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Melbourne beats Hawthorn by 33 points at the MCG to set up a preliminary final against West Coast


Melbourne's Tom McDonald (L) reacts after kicking a goal against Hawthorn at the MCG. Photo: Tom McDonald (L) kicked four goals for Melbourne as the Demons ended Hawthorn’s season at the MCG. (AAP: Julian Smith)

Melbourne is back in the preliminary final for the first time since 2000, as the Demons put paid to Hawthorn’s flag hopes with a 33-point win at the MCG.

The 16.8 (104) to 10.11 (71) victory sends the Demons to Perth to face West Coast next Saturday afternoon, a month after the Dees had a crucial round-22 win over the Eagles at the same venue.

Just as the Western Bulldogs roared from an elimination final to win their drought-breaking premiership two years ago, the Demons are now on a roll.

Melbourne fans were celebrating at three-quarter time when their team led by 32 points, but the Hawks were not done.

External Link: Hawthorn v Melbourne summary

Hawthorn kicked three goals in 11 minutes at the start of the last quarter to put serious heat on Melbourne.

The big question mark over the Demons going into their first finals series for 12 years was whether they could stand up under pressure.

They answered emphatically, kicking four of the last five goals.

Demons key forward Tom McDonald starred with four goals and Jake Melksham had an outstanding last quarter, kicking two goals.

It is the second time in three years the Hawks have gone out of the finals in straight sets, but they are far better placed than two years ago.

After missing the finals last year, the Hawks have regenerated quickly to make the top four.

Defender Neville Jetta was outstanding for the Demons and co-captain Jack Viney was strong again in the midfield.

External Link: Hawthorn v Melbourne stats

The Hawks, missing key players Jaeger O’Meara and Ben Stratton through injury, were left to rue some crucial missed shots on goal through the second and third quarters.

Hawthorn sharp shooter Jack Gunston kicked three goals, but he hit the post in the third quarter with a kick he normally would nail.

Melbourne shot up the other end and kicked the first of three goals at the end of the third quarter that blew out the margin.

Had Gunston goaled, Hawthorn only would have trailed by nine points.

Scores were level at the first break and the Hawks looked more dominant in the second term.

But as they did early in last week’s qualifying final loss to Richmond, they missed crucial shots on goal.

Hawthorn kicked 0.6 in the second quarter and Melbourne kicked three goals to take a 13-point lead at the main break.

Hawks onballer Tom Mitchell had a game-high 34 disposals and 10 tackles, while Gunston finished with 3.5.

AAP



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