In the first-ever AFLW game to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Melbourne Demons won through to the Grand Final, defeating the Brisbane Lions by four points.
In an at-times windy, and at-times misty afternoon, Melbourne and Brisbane met in the preliminary final, with a spot in the 2022 AFLW Grand Final on the line.
The last time these two sides met was in Round Seven at the Gabba, to which the Demons proved victorious by three points, with Lion Greta Bodey missing a set shot after the siren to see her side go down. When the two teams battled it out a year before at Casey Fields, the margin was two points the way of Melbourne.
Therefore, it was no surprise that this particular game, with so much riding on it for both teams with Melbourne having never qualified for an AFLW Grand Final, and Brisbane being the reigning premiers, that the final margin would once again be slim and reflective of a true, in-and-under contest.
It was a goalless first term for both sides, with Brisbane the only team to get on the scoreboard, taking a one-point lead into quarter time, albeit due to a rushed behind as the drizzling rain suited their high-pressure game more than Melbourne's.
Brisbane's Jesse Wardlaw got the first score of the second quarter, although it was another behind, to which Melbourne capitalised on the miss, with Alyssa Bannan kicking the first goal of the contest, putting boot to ball and splitting the middle of two nearby defenders to see the ball roll into an open goalsquare.
An unguarded Taylor Smith sitting inside 50 ensured the Demons didn't hold onto a lead for too long, kicking the Lions' first goal of the game shortly after, bouncing back from a dropped chest mark to be composed and kick around her body.
An Eliza McNamara set shot on the half-time siren that hit the post saw the scores level going into the main break.
With the weather was drying up, and suiting Melbourne's kicking style and aerial marking abilities, it was Brisbane who drew first blood in the second half, looking to be the more attacking team with the run forward, ending in a Dakota Davidson goal.
However, the tides turned from there as Melbourne wasn't about to give up on the dream of a maiden AFLW Grand Final berth, putting the foot down and playing all around its Brisbane opponents with link-up chains through the centre of the ground, but more so, finding and kicking to space, allowing for teammates to beat their opposition in a one-on-one foot race.
This method of booting the ball deep in their forward line allowed the Demons to kick four unanswered goals to finish off the third term and start the final quarter in the right way too, with momentum.
Bannan, using her pace to run around Maddison Gay levelled the scores four minutes into the third quarter before Lauren Pearce - doing her own roving from the throw-in stoppage -, McNamara - with a dribble kick through a barrage of Lions - and Bannan again, continued to pile on the goals and take the margin out to a game-high 17 points one minute into the fourth term.
A Greta Bodey miss from close range in open play early in the final quarter didn't deter the Lions from giving up at all, as they went on a small run of their own, although had the clock to contend with.
Shannon Campbell got the margin back to 10 points and had a chance to bring the margin to four points but missed the shot a few minutes later. Bodey then converted well with 36 seconds remaining in the game, to have the Lions up and about and believing a come-from-behind victory was achievable.
However, at the worst possible moment, as the Lions needed a quick, clean centre clearance, they conceded a 5-6-5 free kick when some of their players were still in the attacking part of the ground, which put the ball in the Demons' hands at the centre circle.
Despite the Demons having the ball at this stage, there was still constant pressure from the Lions midfield and although the Lions managed to get it forward, the Demons were doing well at holding the ball in and not letting their opponents get a kick away towards goal with the final siren sounding to the delight of home fans.
The Melbourne Demons will face the winner of the preliminary final between the Adelaide Crows and the Fremantle Dockers on Saturday, April 9 at a time and venue yet to be determined.