The round-one loss in atrocious conditions has become a powerful catalyst for Melbourne in the AFL women’s league.
On Saturday they fought off a last-quarter comeback from Carlton to win by six points.
The 6.6 (42) to 5.6 (36) result on Saturday at Casey Fields was crucial, as it kept Melbourne within one game of top sides Adelaide and Brisbane.
The Blues dropped two games off the pace with three rounds left, meaning they now need other results to go their way if they are to make the grand final.
It was the Demons’ third-straight win since they last played at Casey Fields in round one, against the Lions.
Then, a nearby thunder storm briefly sent the players from the field and Melbourne lost by 15 points.
While the conditions were near-perfect this time, Melbourne had to weather Carlton’s late surge.
Trailing by 19 points at the last change, Carlton kicked three goals to level the scores.
But the Demons rebounded, finding Richelle Cranston on her own inside 50m.
She marked and kicked the goal, with Melbourne then holding on for three and a half minutes until the final siren.
“You can be a little bit disappointed, we let them back in the game, but they (Carlton) were fantastic with their pressure and intent,” said Melbourne coach Mick Stinear.
“I’m more pleased we absorbed that and were able to stick our nose in front right at the end.
“As disappointed as we were to drop the first one (against Brisbane), it’s actually kick-started our campaign.
“It has put us in a good position to keep pushing forward.”
Cranston’s goal was the second of two crucial moments in the match.
In the third term, Blues forward Bianca Jakobsson marked and was awarded a 50m penalty, giving her an easy shot at goal.
But she hit the post – one of three times for Carlton in the game – and Melbourne quickly moved the ball down the other end.
Deanna Berry also was awarded a 50m penalty and she did not miss, meaning a 12-point turnaround for the Demons.
Blues coach Damien Keeping said it would be wrong to blame the loss on moments, noting his team did not take their chances in the first half.
While Melbourne easily won the disposals 386-259, Carlton dominated the inside 50s 28-22.
And Keeping was rapt that his players fought back so hard in the final term.
“They were exceptional in that last quarter, played some really aggressive football and stood for something in the end,” he said.
The Blues were also missing star defender Brianna Davey due to a lower back injury, while Sarah Last is out for the rest of the inaugural season because of a knee reconstruction.
Demons captain Daisy Pearce was best on ground with a game-high 28 disposals