AFL grand final 2021 LIVE updates: Demons and Bulldogs playing out epic, see-sawing battle for the ages

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Brayshaw puts Demons back in front

Bowey chips it to Brayshaw who takes a courageous diving mark and from 40m out on a challenging angle, he bangs it home and puts the Demons back in front by five points with 4:08 left in the third term, 9.10.64 to 9.5.59.

Melbourne have kicked the last four goals to quickly erase their 19-point deficit.

How about the momentum shifts in this game? Don’t forget the Demons led by 21 at quarter-time!

Three in a row for the Dees

Petracca bursts out of the centre bounce, bangs it long and finds Ben Brown in the pocket.

From a tricky angle, the former Kangaroo makes no mistake and all of a sudden it’s just a one-point ball game with 7:37 left in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs lead 9.5.59 to 8.10.58 and Melbourne have got back into this game thanks largely to their rediscovery of their attacking flair.

Fritsch sparks Demons into action

After the Bullogs looked like they were going to run away with this contest, Fritsch drags Melbourne back into the game with a pair of quick goals to cut the deficit to just seven points with 8:25 left in the third term, 7.10.52 to 9.5.59.

Fritsch now has a game-high four goals and he has been absolutely crucial for the Demons.

Bayley Fritsch.

Bayley Fritsch.Credit:Getty Images

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Bontempelli going bananas

Bontempelli firms for the Norm Smith Medal with a magnificent snap shot from 35m out which gives the Bulldogs their biggest lead of the game (19 points).

The Dogs have now kicked eight of the last nine goals to grab a 9.5.59 to 5.10.40 advantage nearing the halfway mark of the third term.

The Bulldogs uncontested footy is starting to have a massive say on this contest and after such a dominant first quarter, Melbourne are now playing very safe footy, and it’s not working.

Bontempelli has a game-high three goals.

Reader question: What will the situation be at the end of regulation?

Johannisen flies high and gets the goal

Johannisen takes a screamer over Bowey next to the goal post and snaps truly from point-blank range to kick the first goal of the second half. What a mark that was!

The Bulldogs now lead by 13 points early in the third term, 8.5.53 to 5.10.40, and they’ve now kicked seven of the last eight goals.

But it all started with Williams down the other end of the ground. The defender redeemed himself after coughing up two first-quarter goals by smothering a Harmes kick which would’ve ended up deep in the Demons’ attack with plenty of players open.

From that play, the Bulldogs swept it up the other end of the ground for the goal.

Melbourne’s inaccuracy is now starting to haunt them

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Bad sign for the Dees?

Missed it by that much…

This would’ve put the Demons up by 15 points, but Gawn’s set shot JUST missed to the right… He wasn’t totally convinced the goal umpire made the right call either…

Dogs head to the rooms content

Bontempelli leads his team off the ground at half-time after lifting his output considerably in the second term

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Dogs turnaround has Dees on back foot

By Jake Niall

What an incredible first half. Bontempelli, just four touches in the first quarter, underscored his stature as the game’s best player.

How many midfielders can mark like that – including at the front of a pack – and then convert in such critical circumstances.

Simon Goodwin must consider how the Demons deal with Daniel – yes he gets discretionary hands-offs from teammates – but his ability to set up and read the play has been instrumental in the Dogs’ unexpected fightback.

Melbourne doesn’t deserve to be behind, based on the patterns of play, yet they are. It is clear that the Bulldogs’ plan is to get the ball to ground in their forward 50m, by any means necessary, and then pressure and create goals – a tactic that worked for the Demons in the first quarter.

Melbourne 4.5, 5.9 (39)
W.Bulldogs 1.2, 7.5 (47)

GOALS
Melbourne: Fritsch 2, Petracca, Spargo, B.Brown
W.Bulldogs: Treloar 2, Bontempelli 2, R.Smith, Naughton, Hunter

DISPOSALS
Melbourne: Oliver 18, Petracca 18, Gawn 14
W.Bulldogs: Daniel 26, Macrae 18, Dunkley 15, Liberatore 14

INTERCEPTS
Melbourne: Petracca 5, Gawn 4, Hibberd 4, Lever 4, Neal-Bullen 4, Salem 4
W.Bulldogs: Daniel 7, Liberatore 5

The Bulldogs turned things around dramatically in the second quarter and they now lead the disposals 211-186, clearances 19-17, marks 31-29 and contested possessions 92-78.

The Demons still have the advantage in tackles 28-27, inside 50s 33-27, scoring shots 14-12, free kicks 10-7 and hitouts 22-13.

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