Melbourne misses chance to join AFL finalists, losing to Freo in sodden Cairns clash

The Melbourne Demons have squandered a golden opportunity to climb into the AFL top eight, as they were taken down by Fremantle 6.11 (47) to 4.9 (33).

After the Bulldogs leapfrogged them into ninth spot with an upset win over West Coast on Sunday, the Demons had a chance to go one better and jump into eighth — tied on 32 points with the Dogs and Giants — with a win over the Dockers.

But pouring rain in Cairns helped to bridge any gap in quality between the two teams and made for a sloppy affair.

Thanks in no small part to the slippery conditions, only two goals were kicked in the first half, with Fremantle kicking one major and nine behinds.

Their accuracy improved as the rain eased after the long break, kicking 5.2 in the third and fourth quarters, as they kept the Demons at arm’s length for most of the night.

Michael Walters kicked half of the Dockers’ goals on the night, while four Demons — Bayley Fritsch, Jayden Hunt, Aaron van den Berg and Sam Weideman — potted one major each.

Melbourne was below its season average in almost every statistical category, with disposal efficiency one of the most glaring differences: 53.3 per cent on the night, compared to 71.2 per cent for the year.

Fremantle is now 13th on the ladder, while Melbourne sits 10th.

Making a finals run even less likely is the fact that GWS has a game in hand, having only played 14 to the Demons’ 15.

The Giants will try to put some distance between themselves and the chasing pack with a win over last-placed Adelaide on Tuesday.