Jack Watts has helped Melbourne snatch a two-point win over Gold Coast in an AFL game that hit no great heights until a thrilling finish.
Both sides were guilty of cringe-worthy turnovers, simple set-shot misses and fumbles at key moments, during a game played in perfect conditions at a sun-soaked MCG.
Nonetheless it culminated in an after-the-siren finish as the Demons prevailed 9.12 (66) to 9.10 (64).
Watts marked in the forward pocket and booted his third goal with a tick over two minutes remaining, giving the hosts a two-point lead.
Watts then stepped up at the other end of the ground, marking in the goal square to seemingly deny Gold Coast victory.
But Watts passed to teammate Bernie Vince, who picked out Suns spearhead Tom Lynch before the siren sounded.
Lynch, kicking from beyond the 50m arc and tucked up on the boundary line, was unable to make the distance.
It was Melbourne’s eighth win for the season.
A further victory in the final four rounds will make it the club’s best year since 2006, when they most recently reached the finals.
Max Gawn continued his career-best season, tallying an impressive 60 hitouts.
Watts, Dom Tyson, Billy Stretch and Aaron Vandenberg were also among the hosts’ best in the scrappy clash.
Lynch booted two goals and loomed the man most likely to drag his side over the line, having kicked the game’s opening goal after clutching one of his seven marks.
The Demons’ defence were overwhelmed for much of the opening term, while the hosts were also devoid of rebounding run early.
But the Suns couldn’t convert their dominance, kicking only 3.3 in the first quarter.
Melbourne’s first goal didn’t come until the 24th minute of the match, courtesy of Watts.
The Demons busted the low-scoring affair open in the second term with three goals in three and a half minutes, including two to Vandenberg.
They boasted a two-goal buffer at halftime but wayward kicking helped keep the Suns in the contest.
The third quarter was unremarkable with the exception of a bruising collision between James Harmes and Kade Kolodjashnij.
The Suns hit the front in the final term after booting three consecutive goals, including a showstopper from Jarrad Grant, but couldn’t stop Watts.