'Devastated' Demons bow out of AFL finals

·2-min read

Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin admits the Demons' "devastating" straight-sets AFL finals exit has left him feeling "empty".

After spending their entire premiership defence inside the top-four, Melbourne's season ended in an extraordinary fashion at the MCG on Friday night.

The Demons had smashed Brisbane during their past four encounters - the most recent win by 58 points at the Gabba just three weeks ago - but they fell to the Lions when it mattered.

Brisbane booted 11 second-half goals to five to run over the top of the Demons 14.8 (92) to 11.13 (79), knocking them out of the finals after they finished second on the ladder.

Goodwin said he was heartbroken for Demons supporters who were not able to travel to Perth to watch last year's drought-breaking grand final win over the Western Bulldogs.

Melbourne promised to go back-to-back in front of their fans in Victoria, with finals football returning to the MCG for the first time since 2019.

"Disappointing, devastating, the result, I can only imagine our supporters and how they would feel," Goodwin said.

"Our players and staff are all feeling the same.

"We did something pretty special last year and we wanted to make sure we came back to the MCG and let them feel what we felt and we weren't able to do that.

"You feel pretty empty at the moment, but we'll lick our wounds and come back better as a footy club."

Goodwin disputed the theory Melbourne had become comfortable after winning 17-straight games from the end of last year into the first-half of this season.

Melbourne went 6-8 after winning the opening 10 games of the season.

"There was no comfort in our group, we had enough lessons throughout the year and were exposed to some of the things we needed to get better at," Goodwin said.

"In finals, your vulnerabilities find you in big games when it matters."

Melbourne carried a number of sore players into the game, most notably Norm Smith medallist Christian Petracca (leg) and captain Max Gawn (groin), but Goodwin refused to use injuries as an excuse for the shock loss.

Despite dealing with a hairline fracture in his leg and a corked calf, Petracca collected 27 possessions to finish as one of Melbourne's best.

"I don't think Christian Petracca looked sore tonight, I think he actually played to a pretty high level," Goodwin said.

"Our fade-outs have been a trend. It wasn't because the injured players were out there."

Attention will now turn to Melbourne's trade period, with speculation young star tall Luke Jackson will request a move to Fremantle.