There were moving scenes at the Melbourne Demons’ premiership homecoming when club legend Neale Daniher received a touching tribute.
AFL legend Neale Daniher received a heartwarming standing ovation as his beloved Melbourne Demons finally celebrated their premiership triumph in front of their home fans.
Two months after winning the grand final at Perth’s Optus Stadium, more than 30,000 Melbourne fans flocked to the MCG on Sunday to honour the Dees’ first flag in 57 years.
The large group of supporters watched the replay of the grand final win over the Western Bulldogs on the MCG’s big screen and cheered on every goal.
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They also had the chance to get a photo with their premiership stars.
Daniher and fellow club legend David Neitz presented Demons captain Max Gawn and coach Simon Goodwin with the premiership cup.
There was a touching moment when Daniher was given a lengthy standing ovation by the throng of Melbourne fans.
The 60-year-old became visibly emotional at the outpouring of support and looked close to tearing up, bending over to acknowledge the crowd before being embraced by Goodwin.
Daniher followed the Demons’ finals campaign closely from afar and rode every result with the team.
He was unable to attend the grand final in Perth and Sunday’s celebration was the perfect opportunity to be recognised by the Demons faithful.
Daniher coached Melbourne for 228 games over 10 seasons and led the Demons to their last grand final in 2000, which they lost to Essendon.
He was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in 2013 and his illness was made public the following year.
Daniher has made it his life mission to increase awareness and raise funding for the MND, co-founding the charity Fight MND.
The annual Queen’s Birthday match between Melbourne and Collingwood has been known as “The Big Freeze” since 2015 and is dedicated to raising money for research into finding a cure for MND.
Footy fans said the moving ovation was a fitting acknowledgment of Daniher’s contribution to the Demons and the AFL.
“Neale is a legend and I am glad this is another opportunity to recognise and celebrate that,” comedian and Western Bulldogs supporter Wil Anderson tweeted.