Fitzroy win by 11 points
Garry Baker (also with Footscray)
With the Demons having won three matches on the trot to put themselves in the running for a spot in the finals all the talk midweek was about Bob Skilton leading his side back into the finals.
Having beaten legitimate contenders it looked like a match against lowly Fitzroy should have been the easiest of them all, but Lions coach Kevin Rose was refusing to concede defeat and went on the offensive with mind-games before the game, declaring that his team were a certainty. "I've got no love for Melbourne. I've played in Grand Final teams that were beaten by Melbourne" he said. "Besides, we are a better side than Melbourne and that's why we'll win". It was a bold claim as the coach of a side two games behind Melbourne but his faith was repaid when the Roys held off a late comeback to win.
Fitzroy couldn't make the finals but their win achieved Rose's aim of knocking the Demons out of the race. A four goal lead at quarter time put them on their way and Melbourne barely made in-roads during the second term before going backwards in the third.
They charged home to get within four points in the last quarter, aided by atrocious kicking for goal by Fitzroy but Skilton's side had failed their audition and the dream of a September comeback was on hold for another year. The result left them two games out of the five and with a substantial percentage gap and just two games left to make it up.
Best were Fowler, Biffin and Alves.
Fitzroy 15.15 d. Melbourne 15.11
Goals - Smith 5, Lyons 3, Brewer 3, Sparks 1, Woodman 1, Tilbrook 1, Hurst 1
Best - Osborne, Sparks, Tilbrook
Melbourne 8.28 d. Fitzroy 10.15
Goals - O'Keefe 3, Campbell 1, Davidson 1, Flower 1, Tobin 1, Walley 1
Best - Davidson, Counsel, Sampson