Fitzroy win by 16 points
2 - Adrian Battiston
Two victories in a row to start the season had unleashed the usual early season excitement about the Dees being 'back in town'. That they had only beaten Richmond and St Kilda, fallen giants and three time consecutive wooden spooners respectively, didn't matter. Fitzroy too had fallen on hard times in 1985 and Melbourne needed to beat them to stamp themselves as a contender.
Despite that the Lions had also won both their matches to start the year, and with both sides facing top teams in Round 4 they needed a confidence boosting victory.
The Demons first ever visit to Victoria Park to play a side other than Collingwood, Fitzroy had moved in during the off-season, started with both teams enthusiastic but lacking on talent. The scores were deservedly locked together at the first break, but injuries were already starting to take their toll on the 'home' side. Clayton, Harris and Conlan were already hurt and Matt Rendell sporting a broken nose from an overly enthusiastic opponent.
The Lions stole a break in the second term, and only poor kicking stopped them from finishing the game by half time. 4.9 to 3.4 extender the lead to 14 points. Going into time-on in the quarter the Demons were a goal ahead and Michael Reynolds had kicked three goals from three shots. Then the Lions booted three goals to take a lead into half time.
The margin was back to seven at three-quarter time but the Demons couldn't get any closer. The match remained tight and the 16 point margin at the final siren was the biggest all day.
Speaking about his first loss as Demon coach John Northey said "You've got to take risks. Once you try to make sure of something you are not going anywhere. I gave them a bit of a serve after the match, but overall it was a reasonable performance".
Best were Battiston, Bailey and Kol.
Reynolds took the shine off his four goal performance by being reported for striking Gary Pert. He received a severe reprimand when the tribunal ruled he had been provoked into a fight by another Fitzroy player who had chested him after kicking the opening goal of the match. In the ensuing melee Pert was struck by Reynolds.
Melbourne 25.17.167 d. Fitzroy 9.7.61
Goals - Comi 6, Dickson 4, Rugolo 4, Wright 2, Healy 2, Jarrott 2, Eishold 1, Russell 1, Gumley 1, Ryan 1, Sparks 1
Best - Dixon, Yeats, Wright
Melbourne 13.109 d. Fitzroy 11.11.77
Goals - Stoney 8, Barclay 3, Duerkop 2, Westmore 1, Oprychal 1, Nankervis 1
Best - Aitken, Duerkop, Stoney
"Pressure brings errors, but Lions unmistakeably the better" - The Age 14/04/1986
"Reynolds clear for clash" - The Age 15/04/1986
Football Record R4 1986