1. It's Maxy's world and we're just living in it
A small smile danced across Max Gawn's face at the national anthem, but it gave no indication of what the talismanic Melbourne skipper was about to unleash. He kicked off proceedings lumbering away from Lachie Henderson and Sam Menegola to snap a goal on the run, before an extraordinary third term. Gawn put on a show for the ages, booting four goals in the premiership quarter to boot his side into a Grand Final. He finished with a bag of five, 19 disposals, 33 hitouts and five clearances in a stunning performance.
DEMONS v CATS Full match coverage and stats
2. An absolutely Dee-lightful affair
Melbourne buried any lingering hangover from the 2018 preliminary final debacle in the opening 15 minutes of the game, kicking three goals to set the tone early. An irresistible eight-goal third term – driven by an outstanding engine room of Christian Petracca, Clayton Oliver and Jack Viney – had slightly overwhelmed Demons fans celebrating around the country. Melbourne has now qualified for its first Grand Final since 2000 (before Jake Bowey, Luke Jackson, Trent Rivers, Kozzie Pickett and James Jordon were born) and now have the chance to break a 57-year premiership drought.
THE FINAL PIECE OF THE PUZZLE Ben comes up BIG when it counts
3. Chaos defeats control
In an outcome that would have disappointed Maxwell Smart, the forces of chaos defeated that of control. Geelong like to control the play by kicks and aerial superiority, switching play by foot and cutting open defences for Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron to run into. Instead, Melbourne's irresistible pressure and ground-ball dominance made it near-impossible for the Cats to play their preferred style. The Dees outmuscled the Cats, winning both the contested possessions and marks by 32 and held the Cats to just one second-half goal.
4. Are the Cats finally too old, too slow?
It's been an incredible period of sustained success from Geelong, playing its 11th preliminary final since its breakthrough flag year of 2007. Pundits have often claimed the Cats were on the edge of a cliff, but they've made rebuilding on the run an art form. Friday marked the first time a V/AFL team had named 11 players over 30, and Patrick Dangerfield aside, that cohort had little impact. The Cats missed the run of young injured duo Brandan Parfitt and Mark O'Connor, while Quinton Narkle wasn't picked. It could be a very interesting off-season at Kardinia Park.
5. A very important hamstring
Integral Dees fullback Steven May pulled up sore after being pushed under the flight of the ball by Tom Hawkins halfway through the first quarter, clutching his right hamstring. He returned in the second, but was clearly hindered, at one point missing a kick by 10 metres under no pressure. When the game was well and truly won in the third quarter, May was subbed out. Given his lockdown work allows Jake Lever to intercept so effectively, all eyes will be on the Dee over the next two weeks of training.