Brown bags four as Demons thrash Suns

Melbourne's Ben Brown (r) kicked four goals in their crushing 128-30 win over the Gold Coast Suns.
Melbourne's Ben Brown (r) kicked four goals in their crushing 128-30 win over the Gold Coast Suns.

Luke Jackson and Ben Brown combined for eight goals as Melbourne regained their scoring mojo in a 98-point thrashing of hapless Gold Coast at Marvel Stadium.

The Demons entered Sunday's match with big question marks about their scoring potency after averaging just 69 points over their past six games.

Saturday's flight debacle - the Demons flew to Brisbane and spent two hours on the tarmac before flying straight back to Melbourne due to Queensland's snap lockdown - added another hurdle in the team's bid to return to form.

But any doubts of tiredness or fatigue were extinguished in emphatic fashion as the Demons unleashed a scoring masterclass on the way to a 18.20 (128) to 4.6 (30) victory.

Melbourne led 80-21 at halftime, with Jackson entering the long break with four goals to his name.

Jackson, whose previous best return was two goals, finished the match with 4.0, 14 hitouts and 17 disposals after spending most of the second half in the ruck, while Brown booted 4.1 and took six marks in his best return since 2019.

"I thought Browny's game has been building the last three or four weeks," Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said.

"The combination between himself, Luke Jackson, and Tom McDonald worked really strongly.

"It's full credit to Browny. He's put in a hell of a lot of work building his body and building his game back to a level that can play really competitive, strong AFL footy. I'm proud of the work he's done."

Demons midfielder Clayton Oliver boosted his Brownlow medal hopes with 35 disposals, 12 clearances and one goal while Christian Petracca also had a big day.

Gold Coast had few winners but midfielder Touk Miller battled manfully all day to finish with 34 disposals, six clearances and 10 tackles.

Since leading Brisbane by 27 points at halftime last week, Gold Coast have been outscored 215-41 in their last six quarters of football.

The Suns trailed Melbourne by just six points late in the first quarter after kicking three of the first seven goals of the match.

But their fourth and final goal didn't arrive until there was just a tick over four minutes remaining in the match.

In between, Melbourne kicked 14 consecutive goals in one of the most one-sided matches this season.

The final inside 50m count (71-27) made for damning reading, and the result heaps further pressure on Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew, who is contracted until the end of 2022.

Demons forward Tom McDonald was subbed off at three-quarter time with a back injury in the only real blemish for Melbourne.

"It was a massacre at centre bounce," Dew said.

"We looked lethargic at the start of the game and off pace.

"The last six quarters have not been impressive. I'm not going to hide from it. We got taught a football lesson.

"We've got to make sure we get the helmets on and fight this one out. We're hurting ... but it's not fatal."

Australian Associated Press