Grand Final – Melbourne v Bulldogs: Demons reach withering heights

 

In a withering back half of the third quarter and all of the final term, the Melbourne Demons erased 57 years of pain to claim the AFL premiership in the most exhilarating of circumstances at Perth’s Optus Stadium.

 

The Dees destroyed the Western Bulldogs by 74 points – 21.14 (140) to 10.6 (66) – with Bailey Fritsch booting six goals and midfielder Christian Petracca claiming the Norm Smith Medal for best afield.

 

Petracca gathered 40 possessions and two goals in a classic head-to-head duel against Bulldog dynamo Marcus Bontempelli (three goals).

 

The battle between the two ‘Italian Stallions’ was anticipated to go the distance after ‘The Bont’ threatened to take the game away from Melbourne with two third-quarter goals after strong overhead marks.

 

Western Bulldogs led by 19 points before Caleb Daniel applied a strong and dangerous tackle on Demon ruckman Max Gawn.

 

Daniel then uncharacteristically turned the ball over and unbeknown to all, the Dees’ subsequent goal started an avalanche of goals.

 

The first of those was from lion-hearted Angus Brawshaw, who took a hit to the ribs earlier in the game, to take a diving mark.

 

Brayshaw’s major gave Melbourne the lead and the Dees never looked back.

 

Nine goals in the final term as delirious Demon supporters wiped away tears of joy in a historic Saturday night in the West.

 

Another Christian, in the form of Salem, so magnificent all evening joined in the Melbourne party with a rare goal and running machine Ed Langdon pierced another moments later.

 

The move of the athletic Rising Star Luke Jackson into the ruck started the midfield domination for the Demon machine.

 

The much improved Alex Neal-Bullen and Tom Sparrow slotted goals while the Melbourne defence was again superb as talismen Steven May and Jake Lever enjoyed the show.

 

Earlier ex-Magpie Adam Treloar tried to inspire the Dogs with three goals as well, but the Western Bulldogs’ trip from Tasmania, to Queensland, then to South Australia and finally Perth, took its toll.

 

That’s to take nothing away from Melbourne’s exorcision of a 57-year premiership drought.

 

MELBOURNE                   4.5     5.9     12.11     21.14 (140)
WESTERN BULLDOGS     1.2     7.5     9.5     10.6 (66)

 

GOALS
Melbourne: Fritsch 6, Brown 3, Petracca 2, Neal-Bullen 2, McDonald 2, Spargo, Brayshaw, Sparrow, Oliver, Langdon, Jackson
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli 3, Treloar 3, R Smith, Naughton, Hunter, Johannisen

 

BEST
Melbourne: Petracca, Fritsch, Oliver, Brayshaw, Salem, Gawn, Jackson
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Daniel, B.Smith, Treloar, Macrae, Liberatore, Dale

 

INJURIES
Melbourne: Nil
Western Bulldogs: Nil

 

SUBSTITUTES
Melbourne: Jordon (unused)
Western Bulldogs: Vandermeer (unused) 

 

Crowd: 61,118 at Optus Stadium

 

NORM SMITH MEDAL VOTING
15 – Christian Petracca, Melbourne – 33333
10 – Bayley Fritsch – 22222
3 – Clayton Oliver – 111
1 – Christian Salem – 1
1 – Caleb Daniel – 1

 

Luke Hodge (Chair) – C Petracca, B Fritsch, C Oliver.
Harry Taylor – C Petracca, B Fritsch, C Salem.
Tania Armstrong – C Petracca, B Fritsch, C Oliver.
Andrew Krakouer – C Petracca, B Fritsch, C Daniel.
Callum Twomey – C Petracca, B Fritsch, C Oliver.

 

The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE

 

 

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About Nicholas Kossatch

Tall and intelligent and athletically built who calls a spade a spade. Love sports writing and sending letters and texts to the editor about AFL and the Port Adelaide Power - win, lose or draw. I do not sit on the fence. Soon to be 40! I play basketball and over 35's supers football. Have played amateur footy and a bit of cricket and basketball when living in Adelaide. Do some writing for the Murray Pioneer,

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