Melbourne win by 1 points
After six straight wins to start the season, Melbourne almost suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of the lowly Swans. After a tight game South had exploded in the second half and built up a 29 point lead with five minutes left.
With only six goals on the board for the entire game, and Dick Atkinson forced to sit in the forward pocket with a broken ribs for the entire second half because they had run out of players on the bench, the situation looked hopeless before an burst of five goals in the last five minutes delivered the narrowest of victories.
The first goal was kicked by Terry Gleeson after Atkinson set him up with his only touch of the half and they went in front with a goal on the siren. South had been beaten despite being the better side. They only had themselves to blame though, the victory had been assisted by a South player running into an open goal in the last quarter and trying to bounce the ball only for it to rebound over his head and into the arms of a Melbourne player.
The Swans were unlucky to lose, having been the better team from early in the second quarter until 10 minutes into last, but they fell apart under pressure, a dominant ruck display by Denis Cordner and attacking play by Noel McMahen from centre half-back. Bob Johnson had barely been sighted all day before kicking two late goals that got his side over the line.
Peter Marquis, Clyde Laidlaw and Denis Cordner were best. Noel Clarke was replaced by Lane in the first quarter after suffering a bruised kidney and a hip injury. Stuart Spencer also suffered a concussion and a lacerated mouth during the second quarter and was replaced by Gleeson. Atkinson (broken ribs) and Dixon (leg injury) had to remain on field after half time despite their injuries.
South Melbourne 10.7 d. Melbourne 7.13
Goals - Unknown
Best - I. Hamilton, Johnson, Hayes
South Melbourne 6.8 d. Melbourne 5.3
One Point games
Football Record 1976 said Atkinson ' stood on the fence' due to broken ribs and an injured shoulder.