The five moments that stole the spotlight as Melbourne claimed the premiership

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One of the longest droughts in AFL history is over and it came after arguably three of the greatest quarters in grand final history. 

While Melbourne would run out to a staggering 74-point victory over the Western Bulldogs in Perth, the roller coaster that preceded the one-sided final quarter was something to behold.

From a desperate act of forward pressure to a high-flying Bulldog mark, these were the five moments of the 2021 AFL grand final.

Kysaiah Pickett jumps on the Melbourne pack after the final siren.(


Getty: Paul Kane


1. The Kozzy smother

There was a whole lot of uncle Byron in the 2004 grand final as Kysaiah Pickett’s intense defensive work led to a crucial goal.

Moments earlier, Roarke Smith had thumped his knee squarely into Steven May’s ribs in a brutal aerial contest, bringing the ball to ground and crumbing his own handy work to snag the Bulldogs’ first of the game.

With the Demons pushing inside 50 again, the Dogs had the ball and were looking to escape the defensive heat but Pickett made the desperate smother to turn it over, landing in the hands of Charlie Spargo who duly converted.

Adam Treloar goal
Adam Treloar celebrates a goal that brought the Bulldogs back into the game in the second quarter. (

Getty Images: Daniel Carson


2. Treloar and order

Down by 21 points at quarter-time, the Bulldogs needed a quick start and Adam Treloar answered the call.

Snapping from the top of the goal square just 43 seconds into the term, the bloke who wasn’t overly chuffed about being offloaded by the Magpies in the off-season dragged the Doggies back into the game with a classy goal.

Three minutes later, he did it again to get them back within 10 points.

At that point in the game, it looked like Nathan Buckley might have just been back on the Christmas card list in the Treloar household.

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Max Gawn mystified after shot ruled a behind in the second quarter.

3. A false Gawn

As the Demons looked to stem the bleeding of a Bulldogs comeback, Max Gawn took an uncontested mark in the forward pocket about 30m out on a tough angle.

Big Max lumbered in like a giraffe pacing the plains of the Serengeti, laid the boot into the ball, and slotted a calming goal to put the Demons back on track — or did he?

According to the goal umpire, he did not. Gawn thought it was a goal, and the vision appeared to show it as a goal, but the umpire deemed that it went right of the post.

A minute later, Marcus Bontempelli kicked the first of his two goals to get the Dogs back within a kick.

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Jason Johannisen takes a screamer and then snaps a goal for the Bulldogs.

4. Johannisen air

Jason Johannisen bloody loves a grand final.

When he’s not winning the Norm Smith Medal in a drought-breaking premiership, he’s conquering the shoulders of his opponents in an historic Perth decider.

Two minutes into the second half, Johannisen sat on the shoulders of Jake Bowey to claim one of the great grand final marks in recent history.

While there was a touch (see: a fair bit) of hands on the shoulders, it was a cracking grab and set him up for the snapped goal to get the third quarter off to a strong start for the Doggies.

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Christian Petracca nabs a goal in the dying minute of the third quarter.

5. Good old Christian values

With about a minute left on the clock in the third quarter and the Demons slowing the game down to hold onto a one-goal lead, Tom McDonald pulled the trigger and moved the ball quickly into the attacking 50.

The movement led to a battle for the ball in the forward pocket, spilling into the hands of a bullocking Christian Petracca who did his best Dusty Martin impression to dribble through the impossible goal.

It was Melbourne’s fifth goal in a row and sent the ball back to the centre with 40-odd seconds on the clock. The Demons got the centre clearance and Tom Sparrow kicked a running goal to make it six in a row. Clayton Oliver liked what he saw, so decided to emulate Sparrow’s goal almost exactly from the next centre bounce.

Seven goals in a row, and three in less than it minute. It was the pile of straws that broke the Doggies’ backs.

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