A LIAM Jurrah kick on the siren has given Melbourne a thrilling five-point win over the Brisbane Lions in the first AFL match ever staged in China on Sunday.
The Demons 12.12 (84) defeated the Lions 11.13 (79) to win the Kaspersky Cup AFL Shanghai Showdown in warm conditions at Jiangwan Stadium.
Jurrah kicked five goals, including the last three goals of the match, giving Melbourne a come-from-behind win, which seemed most unlikely at three quarter-time.
The Lions kicked five goals to two in the third quarter and led by 26 points heading into the final change, before Melbourne hit back with the last six goals.
Ruckman Jake Spencer started the comeback, booting a fine goal on the run from 50 metres.
His effort helped swing the momentum and when teammates Jamie Bennell and Colin Sylvia quickly followed up, it was game on.
Enter Jurrah, who took two hangers before converting, giving Melbourne a memorable victory, during the middle of its 14-day tour of China.
His match-winning grab brought the enthusiastic crowd to its feet.
It was an excellent turnaround by the Demons after sluggish first and third quarters.
Aside from Jurrah’s best-on-ground performance, defender Clint Bartram was tenacious in defence and Sylvia provided some explosive passages of play.
One of the most pleasing aspects for Melboune was the form of Michael Newton down back. He provided strong rebound and looked impressive in unfamiliar territory.
For the Lions, youngster Tom Rockliff was a standout with three goals, while rookies Josh Dyson and Clay Beams also impressed.
A classy Amon Buchanan goal from the boundary was also a highlight.
Both sides went in without several key players: Melbourne was without Brad Green, Aaron Davey and James Frawley and Jonathan Brown, Simon Black and Brendan Fevola were absent for the Lions.
Melbourne was captained by Brent Moloney and the Lions were led by Jed Adcock.
An estimated crowd of 5,000 was a mix of Australian-based supporters, expatriates and locals.