IT’S BEEN 21 years since Melbourne Football Club last played in an AFL Grand Final and 57 years since it won its last premiership.
Now, after an 83-point Preliminary Final win on Friday night, the club will have the opportunity to make history.
Melbourne forward Alex Neal-Bullen said the importance of the win wasn’t lost on the team, with the players embracing the club’s past as they look forward to the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final.
“It makes me as a player, very proud to be a part of a club with such a rich history,” Neal-Bullen told ABC Radio.
“Now we’ve got an opportunity that we can write our own history in two weeks’ time.
“And I’d do anything to be able to say I was part of the next Melbourne football team who won a flag.”
Neal-Bullen was part of Melbourne’s emphatic Preliminary Final win on Friday night, where the small forward put up a strong display collecting 15 disposals, ten contested possessions and one goal.
The final was played at Optus Stadium in front of a crowd of 60,000 spectators, with the 25-year-old's family supporting from the stands and adding to the special night.
“Having family and friends in the crowd, the energy that created, that for us is why we play the great game,” Neal-Bullen said.
“It was pretty incredible and a feeling that none of us have had before.
Having not reached finals in both 2019 and 2020, the Demons have seen an impressive transformation in form and will now prepare to play in the biggest game of the year.
“It’s something that has been built over many years,” Neal-Bullen said.
“It’s all about the experiences along the way, whether that’s a win, a loss or a draw.
"As long as you’re learning from them, that’s how you improve on the next year and that’s what we’ve done.
“This year we’ve played a good brand of footy and we’ve showed that it holds up in big games and now it’s a moment for us to reset and look forward to two weeks’ time.”