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The Wrap Up: Ultimate sliding doors moment sees Dees through to Prelim


Melbourne has advanced to the Preliminary Finals, defeating Hawthorn at the MCG in a back-and-forth game of footy.

The Hawks will rue missed opportunities as they faltered in the big moments, while the Demons took every chance they got.

The Dees will now face West Coast, who they beat in Perth a month ago, with a Grand Final shot on the line.

Here's everything you need to know!

The Moment: Gunston hits the post

Sliding doors moments don’t quite get any bigger than this. Hawthorn were coming hard in the third quarter and after a Jack Gunston goal from 50, they were within 15 points, despite Melbourne controlling the game all night.

Gunston got another chance two minutes later, getting behind the Melbourne defence. He received the ball close to goal, ran in and … hit the post.

Immediately, the Dees took the ball from the kick out and Alex Neal-Bullen kicked a momentum swinging goal.

They led by 20 points when Gunston could’ve narrowed the margin to nine.

From there, Mitch Hannan and Angus Brayshaw took big inside 50 marks and kicked goals to round out the third term and give the Demons a 32-point lead at the break.

For the second week in a row, missing simple shots at goal turned the game against the Hawks.

Melbourne's fourth quarter yips

Despite all of that, Hawthorn kicked the first three goals of the final term and the Dees looked spooked.

Swimming in the deep end with finals veterans like the Hawks, the Dees were under serious pressure as the margin was quickly reduced to two goals.

Melbourne great Garry Lyon could sense the tension.

“Hawthorn can see Melbourne’s tightening up right now. They’ve lost their composure. This quarter’s been an unmitigated disaster for the Demons so far,” Lyon told AFL Nation.

“There’s a nervous feel around this ground right now and I reckon Melbourne’s playing nervous.

“They’ve got numbers behind the footy and they’re kicking to outnumbered situations.”

A Jake Melksham goal on the left from 50 was the steadier the Dees needed, turning the tide back their way.

Tom McDonald, who has taken six contested marks across two weeks, kicked his fourth and that was the sealer.

"This might be a sign that this team has arrived, these last five minutes," Lyon said.

Medical room: Hawthorn's midfield woes

Tom Mitchell suffered a shoulder injury in the first quarter after a heavy collision with Neville Jetta, but played out the game after two trips down into the rooms.

Mitchell looked sore and limited, but still got plenty of the ball and held Hawthorn’s midfield together.

He had to after Jaeger O’Meara was taken out of the team on Thursday night with a knee injury.

Melbourne’s midfield didn’t dominate, but Hawthorn were clearly undermanned in the middle all night.

Full Score

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, Smith, Puopolo, Worpel
Melbourne: T.McDonald 4, Melksham 2, Weideman 2, Brayshaw 2, Spargo 2, Petracca, Neal-Bullen, Gawn, Hannan

Hawthorn: Shiels, Mitchell, Gunston, McEvoy, Smith, Henderson
Melbourne: T.McDonald, Hibberd, Viney, Oliver, Salem, Jetta, Melksham, Gawn

Hawthorn: Mitchell (shoulder)
Melbourne: Nil

Reports: Nil

Official crowd: 90,152 at the MCG.

Hawthorn Carlton

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