AFL grand final 2021: Melbourne Demons' win unites city in lockdown as Dan ...

AFL grand final 2021: Melbourne Demons' win unites city in lockdown as Dan ...
AFL grand final 2021: Melbourne Demons' win unites city in lockdown as Dan ...

An epic AFL grand final has reunited long suffering Melburnians after a tumultuous week for a city in its sixth lockdown.

Melbourne Demons are the toast of the city after breaking a 57-year premiership drought to thrash the Western Bulldogs by 74 points in the AFL grand final in Perth on Saturday night.

The come from behind victory brought smiles of many Melburnians waking up to their 238th day in lockdown.

The Demons have dedicated their famous win to fans back home on a day Victoria recorded 847 new coronavirus cases, its highest rise in daily infections during the pandemic. 

It's been a tough week for Melbourne with anti-lockdown protesters creating chaos and clashing with police with six days running on top of the state's roadmap to freedom being delayed due to vaccination targets not being met.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was among the many Melburnians who rejoiced in the Demons' win late Saturday night, sparking a divisive reaction online.

Demons stars Angus Brayshaw and Ed Langdon can't wait to return home in Melbourne with the premiership trophy

Demons stars Angus Brayshaw and Ed Langdon can't wait to return home in Melbourne with the premiership trophy

Perth was a sea of red, blue and white as footy fans flocked to Optus Stadium for the grand final

Perth was a sea of red, blue and white as footy fans flocked to Optus Stadium for the grand final

Chapel Street in Melbourne's South Yarra was eerily deserted on Saturday night due to the city's sixth lockdown in 18 months

Chapel Street in Melbourne's South Yarra was eerily deserted on Saturday night due to the city's sixth lockdown in 18 months

The Premier was roasted online for paying tribute to the Demons and AFL champion Neale Daniher, who's battled motor neurone disease since 2014.

'Gave em hell. And I reckon they've given this guy a hell of a smile too.' Mr Andrews captioned a photo of Daniher, who was the last man to lead the Demons to a grand final 21 years ago.

It didn't take long for fired up Melburnians to hit back, furious the AFL grand final was relocated from Melbourne for a second consecutive year due to Covid-19.

No city in the world has been under stay-at-home orders longer after Melbourne surpassed Argentinian capital Buenos Aires's 234-day record on Thursday.

'57 years and because of you the supporters could not go to this grand final. 61,118 people at the game, almost as many have left Victoria because you give us hell,' one man commented.

Another added: 'If only you'd give the people who have had the gumption to get vaccinated a reason to smile by letting us out of the prison we have to pay for too. Get back under your rock until you do something beneficial.'

Many others described Mr Andrews as tone deaf and renewed calls for him to resign.

'Neale was a legend! Stynes was a legend. Dan Andrews is the furthest thing from a legend. Please resign, disappear, go quiet. Just leave. Surely you have no friends,' one man commented.'

Another added: 'It’s not about you today Andrews. Stop. Leave us alone.'

Premier Daniel Andrews sparked a divided response with this tribute to the Demons and Neale Daniher on Saturday night

Premier Daniel Andrews sparked a divided response with this tribute to the Demons and Neale Daniher on Saturday night

Tears flowed for Demons legend Garry Lyon and coach Simon Goodwin (right) on Saturday night

Tears flowed for Demons legend Garry Lyon and coach Simon Goodwin (right) on Saturday night

Melbourne emergency physician and former Australian Medical Association vice president Dr Stephen Parnis was among those reflecting on one of Australia's biggest sporting events being played on the other side of the country instead of the MCG.

'I wonder if this moment captures the lowest point of #COVID19Vic,' he captioned a photo of Demons skipper Max Gawn being interviewed post-match

'Our sporting capital of Australia again forced to watch one of our biggest events from a distance of 3000km.

'If so, I hope we'll be like the Demons - team success is sweet after suffering together for so long.'

The Demons' premiership reignited a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel for other Melburnians desperate to be freed from lockdown for a sixth time.

Proud Melburnian Magda Szubanski led the message of hope following the Demons' famous AFL grand final victory

Proud Melburnian Magda Szubanski led the message of hope following the Demons' famous AFL grand final victory

'You know what? Melbourne really really reeeeeally frickin needed this win!' actress Magda Szubanski tweeted.

Cricket commentator Trent Copeland wrote: 'Remarkable.  Not just this Grand Final, but what it’ll mean for the Demons club, and a huge part of Victoria in a bloody tough time.'

Other man added: 'Melbourne are free after 57 years, hopefully our city will be! Get out and celebrate.'

But as the beer and champagne flowed for Demons players and their fans in Perth, there were no wild celebrations in Melbourne.

The city's streets were deserted on Saturday night due to strict 9pm-5am night curfew which remains in place.

Eerie photos of nightlife precincts in Richmond and South Yarra show not a soul in sight, usually packed with AFL fans celebrating into the early hours.

