Proud coach Paul Roos has urged Melbourne to kick on in 2017, having showed their immense potential in an AFL boilover against Hawthorn.
The Demons on Saturday celebrated their first victory over the Hawks since round eight of the 2006 season, beating the flag favourites by 29 points.
It is comfortably their greatest performance under Roos, who has achieved so much since joining the club in 2013.
The Demons haven’t contested a final since 2006 but long-suffering fans have every reason to hope for a return next year to September action.
“They’re the wins that you can build special things off,” Roos said.
“Clearly, it’s not going to happen this year because we’re not going to play finals.
“Hopefully, they remember the feeling of walking off the MCG, having beaten a very, very good team.
“I’m so proud … it’s a great day for the footy club and for a group of young players that are hopefully going to build something special together.”
Roos, set to coach the final three games of the season before handing the reins over to Simon Goodwin, had a simple message for his players after the victory.
“That has to drive the players in the next three weeks,” he said.
“But more importantly in the off-season and going into next year … that it drives them when they get back in November.
“We know we can put the effort in. If we do, it’s pretty exciting and we get reward … the penny is starting to drop.”
Roos was full of praise for his entire team, especially leaders Max Gawn, Jack Viney, Nathan Jones, Tom McDonald and Bernie Vince.
“We played a four-quarter game,” he said.
“The last 15 minutes was great footy and probably the best footy we’ve played all year, and you have to do that to beat outstanding opposition.”