Footscray win by 51 points
With the Demons having risen from 11th on the ladder in 1953 to the Grand Final, Footscray went in heavy favourites. They had enjoyed an extra week off during the finals series and the popular view was that the Demons had run their race. The Dogs were also welcoming back captain Charlie Sutton who hadn't played a full game for eight weeks. Predictions proved correct, months of "must win" games, coupled with two physical finals in less than ideal conditions had left them exhausted and they were no match for a Bulldog side playing for their first premiership.
Noel Clarke goalled first for the Demons but at quarter time they trailed by 29 points and the game was all but finished. Footscray's half-back line held firm and denied their opponents opportunities. Footscray goalled first early in the first quarter, and while Melbourne attacked strongly after that they had three attacks defused in the goalsquare. The margin was stretched to 35 points.
Just when it looked as if the margin might blow out to record proportions Melbourne struck back with three goals to draw the margin back to 17 points. The Dogs goalled again just before half-time to go into the long break with the momentum again.
The Bulldogs shot away early in the third before two goals for Melbourne kept them in it. From there though it was all Footscray, and though the Demons kicked the first goal after starting the last quarter 38 points behind their shuffled lineup couldn't hold the Dogs back and the margin extended over 50 points.
Best for the Demons were Cordner, Barassi and Mithen. 19th man Dixon replaced Lane (cramp), and 20th man Adams replaced Barassi (cramp) during the last quarter. Future Demon John Kerr was best on ground for the Bulldogs.
The free kick count was 30-27 to Melbourne and Footscray won the marks 70 to 57.
B: John Beckwith, Lance Arnold, Ken Christie
HB: Geoff Collins (c), Noel McMahen, Don Williams
C: Ralph Lane, Ken Melville, Ian McLean
HF: Laurie Mithen, Geoff McGivern, Geoff Case
F: Bob Johnson, Noel Clarke, Ken Albiston
Foll: Don Cordner, Ron Barassi, Stuart Spencer
S: Frank Adams, Brian Dixon
Coach: Norm Smith
The Age gives the crowd as 82,697