Melbourne ended a 57-year premiership drought in a historic Grand Final in Perth, capping off an outstanding season that finally saw Demons fans left ecstatic rather than distraught.
Season Finish: Premiers
2021 Season snapshot
Sitting at 11-1, Melbourne's red hot start to the season had even their must curmudgeonly fans believing their side was on the verge of success.
By the end of the home and away season, the Dees had finished as minor premiers after their stunning 44-point comeback against Geelong in Round 23.
Having missed the finals in 2020, Melbourne followed a similar trend to recent premiership winning teams, namely Richmond (2017) and the Western Bulldogs (2016), in ending a decades-long premiership drought.
Star player: Christian Petracca
Christian Petracca elevated himself to a new level this season, as evidenced by his Norm Smith Medal outing in the grand final..
— Melbourne Demons (@melbournefc) September 25, 2021
The midfield maestro racked up a mammoth 39 disposals (24 contests) - equaling Simon Black in 2003.
That was alongside nine tackles and two goals - one of which was the first of the game.
Petracca proved he was among the elite in the competition with 29.2 disposals per game and 1.2 goals per game. He is a bull in the midfield, winning the hardball on the inside and outside, with five marks per game and 4.1 tackles per game.
He polled in the top 10 for this year's Brownlow, finishing with a solid 23 votes.
Breakout player: Luke Jackson
The young star from Western Australia proved his versatility as a tall for Melbourne this year by winning the Rising Star Award. Jackson was nominated in Round 7 after notching up 22 disposals in a 30-point win against North Melbourne.
The Western Australian played a big role in Melbourne's fortunes by playing 21-games and scoring 15-goals up forward. On the field, his selfless nature was evident as he embodied the enthusiasm of a young player.
Simon Goodwin at the helm
Simon Goodwin's job was heavily scrutinsed after the club failed to back-up a preliminary final performance in 2018. His tenure was also debated at the end of last year, having not yet rectified that form. But after this year's flag, he's now since re-signed to the end of 2022.
The commitment from the club to stick with Goodwin paid off, allowing his time and development with the players to translate into a game style that worked.
Goodwin, alongside other assistant coaches, developed a game style based on a hardened defence and interceptions in the back half with key pillars Jake Lever and Steven May. They then used sharp foot skills and gut running on the rebound.
That was pivotal in ensuring the Dees played a brand that would stack up on every occasion, and not rely on individual brilliance.
Even contribution in the engine room
Petracca and Viney continued their drive out of the middle, while Oliver played as a bull, finishing third in the Brownlow.
Sam Weideman's five games
Sam Weideman is too good to be sitting in the VFL, but he fell victim to being at one of the best squads in the competition. Ben Brown and Tom McDonald played tall in the forward line, leaving Weideman without a spot in the side.
He remained out of favour in the forward line, but has re-signed until 2023.
Melbourne definitely performed when it counted the most - in the finals and against other top eight sides. But there were still a couple of concerning performances this season against sides they should have beaten.
Season Grade: A+
There is no greater achievement than winning both the minor premiership and the premiership, with the Demons became the first side to do so since Hawthorn in 2013.
After winning the Grand Final, coach Simon Goodwin has begun readying his side for another tilt at premiership success.
“It’s not the end of anything. This is the start for our footy club. This is what we want to be,” he said.
Given the flag-winning steward was on the money this September, there won't be too many writing he or his side off again in the short term.