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Western Bulldogs, Melbourne advance to AFL grand final

September 11, 2021 GMT

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — The Western Bulldogs beat Port Adelaide by 71 points to advance to the Australian Football League grand final against the Melbourne Demons.

The Bulldogs kicked the first five goals of the match and seven overall in the opening quarter on their way to a 17.14 (116) to 6.9 (45) victory at Adelaide Oval on Saturday.

The Australian rules football championship match will be played on Sept. 25 in Perth, Western Australia, due to a COVID-19 outbreak in Melbourne, the traditional home of the grand final. Last year’s grand final was also moved — to Brisbane — when the coronavirus pandemic also forced lockdowns in Victoria state.

On Friday, Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn led the Demons to a 19.11 (125) to 6.6 (42) win over the Geelong Cats before 58,599 fans at the same Perth stadium that will host the championship match in two weeks.

In just six minutes of playing time during the third quarter of Friday’s match, Gawn kicked four goals to help turn a 29-point halftime lead into a 70-point margin.

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Melbourne has not won an AFL title in 57 years -- the Demons’ last title came in 1964 when they beat Collingwood by four points. Melbourne lost the grand final to Essendon by 60 points in 2000.

The Bulldogs won the AFL title in 2016.

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