North Melbourne win by 37 points
Glenn McLean (9th game)
For the first time fans were banned from bringing their own alcohol into the ground and Demon fans could have used a strong drink as Barassi's unorthodox coaching of Robert Flower reached its nadir with the decision to play the champion at full back on Malcolm Blight.
The Roos had slaughtered Melbourne in both their meetings during 1981 with Kerry Good contributing 19 goals in the two matches. Good was relatively subdued with just three goals in the match but Blight took the licence to run riot in the first quarter and went on to seven for the day.
Even North officials were surprised at the move. One said "If any other coach in the league had done such a thing he'd have been strung up". Within twenty minutes Blight had kicked three and Flower was moved onto Good who kicked another. It was a tactical gamble which failed miserably in the face of an onslaught by the Roos which saw them on 25 goals at the last change.
The Demons were scoring freely themselves but twenty minutes of the second term where they conceded seven goals put them out of the match. Brent Crosswell took over on Blight and was lucky that after the champion forward had kicked four of the seven goal burst to bring his own total to seven at the long break he limped off with a hamstring injury shortly after the game resumed.
Down the other end with Jackson quiet it was up to Healy to dominate in the forward line, his eight goals taking him up to 21 in four matches. Barassi blamed the umpires for their apparent maltreatment of Jackson, backing him to the tilt despite the two having engaged in a slanging match during the quarter time break a week before.
Flower went back onto the ball in the third quarter, and with Gerard Healy helped engineer the comeback that cut the gap to less than five goals. The margin was too much to overcome and North won easily.
The Demons dropped to 1-6 and the great debate about Barassi not playing Flower on the wing was about to begin in earnest. For his part the coach said it was necessary because his defensive stocks were thin, and “give me 10 Flowers and we’d have a magical side”.
Already the season was looking like another waste, and with two wins from 28 starts the master coach's career win/loss record was undergoing a battering.
Best were Wilson and Healy and Flower who recovered to kick four goals when he was thrown forward after the backline experiment failed.
The match is one of only ten VFL/AFL games to have a combined goalkicking tally of 50. Despite only losing by six goals, the match is the 11th most points that any Melbourne side has ever conceded in senior competition.
Melbourne 23.11.149 d. North Melbourne 14.11.95
Goals - Catoggio 5, McGlashan 5, Hutchison 4, Sutcliffe 3, Castles 1, Cordner 1, Elshaug 1, Fidge 1, Lawson 1, Young 1
Melbourne 27.22.184 d. North Melbourne 8.11.59
Goals - Fidge 6, Rugolo 5, Bergman 4, Connolly 4, Howard 3, Bamblett 1, Dawson 1, Fisher 1, Hutchison 1, Withers 1
Best - Hutchison, Rugolo, Thomas