After 57 years of heartbreak and misery, the Melbourne Football Club are premiers, following a heavyweight match that ended with a 74-point thrashing over the Western Bulldogs under lights at Optus Stadium.
The Perth prize was captured in the most dramatic of circumstances, with the Demons trailing by 19 points midway through the third quarter before booting six goals in 15 minutes to turn their deficit into a 24-point lead at the final change.
TLA’s stable of Dees included Angus Brayshaw, Ben Brown, Bayley Fritsch, Luke Jackson, Trent Rivers, Charlie Spargo, Tom Sparrow, Jack Viney, medi-sub James Jordon, coach Simon Goodwin and assistant coach Adem Yze.
Fritsch was unstoppable up forward, booting six goals (the most in a Grand Final since Jarman’s six in 1997), Ben Brown was a presence himself kicking three, while Brayshaw, Jackson, Sparrow and Spargo all joined the party with one goal each.
For the Dogs, Marcus Bontempelli shone for the losing side, collecting 25 disposals and slotting three goals himself.
Goodwin, who was recently crowned 2021 AFL Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year orchestrated the Dees’ stunning revival in his fifth season as coach.
Jackson holds the distinction as just the second player in the past three decades (Joel Selwood, 2007) to win a premiership medallion while claiming the NAB AFL Rising Star award in the same season
TLA’s Garry Lyon presented Goodwin the Premiership Cup in emotional scenes after the match. Recently retired demon warrior Nathan Jones was called up on facetime, while other Melbourne players including Majak Daw, Joel Smith, Mitch Brown, Marty Hore and Jayden Hunt were seen in the proceeding celebrations.
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