Melbourne win by 14 points
The first stirring of discontent about Barassi's performance came in the week after the Demons fifth straight loss when Derryn Hinch, who had already lost $5000 betting on Melbourne making the finals in 1981, questioning Richard Seddon on the suggestion that Barassi would leave at the end of the year. Seddon replied that Barassi was "committed to Melbourne until the job is done".
The coach responded to his side's losing streak by doing what the supporters screamed at him to do and played Robert Flower in position. The captain responded with a magical game, racking up 38 touches, 15 marks and 2.2. He had nine of his kicks in the first quarter alone and by quarter time his side were almost five goals in front and cruising.
Melbourne were as much as 36 points in front before Richmond made their charge, booting three goals in a row to draw level at the last break but they couldn't get their noses in front during a frantic first ten minutes of the last term and Melbourne ran away to a relatively comfortable victory to ease the pressure on the coach.
Flower was his side’s best, but they were also boosted by Kelvin Templeton and Brian Wilson sharing nine goals. Without a hint of irony, Barassi described his captain’s game as: “Fantastic”, and “close to the best I’ve seen him play”.
The side moved back to two games and percentage outside the five and the prospect of a fairytale run to the finals was still alive.
Best were Flower, Icke and Johnson
Melbourne 19.17.131 d. Richmond 16.12.108
Goals - Rugolo 6, Cordner 5, Bergman 2, Battiston 2, Barnes 1, Howard 1, Sutcliffe 1, McCarthy 1
Best - Rugolo, Barnes, