Essendon win by 20 points
Kevin Webb (8th game)
A wet, ugly day on a muddy MCG couldn't help the Demons to a shock win over Essendon. The centre of the ground was described as being "two or three inches of mire" and it didn't help either side's midfielders, but it did at least drag the Bombers down to Melbourne's poor level for long enough to keep the match interesting.
With the middle of the ground difficult to go through, Melbourne opted to play down the wings and created a number of opportunities but couldn't score. Essendon's small players were better, and their attack functioned well to get them a winning score in the conditions.
The Demons took to the heavy conditions better in the early stages and kicked the first goal before conceding the next two. Melbourne had trouble with finding a forward who could mark and kick goals when they got the ball forward - more often than not through best on ground Eddie Jackson along the wing.
Considering the poor state of the ground the standard of play was high, and Melbourne got to within a point at half time. Two goals in a row early in the third quarter put the Demons in front, but they couldn't hold the advantage and went into the last term 11 points behind.
Melbourne pressed until the last quarter but lacked the experience to finish their opponents off, and Essendon pulled away in the last ten minutes to win relatively easily in the end.
It was Essendon's fifth win in a row, strengthening their finals chances and all but condemning the Demons to their first wooden spoon since 1919.
Best were Jackson, Arnold and Webb. 19th man McKaige replaced McMahon in the second quarter after a concussion, 20th man O'Keefe was not used.
Essendon 12.17 d. Melbourne 2.11
Essendon 10.14 d. Melbourne 2.8