Christian Petracca has produced a stunning turnaround over the past fortnight.
Christian Petracca has produced a stunning turnaround over the past fortnight.

Demons put an end to ‘heart break’

MELBOURNE have walked away victorious after a 12-year hiatus from finals footy by downing Geelong.

The Melbourne football club found themselves back in the thick of September action and what a night it was.

Despite going in severely below the amount of experience their opponents Geelong had, Melbourne weren't daunted by the enormity of the finals stage.

Their victory will see them advance to the semi-finals where they'll take on Hawthorn next Friday night at the MCG.

For Geelong it's all over in 2018 for them, a season of such hope has come to an end in the first week of finals.

10.40pm

12 years later and the Dees have done it

Melbourne were back in the finals and they didn't shrink from the occasion as they kept their fairytale alive with a 29-point win over Geelong.

A barnstorming opening quarter saw the Demons completely stun the Geelong faithful as they slammed home five goals to two behinds.

From their Geelong wrestled to regain the momentum but despite a few nervous moments, they were never able to get close enough.

Demons fans began belting out the team song as the clock dwindled down into the final moments and they'll now prepare for a showdown with Hawthorn next Friday night.

 

Geelong held the Demons to only one goal through the second and third term, but missed several golden opportunities with none bigger than Joel Selwood's brain fade.

Selwood was making his way off of the ground, as teammate Tom Hawkins was lining up for goal, when he grabbed Jake Melksham around the neck and threw him to the ground.

"That is inexcusable," Wayne Carey said on Channel 7.

"You can't be doing that," Brian Taylor added.

As the final term got underway it was only fitting that it was inspirational skipper Nathan Jones who slammed home a huge goal to extend the margin out to 28-points.

Jones after the game dedicated the win to the Melbourne fans who have lived through so much heartache and turmoil.

"This one is for them really. They have been heart broken for so many years and particularly the last decade," Jones said.

"It's been bloody tough. They have hung in there. I think now I've said it a few times over the last few weeks, but we play a brand of footy that hopefully they are proud of, they can relate to and get right behind us and support us."

Tom McDonald of the Demons reacts after kicking a goal during the First Elimination Final between the Melbourne Demons and the Geelong Cats in Week 1 of the AFL Finals Series at the MCG in Melbourne, Friday, September 7, 2018. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Tom McDonald of the Demons reacts after kicking a goal during the First Elimination Final between the Melbourne Demons and the Geelong Cats in Week 1 of the AFL Finals Series at the MCG in Melbourne, Friday, September 7, 2018. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

For Geelong they'll be left to rue what could have been and several of their key players will walk away knowing they weren't near their best on the night.

Joel Selwood was paid close attention by James Harmes who got under his skin on several occasions.

Fellow star midfielder Patrick Dangerfield finished the game with 25 disposals but recorded a staggering 11 clangers along the way.

The Demons were lead by Angus Brayshaw who continued his stunning form as he racked up 26 touches, just behind workhorse Clayton Oliver who had 29.

Sam Weideman did the damage in front of goal as he ended with three while Neville Jetta was instrumental down back for the Demons as he stopped several attacks.

"We have seen it the last two years. What it means to the supporters," Cameron Ling said postgame.

"This means the world to Melbourne supporters right now. They have got into the finals. They have won a final. But something tells me there's a lot more to come in this September."

Demons star exposed by coaching group

EARLIER 6pm:

Melbourne entered their round 21 contest with an opportunity to leap into the top four on the ladder.

Unfortunately they didn't produce and fell short to the Swans and leave their finals hopes well and truly in the balance.

Their record of never beating a top-eight side hung overhead and with a daunting trip over to Perth to take on West Coast, things looked bleak.

But a stunning revival saw them claim victory in the two final games and lock up fifth spot on the ladder.

Now it has been revealed by former player and commentator Brian Taylor that one star player was pinpointed for an act that went against what the team stood for.

"I was over in West Coast two weeks ago when Melbourne played West Coast and beat them over in Perth, which was an incredible feat," Taylor said on Triple M The Rush Hour's 'midweek Rub'.

"Something happened, prior to that game in the psyche of Melbourne.

Christian Petracca walks off after the loss to Sydney in Round 21.
Christian Petracca walks off after the loss to Sydney in Round 21.

"I'm led to believe there was a video run and it was run on loop of the same player over and over again moments before they went out onto the ground - not giving a handball.

"(It) therefore cemented in their minds that I think what the coaches were trying to say we've got to be selfless, we have to give, no matter who you are and what you are doing. And the amount of gives in that game just was extraordinary.

"And the player involved was even more extraordinary and has been since and it's changed the whole togetherness and camaraderie of that side and somehow they've just come together and playing an incredibly selfless brand of footy."

Taylor was then pressed by Damian Barrett and Billy Brownless on just who the player in the video was when he revealed it was star utility Christian Petracca.

While his individual numbers don't reflect it, Petracca's form in the closing two games showed why he's so valuable to the club's hopes in the finals.



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