Christian Petracca celebrates with fans after winning the premiership and Norm Smith Medal

Christian Petracca celebrates with fans after winning the premiership and Norm Smith Medal

Demons fans are rejoicing in the taste of premiership glory for the first time in 57 years

Demons fans are rejoicing in the taste of premiership glory for the first time in 57 years

Almost six decades of premiership heartache is over for  Demons after they staged an incredible fightback against the Western Bulldogs on a historic night for the code.

The game was held in Perth or the first time in front of a sell-out crowd of 61,118 fans at Optus Stadium in an epic AFL grand final for the ages.

The Demons claimed their first premiership flag in 57 years after a stunning third quarter fightback saw them turn a 19 point deficit into a 24 point lead with seven unanswered goals against their shellshocked opponents.

The Demons then ran rampant in the fourth quarter, with five more unanswered goals before running out 21.14 (140) to 10.6 (66) winners.

The Demons were already celebrating before a goal after the siren put the icing on the cake of a famous 74 point victory. 

Demons skipper Max Gawn and Norm Smith Medallist Christian Petracca dedicated the famous victory to their long suffering fans stuck in lockdown back home in Melbourne.

Usually packed with AFL grand final fans post-match, Melbourne's Swan St in Richmond was deserted on Saturday night in the city's 237th day in lockdown

Usually packed with AFL grand final fans post-match, Melbourne's Swan St in Richmond was deserted on Saturday night in the city's 237th day in lockdown

The Melbourne Demons are the new AFL champions after a historic night for the code at Perth's Optus Stadium

The Melbourne Demons are the new AFL champions after a historic night for the code at Perth's Optus Stadium

'After 57 years of pain, it's coming home!' Max Gawn (right) cried as he and Demons coach Simon Goodwin held the premiership trophy aloft

'After 57 years of pain, it's coming home!' Max Gawn (right) cried as he and Demons coach Simon Goodwin held the premiership trophy aloft

Norm Smith Medallist Christian Petracca led a second half Demons rampage to win their first premiership flag since 1964

Norm Smith Medallist Christian Petracca led a second half Demons rampage to win their first premiership flag since 1964

Clayton Oliver celebrates with Demons teammates as a fourth quarter blow-out sealed a 74-point victory

Clayton Oliver celebrates with Demons teammates as a fourth quarter blow-out sealed a 74-point victory

Angus Brayshaw and Ed Langdon

Angus Brayshaw and Ed Langdon

'It is a long time coming,' Gawn told Channel Seven moment afterwards.

'My heart goes to everyone in the eastern states at home watching this.'

Petracca added: I actually can't speak right now. It feels like a dream.

'It is quite unbelievable. We set out pre-season and the off-season to get this club back to where it should be. 

'For every fan that is what to home, we bloody did it!'

Petracca was awarded the Norm Smith Medal as the best player on the ground with two goals and a grand final record of 40 disposals.

Bayley Fritsch became the first player since Adelaide Crows' Darren Jarman in 1997 to kick six goals in a grand final.

The Demons celebrated with fans on a lap of Optus Stadium and Facetimed recently retired 302-game club veteran Nathan Jones, who was celebrating back home with a can of beer.

Jones returned to Melbourne two weeks ago to be with his wife for the birth of their twins.

Many of the players have been separated from their partners and young children for weeks.

Just eight years ago, the Demons won two games all season and were the laughing stock of the AFL. 

'My first game, we got beaten by 80 points,' Jack Viney recalled. 

'Second game, we had 150 supporters throw their scarves at us. We were the laughing stock of the competition.'

'Now we've won a premiership, for the first time in God knows how long.' 

'I don't think it is going to fully sink in until we get out of the crowd and take a step back.' 

Demons skipper Max Gawn shows off the premiership to fans during a lap of honour around Perth's Optus Oval

Demons skipper Max Gawn shows off the premiership to fans during a lap of honour around Perth's Optus Oval

Demons players Facetimed recently retired club veteran Nathan Jones on their lap of honour

Demons players Facetimed recently retired club veteran Nathan Jones on their lap of honour

The Melbourne Demons have capped off an incredible season with a 74-win in the AFL grand final

The Melbourne Demons have capped off an incredible season with a 74-win in the AFL grand final

The Demons came from 19 points down in the third quarter to kick 12 unanswered goals and steal the game

The Demons came from 19 points down in the third quarter to kick 12 unanswered goals and steal the game

The Western Bulldogs were left dejected after letting a 19 point lead in the third quarter slip through

The Western Bulldogs were left dejected after letting a 19 point lead in the third quarter slip through 

Back in the dressing room, Gawn reflected on the heartbreaking tragedies the club has suffered in the last 17 years with the deaths of stalwarts such as Jim Stynes, Colin Sylvia, Troy Broadbridge and former coach Dean Bailey.

There's also AFL legend's Neale Daniher's well-publicised battle with motor neurone disease, the last Demons coach to lead the club to a grand final 21 years ago.

'We've had a lot of tragedy that's followed the club, especially since I've been there,' Gawn said.

'Troy Broadbridge, Dean Bailey who drafted me, Colin Sylvia, his parents reached out to me and Neale Daniher who is going through one almighty fight with MND. 

'His poster was up on the wall before the game. He's got a big quote you can talk as much as you want, it's

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