For the first time in the last 18 years in the wilderness, the Melbourne Demons have secured a place in a preliminary final. A young Melbourne outfit showed composure while withstanding a last-quarter burst by Hawthorn, to win convincingly by 33-points in the first semi-final at the MCG on Friday night.
In a crowd of just over 90,000, the strong contingent of Melbourne supporters were overjoyed with the performance of their team. The Demons played their now characteristic tough style of football, never giving the Hawks an inch.
Electric play from the Demons!
— AFL (@AFL) September 14, 2018
Going into the game the most optimistic Melbourne fan may still have been worried about their chances of a win, especially considering their opponent. In recent history, Hawthorn have dominated against the Demons, winning 15 of the last 16 meetings. Melbourne’s last win against the Hawks was in round 20, in season 2016.
Melbourne defender-turned-forward, Tom McDonald, was sensational and apparently not overwhelmed by the occasion, kicking a game-high four goals. In his second game back from a long-term foot injury, Demons co-captain Jack Viney (27 possessions, seven clearances and seven inside 50s) helped lead the way and inspire his team.
— AFL (@AFL) September 14, 2018
At three-quarter time, after kicking the final three goals of the third term, Melbourne had secured a 32-point lead and looked confident. Throughout the match Hawthorn wasted opportunities, especially in the last quarter, when attempts to bridge the gap were repeatedly quelled by a superior team.
While the Hawthorn season is over, the Demons will travel to Perth to play West Coast in a preliminary final next Saturday at Optus Stadium.
HAWTHORN 3.1 3.7 6.9 10.11 (71)
MELBOURNE 3.1 6.2 12.5 16.8 (104)
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
Hawthorn: Gunston, Mirra, Howe, Shiels, Mitchell, Henderson
Melbourne: Viney, T.McDonald, Petracca, Jetta, Hibberd, Oliver
Official crowd: 90,152
In the second semi final, Collingwood defeated opponent Greater Western Sydney on Saturday night at the MCG in front of 72,504 people, predominantly Magpie fans. Although looking in control for most of the match, and appearing to handle the slippery conditions better than GWS, the Pies were still wasteful in front of goal and ended up having to fight harder than they thought for their 10-point victory.
Collingwood superstar Jordan De Goey proved highly influential for the whole match, kicking three goals and a couple of goal assists at crucial moments of the game.
— AFL (@AFL) September 15, 2018
GWS were competitive the entire night, but just didn’t spark. They didn’t adapt to the slippery playing conditions well, losing their footing repeatedly, and didn’t bring that same dogged pressure they showed against Sydney the week before. Giants’ big-game players Toby Greene and Jeremy Cameron were disappointing, unable to get going for the entire match.
As GWS coach, Leon Cameron, goes back to the drawing board to work-out what went wrong and plan for next season. Collingwood supporters can look forward to a blockbuster preliminary final against reigning premier Richmond at the MCG next Friday night, as it hunts a first Grand Final berth in seven years.
COLLINGWOOD 3.6 4.9 6.12 9.15 (69)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 0.2 4.2 7.3 9.5 (59)
Collingwood: De Goey 3, Thomas 2, Hoskin-Elliott 2, Mihocek, Varcoe
Greater Western Sydney: Coniglio 2, Griffen, Himmelberg, Lobb, Cameron, Langdon, De Boer
Collingwood: De Goey, Sidebottom, Howe, Treloar, Maynard, Adams, Langdon, Phillips
Greater Western Sydney: Whitfield, Coniglio, Lobb, Shiel, Williams, Davis
Official crowd: 72,504