1. Game-saving McCarthy's mixed bag
Cam McCarthy looked like putting the slow start to his life as a Docker behind him with a strong first quarter where he gathered 10 disposals and kicked a goal. But, as Nat Fyfe and Lachie Neale worked their way into the contest, McCarthy went the other way with his contribution drying up in the second with just two additional possessions and one behind. The Dockers' ball use to half time didn't help, but the highly-rated forward still didn't really get into it when the handbrake came off in the third quarter. However, he saved his most crucial involvement for the dying stages of the game when he gathered the ball off hands in the goal-square and got boot to ball, despite a Bernie Vince tackle, to give the Dockers their match-winning lead with 90 seconds to go.
2. Dockers shed the shackles
The first half was a dour affair with the Demons' pressure forcing the Dockers into stagnant ball movement and costly turnovers. Ross Lyon's men emerged from half time a different team and kicked seven unanswered goals to shelve the 21-point deficit and lead by 22 going into the last term. They took the game on, ran hard and moved the ball quicker with Lachie Weller, Fyfe and Neale getting their hands on the ball to drive a vastly different Dockers' side to their best quarter for the season.
3. Fyfe's timely arrival
The Brownlow medallist started slowly; so slowly, it took 14 minutes before he touched the ball for the first time, and even then, he had to disappear under a pack to fire a pressured handball out. But he worked his way into the game with his pressure acts initially outweighing the effectiveness of any disposal. He twice went back with the flight of the ball for brave contested marks, and saved a shot at goal with a courageous smother in the first quarter. Fyfe ended with 25 touches - 13 from the first half when he had to deal with three Demons hanging off him every time he went near it – but was pivotal in breaking the game open in the third and getting his team home in the fourth.
4. Melbourne's new cult hero
It was always going to be tough for Jake Spencer to come in from football's wilderness and front Aaron Sandilands, but the man labelled 'Pencil' for his former frame didn't leave the MCG wondering. Sandilands beat the bearded Demon with 53 to 15 hit-outs (and did it with a fair chunk of the third quarter spent on the bench with an apparent hamstring issue), but Spencer threw himself at the task, took a couple of nice marks, kicked two goals (including one early in the fourth that kept the contest alive), and basically just had a crack in his first AFL game since round 22, 2015. It's fair to say the mop-haired tall will give the Demons a bit of everything over the next three months while Max Gawn's hamstring tendon mends.
5. The poise of Petracca
While the Dockers' midfield guns ignited in the third to get their team back in it, it was young Demon Christian Petracca who fired in retaliation after the last break to give his side a chance. The 21-year-old stood up when he was needed most with a phenomenal last quarter to end with 20 disposals; seven of which - plus a goal - came in the telling final stanza, and helped get the Demons moving with 320 metres gained across the game.