Demons beat Bombers, into AFL top eight

Melbourne have done their part on the field, now the Demons' 2020 AFL finals fate hangs on the result of Sunday's game between the Western Bulldogs and Fremantle.

The Demons moved above the Bulldogs into eighth spot on the ladder as they ended their home-and-away fixture with a 19-point win over Essendon at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.

The 10.8 (68) to 7.7 (49) victory wasn't without its drama as the Bombers mounted a fourth-quarter comeback to close within seven points, having trailed by as much as 34 in the third term.

Two late goals to Bayley Fritsch secured the win for the Demons, who have kept their season alive to this point after a disappointing loss to Sydney in Cairns earlier this month appeared to have scuppered their chances.

If the Dockers beat the Bulldogs in Cairns, Simon Goodwin's team will make the finals but regardless of that result the Demons' coach believes 2020 has been an encouraging one overall for the club.

"If we're good enough to make it, then so be it, we progress," Goodwin said.

"But if we're not, we've given it our best shot.

"We sat here 12 months ago in 17th position. We've progressed as a footy club.

"We aspire to play finals, we're a chance to do that. If it doesn't happen, we need to get better.

"And that's pretty much where it sits for us."

The Demons endured a nervy start against a Bombers team with nothing to lose in coach John Worsfold's final match at the helm.

Trailing by two points at quarter-time, Melbourne took control of the match with a six goal to none second quarter.

They'd extended their margin to almost six goals before a James Stewart goal after the third-quarter siren sparked the Bombers into life.

Stewart kicked two more in the final term along with Devon Smith and Dylan Shiel as Essendon threatened to ruin the Demons' season.

Fritsch's two late goals settled the contest, however, as he finished with three for the game, one behind Jayden Hunt who kicked four for the Demons.

After the match Worsfold, a premiership winning coach with West Coast in 2006, who led the Bombers out of their post-ASADA turmoil following his appointment in 2015, was given a guard of honour by both teams.

The 51-year-old leaves with assistant Ben Rutten taking over as the Bombers' head coach from 2021 onwards and is confident the future is bright for a club that hasn't won a finals match since 2004.

"Essendon are going to be a better team next year, I've got no doubt, and hopefully their aim will be to get better and better year on year," Worsfold said.

"My aim this year has been to expose Ben as much as possible to what his role is going to be full on next year.

"And to his credit, he's lapped everything up."