Melbourne win by 2 points
After four games without a win the mighty Demons were suddenly faced with the prospect of missing out on the finals altogether. After dropping games to teams who weren't even in the four their task of having to beat the second placed team almost proved fatal to their season.
Melbourne made four changes - including the return of Ian Ridley who boosted their previously failing unit of rovers and kicked two goals. With Frank Adams still unfit Ray Dawson was called into the side as the other rover, with Ray Nilsson on a wing and Brian Roet on the half back line. Terry Gleeson, Herb Matthews, George Milner and Graham Pinfold were axed from the side.
The Cats were bolstered by the return of three key players, and though they had to kick into a tricky cross wind in the first quarter, restricted the game to two goals each. Alan Rowarth had an inaccurate start, kicking three behinds in the opening term. Geelong's fast, play-on football opened an 11 point lead at the long break, and only two goals from Geoff Tunbridge kept Melbourne close.
The visitors got the first goal of the third quarter in quick time, and extended the margin to four goals before Tunbridge again sparked his side. saw them recapture the lead with four goals from 10 scoring shots. Geelong missed the chance to create space when Doug Wade twice missed shots on goal, and when Barassi took a tap from Robert B Johnson to goal late in the term his side was back in front by two points.
Melbourne got the first goal of the last term through Ridley, still favouring his knee, but conceded the return via a 15 metre penalty paid against John Lord for objecting to an umpiring decision. The two sides ran each other to a standstill in the last quarter but both scored 2.3, allowing the Demons to fall over the line with the same margin they had at three-quarter time. In the last seconds, with Melbourne leading by a point Laurie Mithen had a shot on goal which stuck the arm of a policeman who had wandered onto the ground at the final siren. It bounced through for a point but Geelong - though it didn't influence the result - argued that it shouldn't have been counted at all. It meant Melbourne lost 0.49%, possibly crucial in the run home to the finals.
Tunbridge, Lord and Miller were best. Dixon, who had been a doubtful starter before the game, was replaced by Carroll in the third quarter after suffering a groin injury and Ridley (who suffered a recurrence of his knee troubles) was replaced by Turner in the last quarter.
Melbourne remained in second place while Geelong dropped out of the four.
Tunbridge 3.3, Barassi 2.3, Rowarth 2.6, Laidlaw 2.0, Ridley 2.0, R. Johnson 1.0, Mann 1.0, Nilsson 1.0, Dawson 0.1, Mithen 0.1, Turner 0.1, Rushed 0.1
Geelong 16.13 d. Melbourne 8.7
Goals - Breen 3, Eastgate 1, Gleeson 1, Ireland 1, Massey 1, Thorpe 1
Best - Mooney, Jones, Collins
Melbourne 12.17 d. Geelong 10.8
Goals - T. Johnston 4, Corrigan 3, O'Brien 2, Russell 2, Hancy 1
Best - T. Johnston, Corrigan, Hill