Dominant midfielder Karen Paxman has helped fire AFLW premiership fancies Melbourne to a 21-point win over Gold Coast in their season opener.
Paxman had 25 disposals in a prolific display as Tegan Cunningham, Kate Hore and Kristel Petrevski hit the scoreboard with two goals apiece at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.
The Demons conceded the first two goals of the match but piled on five of their own without reply during the second quarter on the way to a comfortable 9.2 (56) to 5.5 (35) victory.
Gold Coast gift-wrapped three goals for Melbourne via 50m penalties and gave away another two from free kicks as their ill-discipline proved costly.
Cult-figure Sarah Perkins provided energy and a marking target in her first appearance for Gold Coast – her third AFLW club – and finished with two goals.
But the Demons had too many contributors in an even team display as Lily Mithen (22 disposals), Tyla Hanks and Eliza McNamara (18 each) found plenty of the ball.
The tone was set for a free-scoring first term when Jamie Stanton floated forward to kick the Suns’ first major inside the opening 30 seconds.
It was two goals apiece before a strong contested mark by Perkins at the top of the square resulted in her first major and gave the Suns a seven-point lead at the break.
But the Demons flipped the script during the second term, piling on 5.1 to 0.2 in a dominant team display.
Paxman was at the forefront of their charge, gathering 13 disposals in the second quarter alone.