Melbourne rediscovered its mojo in a 64-point pounding in Brisbane that has restored the dominant premieres to this year’s AFL favorite.
The Demons triumphed 16.21 (117) to 7.11 (53) at MCG on Thursday night, closing a three-game losing streak and displacing the Lions to the top of the ladder in the process.
Steven May had mixed results when he returned from the club’s punishment, when he mitigated Brisbane’s spearhead head Joe Danicher, but he made some costly mistakes, especially with the ball in his hand.
Almost everything else followed in the footsteps of the demons, as they set the stage for victory with a disastrous 6 goals for a second year, having been back in the quarter for just the second time this season.
Melbourne won the disputed possession by a crush (170-133) – a repeat of last year ‘s final qualifier against the Lions – and outscored its rivals (35-21).
Clayton Oliver (35 dismissals, 12 dismissals), Christian Petraka (31, eight) and Jack Wayne (34, eight) gave the Demons control of the midfield, where young raccoon Luke Jackson took the place of the injured skipper Max Gaun.
James Harms put a brace on Lazy Neil, limiting Brisbane’s ball magnet to eight rebounds in the middle of two minutes, and Jake Lever starred in defense with 15 cuts.
Bailey Fritz scored three goals and four Demons – Toby Bedford, James Jordon, Kissaya Pickett and Harmes – scored two each.
The Lions did not have clear individual winners in their heaviest defeat of the season after three previous defeats with 29 points in total.
Hugh McClagidge, Daniel Ritz, Harris Andrews and racist Oscar McInerney fought against the tide, while Mitch Robinson and Eric Hipwood each scored two goals each.
Andrews (shoulder) and Rich (shin) needed treatment for injuries, but played the match, while Jarryd Lyons (side) was eventually replaced after they were crushed in a second-half marking match with Fritsch.
The result extended the Lions’ barren streak to MCG, where they last won in 2014 and have now lost 10 consecutive games.
May returned for his first appearance since Round 11, when he suffered a concussion and appeared to be shaking early, but entered the game.
He put pressure on Angus Brayshaw’s teammate with one hand that led to Brisbane’s first goal and abandoned another when he violated Daniher in a marking match.
He was the only big Daniher (1,3) to hit out of his nine moods.
May’s turnover in the second period led to a Robinson goal, which ended a five-game winning streak for Melbourne.
It was just a light blow for the hosts, who were firmly in control at half time.
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