Melbourne have returned to the AFL winners list in impressive fashion, downing the Western Bulldogs by 39 points at the MCG.
Led by impressive forward Jesse Hogan and fuelled by a hunger for the contest, the Demons prevailed 15.13 (103) to 9.10 (64) to win their third match of the season.
Melbourne out-tackled the league’s No.1 tacklers, controlling the match after a slow start.
Hogan and Cam Pedersen kicked three goals apiece, while Melbourne’s midfield pack did their jobs.
Aaron Vandenberg continued his encouraging season, Bernie Vince subdued Marcus Bontempelli and Nathan Jones broke free of a Mitch Wallis tag to set up the Demons’ win in the second term.
After an early arm-wrestle, five straight Melbourne goals either side of half-time saw the Demons break clear.
With Jones and Bontempelli tagged out of the match, both teams struggled for fluency.
Fumbles and missed opportunities were the order of the day, and while the Bulldogs saw more of the ball, too often they wasted it.
Their half-time score of 3.9 showed as much, with raw forward Jake Stringer a chief culprit.
In the second term, Jones broke free to dominate with 11 touches and four clearances.
His work was key in propelling the Demons forward, where Hogan loomed large.
The 20-year-old forward continued his AFL education with a goal in each of the first three quarters.
Already a crowd favourite and one of Melbourne’s most important players, Hogan produced his best performance for the Demons.
In contrast, the Bulldogs’ teenage target man Tom Boyd was substituted out of the match in the third quarter with just one handball and one hit-out to his name.
The Demons stretched their lead to 33 points early in the third term, which included two Jeremy Howe marks for the highlight reel.
But the Bulldogs found space to stretch their legs and began to reel in Melbourne’s lead.
Stringer kicked two third-quarter goals and when Liam Picken goalled early in the last, their deficit was just seven.
From there, Melbourne took over.
Hogan turned provider for the impressive Pedersen, who kicked his third early in the final term to begin a Demon rout.
Vince added to his fine day with two goals of his own, while Jeff Garlett’s checkside snap from the boundary brought cheers from the 29,381-strong crowd.