Premier Melbourne’s shocking straight-sets final end left Christian Petraka “sick in the gut” as the Demons’ flag defense ended in a late fade-out.
Petraka ended the semi-final loss to Brisbane with a team-high 27 disposals despite playing with a hairline fracture to his right fibula after shaking a corky calf the previous week.
Last year’s Norm Smith medalist suffered an injury in the qualifying final against Sydney last week and his status has been in the limelight all week, but he always intended to play against the Lions.
However, Melbourne blew a 28-point lead just before half-time, falling 13 points to the side that won their fourth straight run dating back to the start of last season.
Petraka told KIIS 101.1FM:
“But I think probably the biggest thing is to really appreciate what we accomplished last year and realize that nothing was given. You have to earn it.
“Everyone is really even and strong this year, sometimes it’s my age, sometimes it’s not… I have to appreciate it more when I actually celebrate or when I win.”
Petraka downplayed the severity of the injury, but admitted that his right leg was “painful.”
“Sure, I was always going to play,” he said.
“I mean, let’s be honest, everyone plays hurt. You’re never 100% right the whole game.
“I think it hurt more than usual, but to be honest, I don’t really care. I wanted to play in the final and win.
“I took a long time to recover. I’m a little swollen, but I’m fine.”
The Demons also gave up a 16-point lead in their qualifying final loss against the Swans and repeatedly lamented their failure to fully capitalize on their midfield dominance.
https://thewest.com.au/news/afl-2022-injured-melbourne-star-christian-petracca-sick-in-the-guts-over-demons-finals-loss-to-brisbane-c-8212772 AFL 2022: Injured Melbourne star Christian Petraka ‘sick in the gut’ after Demons final loss to Brisbane