Slumping Demons lament AFLW fade out

The Adelaide Crows have swamped the Melbourne Demons 68-8 in the latest round of the AFLW.
The Adelaide Crows have swamped the Melbourne Demons 68-8 in the latest round of the AFLW.

Melbourne Demons coach Mick Stinear admitted that it would hurt his players to see teams with fewer wins than them playing in the AFLW finals next week.

The Demons' season came to a shuddering halt at Casey Fields on Saturday, where they suffered a whopping 68-8 loss to the Adelaide Crows.

The result meant Melbourne would finish the regular season in fourth place on the Conference A ladder and miss a preliminary final berth even though they'll probably finish up as the fourth-best team in the competition.

Only the top two teams from each conference make it through to the preliminary finals and there's a realistic chance that the two best teams from Conference B will finish the year with three wins each - one win less than Melbourne.

"That part will hurt the group and from a coaching point of view, you want to be playing finals," Stinear said.

"We've only got ourselves to blame, we lost three games - we win those and it's a different position so we can't complain about where we finished.

"That's the structure we signed up for so no complaints from our end."

Stinear would like to see more games played next year during the home-and-away season with another four teams entering the competition.

"You just hope there's some honest and robust discussion about what's best for women's footy because the growth in the game this year has been unbelievable," he said.

"Let's make sure we keep giving these girls the best opportunity to display their talent."

With so much to play for, Melbourne surprisingly saved their worst performance in their history for their most important game.

After being held scoreless in the first half, the Demons didn't register their first score - a behind - until five minutes into the third quarter and had to wait until the final term for their solitary goal on the way to recording the equal-lowest score in AFLW history (1.2.8).

The 60-point loss was also Melbourne's worst ever defeat - almost doubling their previous worst of 34 points - and the second-largest margin in the history of the competition.

As a result, Adelaide secured a home preliminary final after finishing in top spot in Conference A with Crows coach Matthew Clarke admitting he was surprised by the margin.

"Melbourne's form coming in with the second-highest percentage and their two losses by one point and four, we knew they were going to be really strong," Clarke said.

"The contest numbers were pretty even but we probably were just a bit more efficient than they were and we supported our defence really well as well.

"The girls played an amazing game."

Australian Associated Press