AAP AFL

Melksham stars late in Demons’ AFL win

By AAP Newswire

Tthree quarters of hard work paid off massively for Jake Melksham and Melbourne in the AFL semi-final win over Hawthorn.

The Demons forward was outstanding in the final term, kicking two goals, setting up another out-marking opponent James Sicily twice.

Melksham's last-quarter heroics were crucial, coming after Hawthorn had kicked three quick goals and reduced the margin to only 12 points.

"I was playing on him (Sicily) most of the night, trying to wear him down, Melksham said.

"My first three quarters were so-so, I gave away a couple of free kicks on him.

"But to get a couple late and put it to bed, it was a good feeling."

The win also left Melksham with plenty of take in as he and the Demons celebrated.

"I'm loving it - I'm still in a little bit of shock that we're actually going into a prelim," he said.

Melksham is one of a handful of Melbourne players who had prior finals experience, but it wasn't pretty.

He played for Essendon when Carlton belted them in their 2011 elimination final.

"My first final, we lost by 10 goals - we've won two finals and now we're going to West Coast," he said.

"The script is there for us, we know what we have to do and I just can't wait to get over there."

It is also a far cry from two years ago, when he and best friend Michael Hibberd were among the 34 players who served doping bans because of the Essendon supplements debacle.

Melksham joined Melbourne in late 2015 and Hibberd came across a year later.

Hibberd also impressed against Hawthorn with a strong game in defence.

"It's really special to be sharing it with Michael," Melksham said.

"I'm so glad he came to the club.

"He played a super game. He stood tall and it really lifted me.

"When your best mate runs over at the end of the game after we've had a good win and we're in a prelim and you hug it out, it's just an awesome feeling."

Melbourne will play West Coast in Perth, only a few weeks after a big away win over the Eagles.

"It might plant a bit of a seed of doubt in their (West Coast's) minds as well," Melksham said of the round-22 win.

"I know I certainly would be thinking about it."