Essendon win by 13 points
Two sides who had gone from red hot premiership favourites to third behind Fitzroy in a fortnight battled in what became an ultimately meaningless last round clash. Melbourne couldn't be dislodged from the top, and Essendon had already conceded second place to the Lions. Both sides had lost the previous week, Melbourne to the future wooden spooners Richmond. Had the Bombers won the previous Saturday they would have been playing to dislodge the Demons from top spot.
Although the game meant nothing for the final make-up of the ladder, it was psychologically important, and despite a hard training week from Norm Smith as punishment for capitulation against the Tigers, Melbourne were stunned by their third straight loss to finish the season after having won 11 in a row to head the league.
The Demons had lost Terry Gleeson to a bruised calf and Clyde Laidlaw to an allergic reaction to antibiotics, and made a number of positional shifts to cover their absence but still dominated the first three quarters. Back on their favoured dry ground their fast, play-on football had combined with shocking kicking on goal by the Bombers to give them a handy lead.
When the last quarter came around, with both sides having a chance to make a big statement before the finals began, Essendon stormed home with a blistering five goal to two term to steal victory. Two early goals had seemingly made the game safe for the Demons before Essendon rallied.
What made the win even more impressive was that Melbourne's two last quarter goals were the first two of the term. The Demons held the lead until there were ten minutes to go before Essendon booted three quick goals to wrest the lead and run away with the confidence boosting victory.
Best were Lord, Ridley and Dixon. Beckwith suffered a broken nose. Neither reserve was used.
Essendon 12.11 d. Melbourne 10.12
Goals - Milner 3, Pinfold 3, J. Leahy 2, Unknown 2
Best - Milner, Leahy, Strachov