Final scores

That’s it from the blog for a massive Easter Saturday

What a great day of footy that was. A come from behind win for the Bombers against the Saints, then an early game of the season contender won by the Demons against Port Adelaide.

The good news is this long weekend has a long way to go yet. I’ll be back on the blog tomorrow as the Western Bulldogs take on West Coast and Richmond face Sydney. Thanks for your company today, I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow.

Match report: Melbourne 15.6 (96) def Port Adelaide 13.11 (89)

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Melbourne have produced a stunning last-gasp surge to sink Port Adelaide by seven points in an AFL thriller.

Ben Brown booted three goals including the go-ahead major in the last quarter of the Demons’ 15.6 (96) to 13.11 (89) triumph at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

Melbourne trailed by four points at three-quarter time, but scored five goals to three in a frantic finale to celebrate ex-captain Jack Viney’s 200th game with a victory.

The Demons (three wins, one loss) dished out the Power’s first loss from three outings in a fluctuating fixture, where the margin was never greater than 18 points.

Melbourne’s largely unheralded duo Alex Neal-Bullen (two goals, 24 disposals) and Trent Rivers (27 possessions) were superb.

And their decorated trio of Max Gawn (50 hitouts, 20 disposals), Christian Petracca (23 touches) and Clayton Oliver (25) were all influential, while Bailey Fritsch and Tom Sparrow kicked two goals each.

Brown’s third major with a tick over seven minutes left put the visitors in front, before Fritsch threaded the sealer from an acute angle some five minutes later.

Port were well served by veteran Travis Boak (24 disposals), Ollie Wines (25), Zak Butters (25) and skipper Connor Rozee (26, one goal), while Darcy Byrne-Jones, Willie Rioli and Jeremy Finlayson scored two majors each.


A big night for big Max

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Max Gawn might have been the difference in the end. Just a lazy 50 hit outs, 20 disposals, six clearances, six marks and one absolutely crucial goal.

Strong performances also for Alex Neal-Bullen and Clayton Oliver, while Port Adelaide we well lead by Zak Butters, Connor Rozee and Ollie Wines as you would expect.

Key Event

FT: Demons win it! Melbourne beat Port by seven points in a classic

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What a truly fantastic game of footy. These are two teams well equipped to take their seasons deep into September, but it’s Melbourne’s night and didn’t they have to dig deep to do it.

There were numerous occasions tonight when it looked like Port Adelaide was ready to pull away, but each time the Demons found something. While the Power missed moments to really grasp the game, the Demons kicked a series of miraculous goals to snatch it straight back off them.

With some key players missing, away from home, with their backs frequently against the wall and after another week of off-field turmoil, this is a hell of a win for Melbourne.

Port Adelaide will be disappointed, but they shouldn’t be disheartened. They can simply point to innacuracy in front of goal (and maybe that Ratugolea goal-line error, if you want to be harsh) as the reason for their loss. Most other boxes were ticked, and I don’t think they’ll drop many more at Adelaide Oval this year.

Let’s hope these two meet again come finals time.

Jeremy Finlayson kicks a late goal

If not for that Fritsch behind a moment ago, that might have set up something exciting. But the Melbourne lead is still seven points with only six seconds on the clock.

This is going to sting Port Adelaide, who will look at the scoreboard and wonder how they’ve let this slip.

The Demons are going to win it in Adelaide!

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Bayley Fritsch goes for another miracle goal and is an inch away from pulling it off. The goal umpire didn’t see it, but it just brushed the post on the way through.

But we’re under a minute to play now, and it’s going to be a win to savour for the Demons.

Bayley Fritsch! Brilliant goal! Is that enough for Melbourne?

Accuracy in front of goal is going to decide this brilliant game. Port Adelaide have been wayward, while Melbourne have been nothing short of sensational in that regard.

Fritsch lined that one up from right on the boundary line, wrong side for a left-footer, and split the middle. Even a point would have been handy there, but a two-goal lead is even better.

Port need two goals in two and a half minutes. Demons are nearly there!

Travis Boak cops a heavy hit from his own teammate

He slipped over with big Ivan Soldo approaching, and took all the force of the big ruckman.

Play has to stop as he is treated, but he can now hobble his way to the bench. I’m not sure it was a head injury, so hopefully he can come back on.

Four minutes to play.

Brown goals! Demons back in front!

A penetrating kick by Petracca found a two-on-one deep inside Melbourne’s 50. Fritsch did the blocking, Brown did the marking and slotted the resulting goal.

Still seven minutes to play in this brilliant, breathless game.

Zak Butters

I don’t know if the stats will show it, but this guy is an absolute freak of nature. What an outstanding footballer. He is going for broke in this last quarter.

Connor Rozee levels the scores! Listen to the crowd!

The umpires have inserted themselves again, but this time there are no complaints from the locals. Jed McEntee was pinged for holding the ball inside the forward 50, but immediately after that whistle Rozee was slung to ground by Trent Rivers.

The umpire called a dangerous tackle (which it was), reversing the holding the ball decision and giving Rozee the chance to level the scores.


Jeremy Finlayson off the ground! Port aren’t done with yet!

Melbourne have taken every half chance they’ve looked at since half-time, so it’s about time that Port Adelaide grab something from nothing.

Rioli nearly took the mark just outside the goalsquare, and Finlayson reacted quickly to get a toe on it and direct it through.

Seven point game. Brilliant footy.

Caleb Windsor! What a goal from the rookie!

Just that little burst of pace from Caleb Windsor took him away from a tackler, but from there he still had so much to do. His kick from 50 on a tight angle looked like it might come up short, but Pickett blocked out two Port players on the line to see it through.

This is inspired stuff from Melbourne! They lead by 14 points and look like good things with 13 minutes to play.

Tom Sparrow snaps a goal! And the Port fans are furious!

It was a real scrap inside Melbourne’s forward 50, and the Power players were asking about a couple of potential holding the ball frees in there. One of them on Ben Brown was a nailed on free kick, but the umpire let them keep playing.

Port’s defence still had ample time to deal with that and weren’t able to, Sparrow snapping Melbourne to an eight-point lead.

Alex Neal-Bullen puts Melbourne in front!

He’s having an absolute blinder for the Demons! He goes straight to Kade Chandler to thank him for his clever tap out the back, which took the ball from congestion right into the hands of Neal-Bullen.

He had time to steady, line up his shot and sneak it just inside the post. First blood Melbourne.

Strap yourself in for a huge final quarter

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Key Event

3QT: Maxy Gawn after the buzzer! Demons storming back! Port by four

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What a finish to the quarter by Melbourne, and by their incredible captain Max Gawn! He has joined the bomb squad with another massive launch, sending one home after the siren from about 55 metres out.

Melbourne kicked three goals in that quarter, with a combined distance of about 170 metres. And they’ve needed to, because Port Adelaide owned much of that term and looked like they were starting to kick away.

But this isn’t that sort of game. This was always destined to go the journey, and we go tho the final change with Port Adelaide leading by four points.

Big Ben Brown Bomb! The Dees are hanging in there

Melbourne have kicked two goals in this quarter, and they’ve both come from unbelievable kicks. First it was Neal-Bullen, this time it was Brown from an absolute mile out, tight to the boundary.

The kick snuck over the top of the pack for a crucial Demons goal just before three quarter time.

Todd Marshall kicks another! Power’s dominance starting to show

Clean as you like out of the guts for Port Adelaide, and Willem Drew’s kick was a bullet onto the chest of the leading Marshall.

It took a kick of all of 50 metres to get it home, but Marshall managed it comfortably. It’s a 15-point game.