It took 22 rounds of the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership competition, but the long drought is over for the Melbourne Demons, as they pulled off their biggest win of the season to beat the West Coast Eagles 108 – 91, in Optus Stadium, no less, and in so doing, find themselves inside the top eight and qualified for the finals for the first time in 12 years.
Beating West Coast by 17 points represents the best win of the season for the Dees and it could safely be assumed that it will give them some impetus and finish strong when they play host to the GWS Giants in the season finale.
The Demons made it by managing to be consistent during the home-and-away season, keeping their longest losing streak to three games in the middle of the season and boosted by winning five consecutive from Round 6 to Round 11.
Looking back at the Dees’ fixture, it would seem as though they had an assist from the league, but at the outset of the season, it looked as though they had a tough row, with two games against the Adelaide Crows, which based on last year, would have seemed certain losses, but for the struggles Adelaide endured all season.
It was the first win of the season for Melbourne that came against a top-eight team.
Nathan Jones, the last remaining player on the list from when the Dees played finals in 2006, weighed in after the game.
Obviously there’s been heaps of criticism, but I’m that proud of the club under pressure,” Jones said.
The Dees beat St. Kilda in their first final in 2006, only to be sent off by the Fremantle Dockers in the semifinals.
Objectively, it would have to be said that much the same fate awaits them this year, but it should not be overlooked that the 2016 premiers rose to the top from the same seventh rung.
Depending on how Round 23 plays out, the Demons could rise into the top four, but that would require some unusual circumstances.