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 one that was very much in the hunt almost proved too much.
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 they were on top during the first half with fast, play-on football that gave them an 11 point lead at the long break. Only two goals from Geoff Tunbridge kept Melbourne close. The visitors extended the margin to four goals during the third quarter before a quick burst - sparked by Tunbridge again - by Melbourne saw them recapture the lead with four goals from 10 scoring shots.
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 polceiman who had wandered onto the ground with 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 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.
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
"Top players return for Geelong" - The Age 09/08/1961
"Sensation at the MCG" - 09/08/1961
"Melbourne saved by late rally" - The Age 14/08/1961
"Injured players Demons' problem" - The Age 15/08/1961
Football Record R17 1961