AFL grand final: Christian Petracca and Bayley Fritsch lead Melbourne Demons grand final game shapers

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Craig O'DonoghueThe West Australian
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Clayton Oliver is built for finals.
Camera IconClayton Oliver is built for finals. Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images

Christian Petracca

The Demons’ impact player was outlandish. Petracca wrote his name into history with one of the great grand final performances. Players simply don’t have 40 disposals, nine clearances, kick two goals and have 15 score involvements on the biggest stage. He kicked the first goal of the match with a searing shot from 50m that set the Demons on their way.. The Dogs had all the momentum when they pulled clear in the third quarter but Petracca had other ideas and two brilliant pieces of play set up goals for Bayley Fritsch and Ben Brown. But when he kicked an extraordinary dribble goal from the forward pocket, he was the difference between the two teams. He was extraordinary.

Bayley Fritsch

No player has kicked six goals in a grand final since 1997. That man was Darren Jarman. Bayley Fritsch is in elite company. Many others have tried and failed. Jack Riewoldt and Jarryd Roughead are the only men to kick five goals in the last decade and they’re key forwards. Dustin Martin kicked four when winning flags. So did Lance Franklin, Jack Gunston and Steve Johnson. But six in a modern day grand final - that is unheard of. He kicked two goals in the first quarter and followed up with another two in the third. Throw in another two in the final quarter and Fritsch made the famous number 31 even more iconic.

Clayton Oliver

The star midfielder was one of the men who set up the early lead and he was one of the men who was part of the pulsating third term too. That shouldn’t be a shock. He’s one of the men who is the reason why the Demons have been so good all year. Oliver is tough. He finds the footy in so many ways. He compiled 33 disposals for the night and 13 of those were contested. Throw in five clearances and 10 tackles and he is a player that is built for finals.

Marcus Bontempelli

When the Bulldogs captain plays well, the Dogs are a force. Bont had four touches in the first term and they looked ordinary. Well, he followed up with nine in the second quarter and booted two goals. His set shot late in the quarter ensured the Bulldogs went to half time with the lead. Bont made that margin 19 points with a superb snap early in the third quarter and the Bulldogs were inspired. His eight score involvements was a team high but he couldn’t stop Melbourne’s dominance..

Adam Treloar

Make no mistake, the Bulldogs were staring down the barrel at quarter time. Trailing by 21 points, they couldn’t afford a bad start to the second term. Treloar stepped up. He kicked a goal within 45 seconds and then booted a second after four minutes. Both were snaps and they changed the entire momentum of the match. He didn’t let up there either and had some key moments in the third term. He kicked a third goal late and can hold his head high.

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