ANOTHER classy and disciplined performance has secured Melbourne a preliminary final spot after beating Brisbane 13.15 (93) to 9.6 (60) at Adelaide Oval.
The Lions will now face off against the winner of Sunday's Western Bulldogs and Essendon clash in a do-or-die semi-final next week.
Saturday night's opening quarter was a goal-for-goal affair with the Demons taking an eight-point lead into the first break, but they cranked up the pressure through the second term and entered half-time five goals in front.
DEMONS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats
The next 15 minutes of play was an arm wrestle as Brisbane tightened up its defensive game and then freed up in attack, slotting the only two goals of the third quarter and heading into the final break within reach of the minor premiers.
However, the final term played out much like the first with the Lions unable to close the gap to less than three goals.
Brownlow fancies Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca were again Melbourne's best alongside inspirational captain Max Gawn, while Bayley Fritsch kicked four goals.
Lachie Neale led all-comers for disposals with 46 in his best return of the season and Charlie Cameron slotted five majors, but they will need a few teammates to lift to near their level if Brisbane's season is to go beyond next week.
The winner of Sunday's elimination final between the Western Bulldogs and Essendon now awaits Brisbane next week.
A bruised Lions side, who will be without concussed forward Dan McStay for that upcoming semi-final, stuck with the Demons for large periods of the second half, but from the outset, Chris Fagan's team knew they were up against an accomplished opponent.
Melbourne: Fritsch 4, Pickett 2, Petracca 2, Brown, Sparrow, Oliver, Langdon, Spargo
Brisbane: Cameron 5, Bailey, Berry, McCluggage, McCarthy
Melbourne: Oliver, Petracca, Lever, Viney, Fritsch, Neal-Bullen, Gawn
Brisbane: Neale, Cameron, Rich, McCluggage, Coleman, Bailey
Brisbane: McStay (concussion)
Melbourne: Jordon (unused)
Brisbane: Mathieson (replaced McStay)