Christian Petracca and Luke Jackson celebrate a goal in the 2021 Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

1. Premiers stand up in premiership quarter

At the 12-minute mark of the third term, the Western Bulldogs led by 19 points and had the game in their grasp. Then the best third-quarter team in the game clicked into gear. Melbourne kicked a phenomenal seven goals inside 16 minutes, including three in the final 50 seconds of playing time. Four of the seven goals came direct from centre bounces as Max Gawn, Christian Petracca, Jack Viney, Luke Jackson and Clayton Oliver asserted themselves on the game, while Angus Brayshaw had his say around the ground. It saw Melbourne finish with a 20-5 record in third quarters for the season. 


DEMONS v BULLDOGS Full match coverage and stats

2. Petracca enters the record books

Christian Petracca became the equal leading-disposal winner in a Grand Final after racking up 39 touches against the Bulldogs. The Melbourne midfield bull collected 18 disposals in a blistering first half but stepped up after half-time, adding a further 21 to take his tally to 39 for the match. It was a performance that equalled Simon Black's haul in Brisbane's 2003 flag win. Petracca added two goals of his own to join Luke Hodge (2014) as the only player with 35 disposals or more and two majors in a decider. Western Bulldogs defender Caleb Daniel threatened the record with 26 disposals in the first half but slowed up to finish with 37. 

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3. Scoreboard worth the 57-year wait

Melbourne's 13th VFL/AFL premiership, and first since 1964, produced its biggest winning margin and second-highest score in a decider. The Demons' 16 goals after half-time saw them finish with 21 in total and a score of 140 points. It was the biggest score in a Grand Final since Geelong's 2007 triumph. Mature-age draftee Bayley Fritsch finished six goals, while Ben Brown, a player not wanted by last year's wooden spooners North Melbourne, booted three of his own. It answered any questions left on Melbourne's scoring and plenty more. 

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The Demons celebrate winning the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

4. Fritta's bag of the century

For the first time since Adelaide's Darren Jarman in 1997, a forward kicked six goals in a Grand Final. Wearing Ron Barassi's famous, No.31, Melbourne forward Bayley Fritsch bagged six majors – kicking two goals in each of the first, third and fourth quarters. It capped an incredible rise to prominence for the mid-sized forward who was drafted as a 20-year-old after three seasons in the VFL and was dropped from Melbourne's side after being late to training in August last year. 



5. Bont's second-quarter blitz

Marcus Bontempelli and his Western Bulldogs midfield were completely upstaged by Melbourne in the opening term. But not in the second. The Dogs skipper lifted after a first term where he repeatedly fumbled with nine second-quarter disposals to go with two goals to put his side in front at the main break. His second major came after a brilliant mark where he floated in front of a pack to read the ball in flight better than a host of opponents. Combined with Adam Treloar who was moved into the midfield, Bontempelli was the difference in the second term.  



6. Was Max robbed a goal?

Kicking to the same end he booted four goals in a quarter in Melbourne's preliminary final win, skipper Max Gawn thought he had added another in the second term. However, the goal umpire had other ideas. Gawn's 45m set shot from the right forward pocket sailed well over the goalposts but was called a behind without a score review, much to the ruckman's disgust. It loomed as a crucial time in the game, a Gawn goal would've put the Demons 15 points clear. Instead, Marcus Bontempelli converted at the other end to put the Dogs within four. Ultimately, it mattered little. 


7. Another highlight for JJ's Grand Final show reel 

Jason Johannisen's long-range goal in the 2016 Grand Final will forever be etched in Western Bulldogs' fans memories. Johannisen did his best to give them another moment to remember. The Dogs entered the main break with all the momentum and Johannisen's hanger early in the third term only added to it. The 2016 Norm Smith medallist climbed onto the shoulders of Demons defender Jake Bowey and climbed high with a spectacular mark. However, what followed will have Dogs fans trying to forget the game as quickly as possible.  


8. How much did the different preparations matter? 

Plenty was made of the fact Melbourne had played one game in the 28 days prior to Saturday night. With the introduction of the pre-Grand Final bye, experts were asking, would the Demons come out sluggish? Instead, it was the Dogs who started the slower of the two sides, losing just their fifth first quarter of the season. The Demons booted four goals to one in the opening term and looked the slicker of the two sides in possession early on.

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9. How bad was May's hamstring?

Defender Steven May was quick to shrug off any concerns around his hamstring setback in the aftermath of Melbourne's preliminary final shellacking over Geelong. But it appeared to be much worse than he, and the club, let on. May looked far from full fitness in the first quarter as he produced several uncharacteristic fumbles. And the Therabody AFL All-Australian admitted to Channel Seven post-game he felt nervous going for a groundball in the second term. However, he got through unscathed, playing 97 per cent of game time in the Demons' emphatic win.


Steven May throws himself into the contest during the 2021 Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

10. Williams' first quarter nightmare

Western Bulldogs defender Bailey Williams had two moments he'd rather forget in the opening term that resulted directly in Melbourne goals. He kicked a ball straight down a Demons' opponents' throat early in the game that led to Charlie Spargo's first goal, while he dropped a regulation mark minutes later that gifted Bayley Fritsch his second major of the match. Williams was able to bounce back and provided some crucial defensive efforts in the second quarter as the Dogs hit the front.

Bailey Williams and Bailey Smith console each other after the 2021 Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos