AFLW seasons.

The Demons were nearly left ruing a wasteful first quarter, where they kept the Bulldogs scoreless, but only managed 1.5.

The reigning premiers roared back in the second term, kicking four straight goals and leading by six points at the main break.

Aisling Utri provided one of the game highlights with her strong mark and goal for the Bulldogs in the second term.

Maddy Gay gave the Demons an ideal start to the second half with her outstanding steal and snapped goal.

Rising Star nominee Eden Zanker also kicked nervelessly from a tight angle to add the Demons' second goal of the third term and they trailed by one point at the last change.

A superb tackle from Utri set up Conti for the crucial first goal of the final term, but the Bulldogs could not build on their lead.

Cunningham's match winner was the only other goal of the last quarter.

Demons star Karen Paxman continued her outstanding season with a 24-possession game, while Lauren Pearce amassed 31 hitouts.

Ellie Blackburn and Kristy Lamb starred for the Bulldogs, who are last in Conference A.