SCG win shows how far Sparrow, Demons have come

A year ago, Melbourne probably would have lost their round-24 match against Sydney.

Their ability to claw back momentum and beat the Swans at the SCG two Sundays ago was instructive about what has changed at the Demons ahead of this AFL finals series.

They will play minor premiers Collingwood at the MCG in Thursday's qualifying final a much healthier and sharper side than the one that spluttered into last September.

After a red-hot start to the season, the Demons ran out of gas and their premiership defence ended in straight-sets ignominy.

Sydney led by 17 points in the third term at home, with Melbourne losing in-form forward Jake Melksham to a season-ending knee reconstruction.

Not many visitors win from that position at the SCG, but Demons onballer Tom Sparrow said it is a product of what they have learned from last year's fadeout.

"We saw Sydney get three goals in five minutes in the third quarter and it looks like they're going to run away with this," Sparrow told AAP.

"But (it's) the team's ability and the coaches' ability to really get centred and say 'nup, that's already happened, stay in the now, what's our process? How do we attack it from here?' We trust that will allow us to win this game.

"The weekend showcased that. We didn't change anything, we just kept playing the same as we've been told and we've been playing for the whole year.

"The thing is, our game style holds up in big games and we saw that (against Sydney), which is really reassuring."

Of course, now they come up against a team whose ability to win from anywhere is now the Magpies' trademark.

"You watch in awe sometimes at how they do it," he said of Collingwood's comeback ability.

"You think it's a bit of a fluke here and there, and then they do it so many times. They obviously have a really good mindset about being behind and they just play the same way, no matter what.

"Coming up against a side like that, it's going to be really important for us to make sure we can't waver in our ability to perform against (Collingwood)."

Sparrow, 23, has become an integral member of the Demons midfield, headlined by stars such as Christian Petracca, Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney and Angus Brayshaw.

He has played at least 21 games for the last three seasons and was a member of their drought-breaking premiership team.

While Sparrow clearly relishes contested work, his two-way running makes him a danger when he goes forward.

"I don't know - (me) flying under the radar, it's maybe externally," Sparrow said.

"But internally, the things I can bring to the table, it's something the club values."

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store