Fitzroy win by 32 points
After a resurgent mid-season charge towards the final the Demons saw their chances hanging by a thread as they went down to a determined Lions side at the MCG. Two losses in a row, including a three goal performance in the wet against Carlton a week before had seen them drop out of five, but in a stroke of luck all the other contenders for the last spot lost in the wet conditions and gave the Demons a second chance.
With defenders Stephen Smith and Peter Giles out of the side due to injury (Smith played in the reserves just three weeks after an appendix operation) Melbourne had no answers for Superboot Bernie Quinlan who helped himself to a match winning 9 goal haul. Giles was replaced in the senior side by Danny Hughes.
Steven Icke, Hughes and Michael Reynolds all tried and failed to halt Quinlan's dominance and his goalkicking, along with a dominant ruck display by Matt Rendell were all the Roys needed to take a well deserved victory and leave coach Barassi seething.
Players on field also had their problems. Alan Johnson played under with the flu while Robbie Flower was forced to finish the game playing at full-forward as he could barely run with a lower back injury. Kelvin Templeton was dragged despite kicking three goals after allowing his opponent to run around doing whatever he wanted all day.
Losing was a blow, but to the 10th placed Lions was even more painful. Despite Quinlan's brilliance the Demons had to win if they were going to stake a claim for September action. Ron Barassi said "We can still make the finals and every match now is important, but we have made it damn hard for ourselves".
Amazingly Geelong lost again, and despite Footscray going a game in front of the Demons in sixth Melbourne still had a superior percentage and could make a run if they could pull things together in the last few weeks.
Melbourne 21.26.152 d. Fitzroy 17.15.117
Goals - P. Tossol 4, Wilson 4, Rugolo 3, Smith 2, Keenan 2, Dickson 1, Bailey 1, Earley 1, T. Fidge 1, Hutchison 1, Withers 1
Best - Holden, Fisher, P. Tossol
Melbourne 23.18.156 d. Fitzroy 14.10.94
Goals - Paul McCarty 6, Nichols 3, Stoney 3, Hannant 2, Howard 2, Ward 2, Edwards 2, Lyon 1, Chant 1, Marra 1
Best - Howard, Nichols, Ward