SITTING at the top of the ladder with 44 points (11 wins, two losses) and a percentage of 132.2, the Demons have had a strong first half to the season. But the lead into finals can often be the most integral part of the year, so as we head into the last ten rounds, we take a look at Melbourne’s run home…

Round 14: BYE

Round 15: Essendon – 11th (five wins, seven losses)
The Demons last defeated Essendon by 19 points in the final round of the 2020 season. While the Bombers sit at 11th on the ladder, they have demonstrated they can bring a challenge to top-eight sides, having recently defeated West Coast by 16 points.

Round 16: GWS Giants – 10th (five wins, six losses, one draw)
Melbourne will most likely have a tough contest on their hands, with GWS not only looking to improve upon their 34-point loss to the Dees at the beginning of the season, but also fighting for a spot in the top eight. 

Round 17: Port Adelaide – 5th (eight wins, four losses)
The last time these two teams battled it out was in Round 9 of the 2020 season, with the Demons going down by 51 points. Many things have changed since that game and with Port having also had an impressive start to the 2021 season, it’s bound to be a tighter battle this time round.

Round 18: Hawthorn – 17th (three wins, nine losses)
A 50-point win over Hawthorn in Round 5 puts Melbourne in a strong position ahead of the game. However, the Hawks have proven to be a team not to underestimate, having most recently defeated top-eight side Sydney by 38 points.

Round 19: Gold Coast Suns – 15th (four wins, eight losses)
It was a 17-point win for the Demons when they last faced the Suns in Round 6 of the 2020 season. Despite currently sitting at 15th on the ladder, Gold Coast have demonstrated some positive performances in 2021, such as their 30-point win over Sydney.

Round 20: Western Bulldogs – 2nd (10 wins, two losses)
The Bulldogs are one of Melbourne’s biggest competitions this season, currently sitting second on the ladder with the highest percentage of 150. The trick for the Demons will be to mirror their performance in Round 11, when they defeated the Bulldogs by 28 points at the MCG. 

Round 21: West Coast Eagles – 7th (eight wins, five losses)
In Round 1 of the 2020 season, the Eagles defeated Melbourne by 27 points, the last game played before the AFL’s COVID-19 shutdown. A top-eight contest that, if all goes to plan, will be played at Optus Stadium, giving the Dees a bigger challenge travelling across to WA.

Round 22: Adelaide Crows – 12th (five wins, eight losses)
A one-point loss to the Crows was the first defeat for the Demons in 2021. It was a tough loss for Melbourne, who fought until the final siren, making this second game against Adelaide even more important to win.

Round 23: Geelong – 3rd (nine wins, three losses)
This will be the second time these sides have met in 2021, with Melbourne walking away 25-point victors in Round 4. Geelong will no doubt be looking to steal the win this time round, with the side currently on a five-win streak and sitting at third on the ladder.