Jesse Hogan’s last-term heroics have spurred Melbourne to a stirring two-point comeback AFL win over Greater Western Sydney.
The Demons overturned a 21-point deficit at three-quarter time to defeat the Giants 12.8 (80) to 10.18 (78) at the MCG on Saturday afternoon.
The 28,505-strong crowd could be forgiven for disbelieving Melbourne’s comeback, given how poorly they had played for two quarters.
After a spirited and fast-paced first term, the Demons kicked just 1.4 in two quarters, falling back into their dark old habits.
But they emerged from a three-quarter time huddle a changed team, kicking six goals to run out unlikely winners.
Hogan, blanketed by Phil Davis for three quarters, was instrumental as he broke his marker’s shackles.
The 2015 Rising Star winner kicked three final-quarter goals, with Jack Watts also inspirational on his 25th birthday with the match on the line.
Toby Greene’s snapped goal with ten seconds to play left GWS with a slither of hope, and surely enough the Giants broke from the centre square as they threatened to pinch victory.
For good measure, Hogan popped up to spoil the incoming kick, ensuring the Demons held on for one of the club’s best comebacks under coach Paul Roos’ tenure.
Nathan Jones (27 possessions) and Jack Viney (32 possessions) powered Melbourne at their best in the first and last quarters.
Giants coach Leon Cameron will rue inaccuracy, with six third-quarter behinds while well on top costing them dearly.
Rory Lobb was GWS’ best attacker in a patched-up forward line, while Steve Johnson kicked two goals on a mixed debut for the club.
Clayton Oliver enjoyed a strong debut for Melbourne, with new-boy Ben Kennedy also enjoying his first game for the Demons.