ALL OVER: Dylan Buckley of Carlton (right) hugs Jack Viney after the Blues defeated the Demons.
ALL OVER: Dylan Buckley of Carlton (right) hugs Jack Viney after the Blues defeated the Demons. TRACEY NEARMY

Demons fail to deliver to give Roos easy ride

And that's the ball game.

Any thrilling finish to the home and away rounds has been snuffed out by Melbourne again letting itself and its fans down.

And the competition in general.

After three successive wins over Gold Coast, Hawthorn and Port Adelaide, the Demons only had to beat Carlton yesterday to keep alive its hopes of a fairytale finals appearance.

Sydney had played its part by holding off eighth-placed North Melbourne a day earlier.

A win over the Blues would have seen the Demons move to within a game of the Roos ahead of the final round.

While North faces GWS this Saturday, Melbourne did face the unenviable task of taking on Geelong at home. Though, on form, the Demons would have been a chance.

Instead, as has so often been the case with Melbourne, it choked, stumbling against a side that had lost its previous nine games.

The Blues made all the early running at the MCG, leading 4.5 to 2.2, and were never headed extending their lead at every change before securing a 11.12 (78) to 7.16 (58) victory.

Bryce Gibbs (33 disposals, including 26 in the second half) and Patrick Cripps (30 disposals, 11 clearances, 12 tackles) led the way in the engine room, while opportunist Dylan Buckley booted three goals.

The Roos will now be safe in eighth place, win, lose or draw next week at Docklands.

They will still want a victor, though, as it may mean they get to stay in Melbourne in the first week of finals and play the Bulldogs instead of taking on the Giants again in Sydney.

Sydney, Adelaide, Geelong and Hawthorn look certain to finish in the top four, with the Bulldogs, GWS, West Coast and North making up the eight.