49 seconds – Nick Holman
Scores were tied at 54 a piece with 1:12 left on the clock.
Gold Coast’s Nick Holman took the game into his own hands, laying a crunching tackle on Oscar McDonald and winning the ball back for his side at half-back.
With no advantage paid, the Dees had time to set up, but Holman couldn’t be stopped.
The former Blue linked up with Pearce Hanley and Anthony Miles as he ran through the centre of Metricon Stadium and skidded home a stunning long-range goal.
With just 49 seconds remaining, the Suns were six points clear.
18 seconds – Marty Hore
The Demons sent the ball into attack from a secondary stoppage, allowing Jayden Hunt to produce some magic, bursting out of the forward 50.
Hunt gathered, weaved and handballed with vision to find an open Marty Hore running into space.
The key defender, in his sixth game of senior footy, wheeled onto his left and launched his first AFL goal, drawing Melbourne level with 18 seconds to play.
1 second – Tom McDonald
Max Gawn got the red and blue moving forward as the final seconds ticked away.
With even numbers up forward courtesy of the 6-6-6 rule, the Dees had space to work with and James Harmes swooped.
The onballer scooped it up cleanly and found enough space to shoot on goal, but lacking purchase on the footy, his kick fell short.
Enter, Tom McDonald.
The 26-year-old fumbled in the goal square but recovered swiftly to soccer the ball into the post and hand his side victory with the final play of the day.
DISPOSALS: Oliver 38, Jones 28, Brayshaw, Salem 23, Frost, Harmes, Melksham, Petracca 22, Viney 20
GOALS: McDonald 3, Harmes, Hunt, Hore, Melksham, Petracca
An ugly affair
Melbourne will take the one-point win, but it certainly wasn’t convincing.
With slightly dewy conditions on the Gold Coast, both sides struggled to take the ball cleanly and hit targets by foot all evening.
A combined six goals were scored for the entire first half, but the low scoring scrap was saved by an epic conclusion which saw the Dees take home the four points.
Unable to convert
It was a dominance early for the red and blue, but they kept the Suns in the game with an inability to convert.
Gold Coast took 14 intercept marks deep in defence, as the Demons regularly blazed away on the attack.
A whopping 36 inside 50s led to just three majors for the Dees in the first half, leaving plenty of room for improvement with ball in hand.
Strong in defence
While Melbourne’s offensive game is clearly down, it was impressive yet again in defence.
The Suns were restricted to just nine goals on Saturday night on the back of some ferocious pressure from the Dees, with a massive 99 tackles being laid.
38 disposals, 22 contested possessions, 15 tackles, 9 clearances, 8 inside 50s.
It was a Clayton Oliver masterclass in Round 8.
The 2017 Best and Fairest winner played a powerful game and willed his side to victory against the Suns.
Three go down
The Demons’ win was soured by some misfortune in the injury department, again.
Moments before half-time, David Swallow and Michael Hibberd collided in a mighty hit that left the latter worse for wear.
Hibberd’s collarbone was crunched, ruling him out of the game and sending him into surgery on Sunday.
Jordan Lewis and Jake Melksham were also casualties from the game, suffering ankle and foot injuries respectively which could see them sidelined next weekend.
One No.34 to another
While it was Hore who shone on the field on Saturday night, there was another No.34 in the rooms post-game.
Former Demon star Jeff White watched on as Melbourne sung the song just moments after the thrilling victory.
A word from Goody
“We had to fight right down to the wire,” Simon Goodwin told Melbourne Media at the airport post-game.
“It was certainly a game we thought we would get – a real arm wrestle. But to the boys’ credit, even with 40 seconds to go they kept executing what we needed them to do late in the game and we got the result.”
Round 9 v West Coast @ Optus Stadium – Friday, 17 May, 8:10pm AEST
It’s no secret what happened last time Melbourne flew to Perth.
On Friday night, the Demons will be looking for vengeance from last year’s Preliminary Final loss, but more importantly, put together a third consecutive win.