CHRISTIAN Petracca was always destined for stardom, and on Saturday night he joined the game's greats by winning his first Norm Smith Medal with an imperious performance.

And like the best men to ever play the game, he saved his masterpiece for the biggest game of his career.

MATCH REPORT Demons finally exorcise 57 years of pain

The 25-year-old Melbourne superstar was at the heart of everything good in the Demons' 74-point drought-breaking premiership triumph, mixing power, speed and a touch of class to run away with the award.

His 39 disposals were a Grand Final record, equalling Simon Black's mark from 2003.

03:18 Mins
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Petracca writes history in the most powerful performance

Christian Petracca equals the record for most touches ever in an AFL Grand Final to deservedly claim the Norm Smith Medal

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It was also the most disposals in any of Petracca's 127-game career. It was truly a special performance.

"It feels like a dream," Petracca told Channel Seven before being named the winner of the medal.

"What we set out pre-season, off-season, to get this club back to where it should belong - for just every fan that is watching back home, we bloody did it."

HOW THE WEST WAS WON Decade of dysfunction wiped away in 31 seconds

Much like Dustin Martin – the three-time medal winner and the man he's been compared to for so much of his career – Petracca ripped the game away from the Western Bulldogs when it was up for grabs in the third quarter.

With Melbourne trailing by 13 points, he won a centre clearance that led to a Bayley Fritsch goal and then won the next clearance from the centre that ended up in a Ben Brown goal.

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Trac turns up the heat with this dazzling dribbler

Christian Petracca has transformed to a new level after half-time and adds to his impressive game with this ripping goal

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The Demons were back in the match and from there they never looked back.

Petracca's brilliant dribbling goal from the left forward pocket late in the third quarter was the first nail in the Bulldogs' coffin.

10 TALKING POINTS Dee-structive third quarter, was Max robbed?

He finished with nine clearances, a whopping 896m gained, match highs in contested possessions (24), score involvements (15) and inside 50s (11) and two goal assists to go with his disposals.

It wasn't just the numbers that were so gaudy, but how Petracca gathered them, and more importantly when.

It was no surprise he was a unanimous victor, with all five judges giving him three votes, and all five awarding Fritsch two votes.

With opposing superstar Marcus Bontempelli threatening to take the game away with his third goal early in the third quarter, Petracca stepped up when his team needed him most.

HEARSE FOR THE CURSE Dees put Norm Smith's words in the past

"For me it was going back to basics and understanding what makes me a great player and that's winning the ball and winning the contest," he said after the match.

It's a trait he has developed over time after being taken with the second overall pick in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft.

It wasn't always smooth sailing for Petracca though, rupturing his ACL during his first pre-season and not making his debut until round six, 2016.

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The polish of Petracca pulls this stunning opener

Demons superstar Christian Petracca shows off his sheer class to snare the opening goal of the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final

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His progression has been as good as Petracca or any Melbourne fan, coach or teammate could have hoped for, winning Therabody AFL All-Australian honours the past two seasons.

"I've no doubt always had the talent … I just think off the field I've got a great balance of knowing who I am, knowing why I want to play footy, my purpose," he added.

The powerful midfielder kicked the first goal of the game with a bomb from 50m off a step and never looked back.

He had 10 disposals in the first quarter, and even in the second quarter was swimming against the tide to gather 18 by the half.

And when the game was there to be won, Petracca grabbed it and delivered the cup to Melbourne with both hands.

"I didn't want to look back at this week, win or lose, and look back and think I was a nervous wreck. I wanted to enjoy this week."

He will not only enjoy this week, but many, many more.

2021 Norm Smith Medal voting

15 - Christian Petracca (Melb)
10 - Bayley Fritsch (Melb)
3 - Clayton Oliver (Melb)
1 - Christian Salem (Melb)
1 - Caleb Daniel (WB)

Judges' voting
Luke Hodge (Chair) – C Petracca 3, B Fritsch 2, C Oliver 1
Harry Taylor – C Petracca 3, B Fritsch 2, C Salem 1
Tania Armstrong – C Petracca 3, B Fritsch 2, C Oliver 1
Andrew Krakouer – C Petracca 3, B Fritsch 2, C Daniel 1
Callum Twomey – C Petracca 3, B Fritsch 2, C Oliver 1

COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE

MATCH REPORT Demons finally exorcise 57 years of pain
ALL THE STATS Full match coverage
ON TRAC FOR GREATNESS Superstar Demon claims Norm Smith Medal
10 TALKING POINTS Dee-structive third quarter, was Max robbed?
GREATEST SHOW IN PERTH Western Australia basks in Grand Final glory
HOW THE WEST WAS WON Decade of dysfunction wiped away in 31 seconds
PERFECT PETRACCA, FANTASTIC FRITSCH Every Demon rated out of 10
BRILLIANT BONT, WHERE'S WEIGHTMAN? Every Dog rated out of 10