Essendon win by 5 points
Going into the match with four losses in a row, Melbourne hadn't won a game since the match which put them on top of the ladder. For one of the few times in the history of the Final 8, the 8th placed team was sent in warm favourites.
The Demons' task was made even more difficult by the absence of David Neitz. The skipper had torn a calf muscle in the Round 21 loss to Carlton, and missed the Round 22 trip to Perth. He was named, but failed a late fitness test.
Chris Heffernan also missed the clash with his old side after being suspended for striking Eagle Daniel Chick.
Essendon, not in great form themselves, kicked five of the first six before Melbourne repaid the favour. Essendon then swung the game around again and booted six in a row to punish the wasteful Demons. Late in the quarter Daniel Ward was denied a goal when Brad Miller was penalised for a high shephard, Matthew Lloyd goalled at the other end to punish them again.
Seemingly beaten the Demons sparked in the third term on the back of Jeff White dominating the ruck. Guy Rigoni came off the bench to boot a goal from 50m out on the run and Melbourne kicked seven goals in a row to turn a 31 point deficit into an 8 point lead at the last change.
David Hille kicked three goals in the last quarter to give the Bombers the lead and they held on to win by less than a goal.
Yze, McDonald and Johnstone were the best. Brad Miller was suspended for one match for striking.