Melbourne win by 1 points
The two teams returned from interstate matches during the VFL's exhibition round, Melbourne from a loss in Hobart against Fitzroy and Essendon from a big win over Geelong in Brisbane. They returned to Melbourne weather which caused the match to be played in mud and slush. The Bombers were in form, but were fielding a weakened side due to injuries.
A workmanlike performance helped the Demons come away from Windy Hill with the narrowest of victories. The result was no doubt affected by an injury crisis which caused the Bombers to field their weakest team in five years, but for two sides trying to get into the top four victory would be welcomed under any circumstances.
Accurate kicking from Essendon kept them in front for three quarters, and midway through the third they were more than five goals to the good in atrocious conditions. Two late goals by Noel Clarke helped slash the margin to just under three goals and early majors by McKenzie and McGiven cut the margin to under a goal.
With three minutes left the Demons hit the lead through a Clarke 'poster' and survived a scare when Essendon ruckman Gill dropped a mark 15 yards from goal in the last minute.
Given the margin of victory there was controversy surrounding a point kicked by Melbourne's Christie after the half time siren. His kick bounced through off hands for a behind, and many thought that the ball should have been dead when it was touched. The rules of the day stated that if the ball was in transit after the siren the score would count.
Best were McMahen, Spencer and Cordner
Melbourne 5.22 d. Essendon 7.5
Goalkickers - Unknown
Best - Lehmann, Lack, McLean
Essendon 8.7 d. Melbourne 4.4
One Point games