Melbourne will be licking their wounds after setting an unwanted record in their loss to Collingwood in the qualifying final on Thursday night.
The Demons lost the match by seven points, but will be left to think what might have been after spurning a stack of chances in the 9.6 (60) to 7.11 (53) defeat.
The extra three scoring shots doesn’t tell the whole story with the Demons racking up an extraordinary 69 inside 50s for just seven goals.
Analysis, local footy and the biggest moments, Seven and 7plus are the home of footy shows for every fan. Stream them all for free on 7plus >>
Collingwood generated only 37 inside 50s with the Demons’ +32 differential the highest ever recorded in a losing final.
Melbourne had 20 alone in the final quarter as they looked to steal victory.
Max Gawn leads the Demons off after the loss. Credit: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
“Bit of a sour taste with the numbers that are on the whiteboard … it’s a very almost Melbourne-type loss,” captain Max Gawn told Channel 7 after the loss.
“We’ve had +30 inside 50s, we’ve won the contest, won expected score and still can’t get over the line.
“We’re playing the right way which is a good thing to know. That doesn’t help us win a final unfortunately.”
Brayden Maynard pours heart out after ‘shattering’ moment
Melbourne missed a stack of gettable chances throughout the match with Bayley Fritsch producing the biggest blunder with his nightmare set shot in the final quarter.
Trailing by 13 points with nine minutes remaining, Fritsch’s set shot from 40m out on a slight angle went out on the full, which can be seen in the video player at the top of the page.
“Oh no! He’s just about missed the ball!” Channel 7 commentator Brian Taylor said.
“It just caught the Nike or Adidas logo on the edge.
“He very nearly missed it.”
Bayley Fritsch’s nightmare set shot. Credit: Channel 7
Tom McDonald also sprayed a gettable shot in the last quarter as the Demons couldn’t capitalise on Max Gawn and Christian Petracca’s utter dominance in the midfield.
The Magpies booted the first two goals through small forward Bobby Hill, sending the pro-Collingwood crowd into raptures.
Hill finished with three goals in an electric display from the former GWS player, who like McStay, arrived at Collingwood during last year’s trade period.
It was Melbourne’s third-straight loss in a final since their 2021 premiership following last year’s straight-sets exit from the post-season.
Simon Goodwin had a 5-1 record as coach in finals after the Demons’ triumph over the Western Bulldogs two years ago.
Melbourne’s forward line lacked potency, with veteran McDonald having no impact until the final quarter as the replacement for Jake Melksham, who ruptured his ACL in the Demons’ final-round game against Sydney.
– with AAP
Teammate’s touching post-match gesture for unlucky hero
Dustin Martin spotted meeting Damien Hardwick on the Gold Coast
If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your Cookie Settings.