It was a rampant Melbourne football club that moved the ball quickly and deliberately in attack and were well organized and efficient in defense that earned a Preliminary Final berth next week in Perth with a 33-point win over Hawthorn where they will face the West Coast Eagles. The Demons were heavy favorites based mainly on momentum, but it was Schoenmakers that drew first blood for the Hawks in the first minute of the game.
It was some old fashioned footy that saw the Dees get their first goal as a huge torpedo punt (following a Hawthorn behind) by Sam Frost went to the middle of the ground and the spoiled ball was cleared forward to Tom McDonald, who kicked the goal from straight in front. The Demons kicked their second when they forced the opposition to the ball over and used the loose man to effect. They moved the ball with speed and eventually ended with Tom McDonald in the goal square where he dribbled the ball home. Jack Viney was prolific early on the ball for the Demons and the Melbourne defense generally stood strong, but a quick turnover and run by Puopolo went via McEvoy to Worpel and he beat the defenders to bang home a goal from 40 meters out.
Petracca pulled the Demons ahead again from the set shot, but shortly after Jetta was penalized for dragging the ball in and the free kick went to Gunston 30 meters out from goal. Gunston kicked the goal from a tight angle and leveled scores just before quarter time at 19 points each. Max Gawn in the ruck was perhaps a bit overshadowed by McEvoy in the first quarter but stepped it up with a big contested mark at center half-forward and went back and calmly kicked the first goal of the second quarter. Weideman doubled up for the Demons after he marked and gave Melbourne a nice buffer.
Hawthorn had opportunities during the quarter with Henderson, Gunston, and Puopolo all missing set shots from good passages of play through the middle of the quarter. It was that last kick inside 50 and lack of intent to score from open play that hurt them. Hawthorn dominated the play for much of the quarter and were ahead in the first part for contested possession but on a turnover the footy ended in the hands of Angus Brayshaw 40 meters out and he added Melbourne's third for the quarter.
Gunston marked with seconds on the clock deep in the pocket and the halftime siren blew. He could not run around to open up the angle and the straight drop punt faded to the left though and registered the Hawks sixth behind for the quarter to leave them 13 points in deficit. Defenders Frost, Hibberd, Jetta, and Oscar McDonald could fairly take a large amount of credit for the Demons lead at the halfway mark.
Weideman was able to lose Mirra as the ball quickly entered the 50 for the Demons and kicked the goal to blow the game open in the third quarter as Richmond did the previous week against the Hawks. Finally Hawthorn were able to kick their first goal since the end of the first quarter when the Melbourne defenders made a rare mistake spoiling each other and allowing Puopolo to get the ball out the back and run in and dribble kick the ball across the line. Melbourne's quick ball movement once again paid off with a quick kick to the back of the goal square where Tom MacDonald marked cleverly just 5 meters out from goal and kicked his third major for the night. In the most positive move for some time up forward, Impey cleaned up the spilled ball at half-forward and hit Schoenmakers on the lead 30 meters out. He rewarded the pass with a goal for the Hawks to keep them in the match.
Spargo was taken high by Howe in the pocket and his drop punt from 40 meters out given the nod from the goal review despite Roughead's spoiling effort behind the goal line and once again put the Demons further out front. Ricky Henderson repeated Impeys' earlier effort and Gunston marked on the lead and his long kick from outside the 50 meter arc brought 6 points to the Hawthorn tally. Perhaps the defining period of the night followed, when Jack Gunston running into an open goal, hit the post. Melbourne going to their forward line on the rebound, capitalized on a bad handball from Shiels to Sicily with Neal-Bullen kicking the goal to set the Demons on a path to victory.
Melbourne pushed hard and doubled up when Hannan took the pack mark easily losing Duryea at the front and kicked the goal. Oliver, Petracca, and Viney were leading the way, and it was Viney's next effort to evade defenders and pop the ball up for Brayshaw that saw the Demons push out to a 32-point lead at three quarter time. Melbourne fans, in anticipation of victory, and delirious with joy then stood and applauded as one as their team headed to the huddle.
Isaac Smith ran through the middle and kicked a long goal to get the Hawks on the board early in the last quarter but the crowds lukewarm response reflected the belief that they were no chance to win. A long kick by Burgoyne playing around an injured Brayshaw on the mark, hit Gunston 15 meters out and the margin was back to 20 points after he kicked the goal. The Hawks kept coming and Jordan Lewis was penalized for contact below the knees (on Gunston) but his kick missed. Morrison also missed a set shot. The door seemed to have been left ajar for Hawthorn; if they could kick straight and when skipper Jarryd Roughead brought the Hawks to within 2 goals from a free kick, anything looked possible. The 90,152 crowd in attendance were back on the edge of their seats.
Melksham was the hero that Melbourne needed and he gave the Demons a much-needed steadier when he snapped on the run from outside 50 for a Melbourne goal. He backed that effort up, taking a good contested mark from a Hawthorn kick-in, and then hit Tom MacDonald on a lead and the margin was back out to 25 points. Shortly after Melksham again took a great contested mark in the pocket. He put the result beyond doubt with an around the body set shot goal.
Hawthorn captain Roughead added one last late goal for the Hawks season, stealing the ball in the goal square but it was too late. At the other end it was Spargo putting the icing on the Demons cake, with a roved goal that spilled over the pack to the top of the goal square. Melbourne fans roared with delight as the siren sounded and they now dream of seeing their team back here at the MCG in two weeks time for the Grand Final.
HAWTHORN 3.1 3.7 6.9 10.11 (71) MELBOURNE 3.1 6.2 12.5 16.8 (104) GOALS Hawthorn: Gunston 3, Schoenmakers 2, Roughead 2, Worpel, Puopolo, Smith Melbourne: T. McDonald 4, Weideman 2, Brayshaw 2, Melksham 2, Spargo 2, Petracca, Gawn, Neal-Bullen, Hannan BEST Hawthorn: Gunston, Mirra, Howe, Shiels, Mitchell, Henderson Melbourne: Viney, T.McDonald, Petracca, Jetta, Hibberd, Oliver INJURIES Hawthorn: Mitchell (AC joint), Puopolo (hamstring) Melbourne: Nil Reports: Nil Umpires: Rosebury, Stevic, Nicholls Official crowd: 90,152 at the MCG
Article last changed on Saturday, September 15, 2018 - 1:23 AM EDT