Jack Watts has continued his transformation from AFL whipping boy to cult hero by helping Melbourne edge Gold Coast by two points.
Both sides were guilty of cringe-worthy turnovers and simple set-shot misses despite perfect conditions at a sun-soaked MCG on Sunday.
Nonetheless, it culminated in an after-the-siren finish as the Demons prevailed 9.12 (66) to 9.10 (64).
Watts booted his third goal with a tick over two minutes remaining in the match.
He 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 great reward for (Watts) to kick the winning goal,” Demons coach Paul Roos said.
“It was indicative of his game today. He was the standout player for us, certainly.
“We used him in a lot of different roles … his game was exceptional and the difference between us winning and losing.
“It’s great to see him with a smile on his face … I love Jack. He’s one of the best people I’ve met in footy and to see him get the reward is really exciting.”
Melbourne gave up a three-goal head start before Watts steadied, kicking his side’s first goal in the 24th minute of the match.
The Demons busted the low-scoring affair open in the second term with three goals in three-and-a-half minutes, including two to Aaron Vandenberg.
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 the Demons rallied.
“It’s a big win today. I wouldn’t underestimate the importance for us as a club and them as a group of players,” Roos said.
“Sometimes those wins are as important, if not more important, than a 10-goal win or a win against a team you’re not expected to beat.”
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.
Suns coach Rodney Eade praised his side’s effort, especially that of Lynch.
“It was a difficult kick. It was a pretty good shot, actually,” Eade said.
“He did pretty well. It was a long shot and a tough angle I didn’t expect him to kick it, but he gave it a good shake.
“They’re disappointed, but I think we are getting a lot of belief among the group.”