Fairy tales can save a final

If I had told you late in pre-season that Lily Mithen and Sarah Perkins would kick goals to help Melbourne swoop like thieves in the night to win a semi-final, you would be rightfully skeptical.

Mithen? The injured terrier midfielder who across three seasons and 21 games in the red and blue has kicked – checks notes ­– zero goals? And Sarah Perkins? After a year in the AFLW wilderness? Will she even play?

Perkins’ semi-final impact was limited but any team watching the key forward’s output this season since joining Melbourne as a train-on player will notice a crucial pattern: she is clutch.

Her goal from 40 metres out in the pocket with just over three minutes remaining was just never going to miss and gives her an even average of a major a game across her three matches (number of players who can make the same claim this season? 11).

Mithen’s mark in the final minute was almost impossible. The pixie-sized rover looked to have gotten under the incoming ball but stuck the contested grab one-out and then, with her shoulder devil surely muttering in her ear that this was probably her side’s last chance, sunk the set shot from 35 to seal the finals victory she and her team have been striving for since 2017.

Finals are where the greatest fairy tales are made.

And as Mithen and Perkins – the foundation Demon and the second-chance hero – celebrated Melbourne’s first ever finals victory with their teammates, we were reminded of just how sweet triumph can be.