Melbourne win by 76 points
Best and Fairest
39 - Anthony Ingerson
36 - Adem Yze
34 - Jeff Farmer
29 - David Neitz
20 - Shane Woewodin
In front of a massive crowd anxious to see if the Tigers could earn a rare finals berth, Richmond could have suffered a narrow loss and still qualified but a first quarter Demon blast, including a late mark of the year contender for Jeff Farmer, put the game beyond their grasp.
With David Schwarz a late withdrawal, victim of a hamstring injury, the forward line was wide open for Farmer and David Neitz to run riot and the two spearheads had a perfect trial for a big September by putting the Tigers defenders to the sword. Melbourne would have dropped to seventh if they lost, and played like a team deserving of the double chance on offer for a victory.
By closing the gap at half time the Tigers would still have narrowly fallen into the 8 on percentage, but with their skipper Matthew Knights being blanketed by Shane Woewodin they fell apart and conceded 14 goals to 4 after half time to finish 9th. Farmer and Neitz were irresistable up front, Jeff White dominated the ruck and Anthony Ingerson received maximum Brownlow Medal votes for his dominant work in defence.
The Tigers had blown their big chance, but the Demons were back into September for the first time since 1994 and had booked themselves a date with the Adelaide Crows at the MCG.
Daniher said "We've got to fourth, and a new season starts now. Our fellows don't think the journey's come to an end. We're just starting again, and they're pretty hungry."
Melbourne 15.14.104 d. Richmond 14.15.99
Best - Nettelbeck, Beams, Johnstone
Goals - Nettelbeck 5, Beams 3, Longmuir 2, Brown 1, Lamaro 1, Smith 1, Ottens 1, Johnstone 1