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DEEVENGE IS SWEET by George on the Outer

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After suffering the humiliation of two defeats by barely a kick at the hands of Geelong during the regular season, the Demons were out for revenge in the Elimination Final.

Facing a finals hardened Geelong, the coach and the players had set out on a mantra of “Our Game style” of an uncompromising hard at ball and player attitude.  

The Cats were hoping for some sort of saver in the vein of those earlier games with Taylor and Guthrie barely able to get up more than a hobble even before the game started and a list of players beyond their past glories filling spots all over the ground, this wasn’t a team to be feared.

Incredibly, even the Geelong cheer squad could barely muster 100 or so members; stacked with day release from local nursing homes in the Corio region. They were surrounded by whole bays of Demon fans who drowned them out as the teams ran onto the ground and continued their raucous support for the remainder of the match. 

With 91,767 in attendance (an amount that exceeded the Richmond-Hawthorn crowd of the day before) and the MCC members stacked to the rafters with Melbourne supporters, it was clear that a giant has truly awoken. 

The opening term set the tone for the match and, in reality the score after the first siren of 5.3 to a meagre 2 points should have seen the result put beyond doubt. In fact, the final margin of 29 was only just below that quarter time lead.  

The tone of the game was set by the Melbourne players. Jack Viney, Clayton Oliver, Angus Brayshaw and James Harmes did untold damage mentally and physically to the Geelong mids who were simply shell-shocked by the intensity, and ferociousness of the tackling.  

They were not used to this style and they constantly and bitterly complained to the umpires and staged for free kicks that they might have gotten at Kardinia Park but not here. They were simply caught out on the night as they harassed, brushed aside, pressured and tackled ferociously by the up and coming tough brigade.  Even when they thought they had escaped their opponent’s clutches, wave after wave of Demon players attacked them again and again until they gave up possession.  

For Melbourne, all this effort was rewarded in front of goal as Tom McDonald, Sam Weideman and Jake Melksham posted majors from strong efforts. Weideman in particular had a break-out game, and choosing to do it in a final was just what the Doctor ordered in the absence of Jesse Hogan. His confidence is and has been rising in the past couple of games and, with solid marks and second efforts now his stock in trade, he came of age on the big stage.  

Despite the margin at the first change, the subsequent two quarters turned into a slog-fest that wasn’t helped by Melbourne's inaccuracy in front of goal with 1.10 recorded in that period. Dom Tyson, Nathan Jones and Alex Neal-Bullen all fluffed easy shots that would have put the game beyond doubt while others contributed to the malaise without scoring a major. The pressure on the fans was rising, because we had seen this happen before against Geelong.  

The hearts were in the mouth as Menengola kicked into the post from ten metres out, then with Hawkins lining up for goal to bring the margin back to almost two kicks, the fourth umpire intervened following a Selwood infraction with Melksham at the interchange gate.  It was ironic that Selwood's histrionics finally came back to bite him, and probably cost his team any momentum that they had built. The ultimate “head high” tackle delivered against his own team, if you like.

With a 23 point lead going into the final term (the same margin as it was at the same time at their last meeting), there was still time and the opportunity to see a Geelong revival. Not for Jack Viney though, as he absolutely nailed Selwood in a tackle at the start to make certain who was master. His kick into the forward line was sharked by Christian Petracca who dished it off to Jones, to open the margin to nearly 5 goals.  

Still Geelong wouldn’t go away with a Tuohy goal, but then big Max nailed Duncan in the middle of the ground, and pushed them back again. The Football Gods surely were favouring the Demons when Geelong had opened the Demons up and the ball headed goalward. Oscar McDonald vainly struggled back to spoil a certain Bews mark in the forward pocket. The ball landed square in the back of Oscar’s head and the Demons rebounded the ball away.  
 
Finally, with ten minutes to go a quick Melksham kick forward was read better in the air by Mitch Hannan who raced goalwardwith three bounces to seal the game. A final flourish and another strong Weideman mark put the icing on the cake and the Demons had won their first finals match in twelve years.  

The crowd went beserk and sang the Team Song again and again.  For they knew after this long time that revenge is sweet - best served cold, slowly and methodically by the steam-roller Demons: not unlike Ken’s revenge ...

Melbourne 5.3.33 5.9.39 6.13.49 10.15.75  

Geelong 0.2.2 2.4.16 3.8.26 6.10.46  

Goals  

Melbourne Weideman 3 Gawn Hannan Harmes Jones T McDonald Melksham Neal-Bullen 

Geelong Hawkins 2 Duncan Kelly Murdoch Tuohy  

Best  

Melbourne Weideman Harmes Brayshaw T McDonald Gawn Viney Salem 

Geelong Dangerfield Tuohy J Selwood Ablett  

Injuries  

Melbourne Nil 

Geelong Murdoch (concussion) Tuohy (knee) Stewart (ribs).

Reports  

Melbourne Nil 

Geelong Nil  

Umpires Chamberlain, Findlay, Mollison  

Official crowd 91,767 at the MCG  

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