Demons beat GWS, stay in AFL finals hunt

Melbourne have taken a massive step towards playing in this year's AFL finals after a five-point win over Greater Western Sydney at the Gabba.

The Demons rebounded from their disappointing loss to Sydney last weekend with the 12.7 (79) to 11.8 (74) win, which puts them eighth on the ladder.

The victory lifts Melbourne to 32 points after 16 games, ahead of the Giants and the Western Bulldogs on percentage.

The Bulldogs face Hawthorn on Sunday but this win gives the Demons every chance of making the finals if they can win their last home-and-away match next Saturday against Essendon.

Regardless of whether the Demons make the finals, coach Simon Goodwin felt the gutsy win was a big step forward for his team.

"It's still a work in progress for us as a club but we're starting to win some different ways," Goodwin said. "I spoke last week about growing up as a footy club and it was to execute our roles and play like we did in pressure situations.

"I thought some of the maturity of some of our younger guys especially was outstanding, but we've got to create a new pathway forward as a club and play this way week-in, week-out.

"All we've done is given ourselves an opportunity to play the same way again next week."

Teenager Trent Rivers had a night to remember with his first two AFL goals, including a vital snap in the fourth quarter which proved to be the matchwinner.

The 18-year-old's efforts were matched by Oskar Baker and Charlie Spargo while in-form Charlie Petracca (22 disposals, one goal, six clearances) and key defender Steven May were among the Demons' best.

Brent Daniels, who scored a matchwinner at the Gabba in last year's semi-final against Brisbane, kicked a game-high three goals for the Giants.

His first, a remarkable dribble kick from the right pocket which rolled 50m before curving back to cross the goal line was one of the highlights of the game.

But the 21-year-old was also placed on report for a high bump on Petracca and will face a nervous wait to see if he can play next Friday's must-win game against St Kilda.

Saturday's loss leaves last year's grand finalists outside the eight with one game to play and last year's grand finalists are in serious danger of missing the top eight.

Only a win against the Saints and other results falling their way will allow the Giants to sneak into the eight.

Frustrated coach Leon Cameron said his team had lacked composure when it mattered after clawing their way to a seven-point lead at three-quarter time.

"In the end, we weren't good enough when it mattered in the last quarter," Cameron said. "I can't question some of the effort ... but it's pointless having effort and then lacking composure. Pointless having effort and then lack of fundamentals.

"In terms of this week, we're on again in six days time against St Kilda and we'll play to the end. Where that leads to? That's out of our hands."