Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
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# emphatic
Melbourne end Premiership drought with fairytale grand final win
Melbourne beat Western Bulldogs 21.14 (140) to 10.6 (66) in Saturday’s grand final.

57 YEARS OF pain came to a stunning end for Melbourne in Perth as they won the Grand Final with a dominant 21.14 (140) to 10.6 (66) victory over Western Bulldogs. 

Due to state lockdown, the MCG was lit up in red and blue but empty. For the second year in a row, the final was forced out of Victoria, instead taking place at Optus Stadium in Western Australia. 

The Demons started brightly in front of 61,118 fans, storming into a 21-point first-quarter lead. Their relentless pressure in defence and composure in attack were evident as two Bayley Fritsch goals helped them gain early supremacy. 

After the first break, the Dogs found life and roared into the decider. Big game players like Adam Treloar, Marcus Bontempelli and Aaron Naughton all came into the tie and turned it. At half-time, Luke Beveridge’s outfit led by eight. 

2016 Norm Smith winner Jason Johannisen kicked off the second half with a bang as he claimed a screamer in the square and continued to pressurize Melbourne. 

A well-taken Fritsch goal instigated an awesome response from the favourites. Clayton Oliver continued to battle diligently in midfield and swing the tide once more. Then Ben Brown and Angus Brayshaw kicked the Dees back into a lead. This was the best stretch of the match. Toe to toe, blow for blow. 

A final for the ages. Huge swings, enormous performances from the stars. 

That spark saw Melbourne lift off. The magnificent Christian Petracca and Oliver overpowered Western Bulldogs at centre stoppages and made it count on the scoreboard. Goal by goal, they wrestled the Premiership away from Footscray with 15 in a row.

They did not merely come back to compete, they came back and dominated. A 93-point turnaround. Fritsch finished with six. Petracca made history with 40 disposals.  

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The dying minutes were a celebration. Exultation. Melbourne rejoiced at a dream delivered. Cruel irony comes with the fact the city can not currently celebrate it, but they were unified in spirit. 

“My heart goes out to everyone in the eastern states,” said captain Max Gawn post-match.  

“We did it for you. Dean Bailey, Jim Stynes, Troy Broadbridge, the list goes on, what Neale Daniher is going through at the moment, these guys are the real heroes.”

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