Melbourne players, coaching staff and long-suffering fans are breathing a collective sigh of relief after the Demons snapped a 12 year AFL finals drought on Sunday.
The Dees booted the last three goals of the match to secure a 17-point win over West Coast in Perth, securing their spot in the finals and putting “12 years of misery” behind them.
Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin says the club has taken a significant step forward after banishing their Demons with a crucial win in the West.
The Eagles lost forward Jack Darling to concussion after just 10 minutes and his absence proved crucial as the Demons ran out 16.12 (108) to 14.7 (91) winners on a warm Perth day.
Seventh-placed Melbourne will secure a home final if they can beat GWS at the MCG next Sunday, and they could even snare a top-four spot if Collingwood suffer a shock loss to Fremantle.
“Obviously not playing finals for 12 years as a club, we carry a lot of those expectations as a team,” Goodwin said.
“It’s a big step for our football club; a really important one and one (the players) should be proud of.
“I am so happy for our supporters right now.
“They have had 12 years of misery, but now they have a team they can really get in behind and support and build some momentum from here.”
Fans couldn’t contain their excitement on social media after the final whistle.
Hell yeah boys!!!
— Melz (@MelPantano) August 19, 2018
Great Win Boys Finals Bound is massive 😈👍
— Rohan Engdahl (@RojofitnessPT) August 19, 2018
Well done Dees – A good footy story ❤💙
— Breeza 🐯🏆🙌 (@BAFLD) August 19, 2018
Hooray! Great news, celebrating the win here in Phuket
— Diane Jean Gregory (@Diseyinoz51) August 19, 2018
West Coast’s sixth loss means they need to beat Brisbane at the Gabba next Sunday to secure a top-two berth. Another defeat would see them drop as low as fourth.
North Melbourne’s finals hopes were brought to an end on Sunday after suffering a 12.14 (86) to 11.11 (77) loss to Adelaide.
Collingwood dealt Port Adelaide’s finals hopes a killer blow with a 51-point win at the MCG.
The Power need to beat Essendon next Friday and rely on eighth-placed Geelong suffering a shock loss to Gold Coast in order to sneak into the finals.
Sydney were widely thought to be slipping out of contention a few weeks ago, but are now a top-four chance.
Lance Franklin lifted them to a 20-point victory over GWS at Spotless Stadium, booting five goals and spearheading a second-half comeback.
His haul also moved him past AFL legend Leigh Matthews to eighth on the all-time goalkickers list.
Hawthorn maintained fourth spot after holding off an outstanding challenge from St Kilda to win by four points, setting up a massive clash next week with Sydney.
The Saints rallied from a week of intense scrutiny to nearly pull off one of the season’s biggest upsets.
Rampant Geelong kicked a record 23 unanswered goals on the way to a 133-point mauling of Fremantle.
Richmond killed off Essendon’s finals hopes and secured the minor premiership with a hard-fought eight-point win.
But not all games had a bearing on the top eight.
Brisbane squeezed past Gold Coast by four points in a fiery Queensland derby on Saturday.
The Western Bulldogs made it three in a row with a 10.6 (66) to 7.7 (49) victory over Carlton in Sunday’s early game.