Melbourne win by 12 points
Still narrowly inside the top eight the Dees climbed to 5th with a tough win over the Bulldogs, aided by a seven goal haul from David Neitz which almost assured him of the Coleman Medal.
The Bulldogs started positively, with Nathan Brown kicking two goals in the first three minutes and when Craig Ellis suffered a serious knee injury in the first quarter which would ultimately end his career it looked like another chapter was going to be written in the topsy-turvy 2002 Melbourne season.
The Dogs opened up a 15 point lead in the opening term but they were being assisted by wasteful kicking from the Demons. Neitz had kicked two behinds and one out on the full. It was then that the Demons fired up and kicked three goals in a row. Green kicked the first after a 50m penalty, and Robertson and Neitz followed.
The second quarter was a high scoring affair with the Demons outscoring their opponents six goals to five. Neitz kicked three more and the Dees had a two goal lead at half time. The Dogs quickly struck back in the third term and took a lead early in the quarter which they held until the last break.
With the match tightly poised in the last quarter Clint Bizzell, who had spent two quarters on the bench with a bruised hand, pulled off a match-saving smother just as Mitch Hahn was about to goal.
Chris Lamb was also injured, hurting his neck when he flew high for a mark late and landed on his head. Despite having to undergo scans and tests for a seemingly serious neck injury he recovered in time to play in Round 21.
Neitz eventually racked up 7.3 and was chaired off the ground after his 200th game. Neale Daniher said "I guess from a team point of view, the willingness and the tenacity to say we're going to carry the skipper off he's bloody 15-stone, let's do it with a smile on our face."
Paul Wheatley was reported for charging Rohan Smith in the last quarter but found not guilty.