Melbourne win by 5 points
Having been beaten by Richmond in the Semi Final, Melbourne had to beat a strong Essendon side to earn another shot at the Tigers in the Grand Final 1940. Despite having suffered a serious concussion at the hands of Tiger hard-man Jack Dyer in the Norm Smith returned to kick 1.5 in the first quarter en route to 3.7 for the match.
On a heavy ground, Melbourne ran out first and were left waiting for five minutes before Essendon followed. The Same Olds kicked the first goal, turning back an attack set up by Baggott in the ruck, before Mueller won the ball from a boundary throw-in to level the scores. Melbourne had more chances in the first quarter, but the sides traded goals and Melbourne held a nine point lead at the first break.
It was another rough game, and early in the second a brawl broke out. Once calm had been restored the game took on a much more spiteful tone, and for the rest of the second quarter the umpire lost control. Melbourne ended the half three points in front, and extended the gap by a point in the third quarter.
After an even three quarters, storms hit the ground in the last term. Essendon hit the lead twice in the last quarter and the Demons were down to 16 fit men due to injuries to first Wally Lock and then his replacement Bill Baxter who had to be sent to the forward line to rest. Harold Ball was forced to full-back to cover the key role. As the Bombers took hold of the game in a frantic last quarter played in mudheap conditions, Ball was a tower of strength during the tense last quarter and reportedly took 15 marks for the game, more than the other 35 players in the game combined.
In the frantic final minutes late goals to Percy Beames and Ron Baggott gave the Demons victory, and they held on for victory despite the Bombers kicking the last goal to drag the margin back under a goal.
Had they lost, the Demons would have had the right to be upset after an Essendon goal was paid after Demon Emselle soccered the ball through the goal. In the goal umpire's defence it must have been difficult to decide who was who in the muddy conditions.
Fischer, Ball and Emselle were the Demons best. Baxter replaced Lock (sprained ankle) in the third quarter.
B: Emselle, Lock, Fischer
HB: McLean, G. Jones, Hingston
C: Anderson, La Fontaine, Wartman
HF: Gibb, Baggott, Dowsing
F: Ball, Smith, Rodda
Foll: Mueller, Furniss, Beames
Sporting Globe - 18/09/1940
Argus - 20/09/1940
Herald - 20/09/1940
Argus - 21/09/1940
Sporting Globe - 21/09/1940
Age - 21/09/1940
Age - 23/09/1940
Advocate - 26/09/1940
Australasian - 28/09/1940
Football Record 1940 Grand Final
Football Record R7 1978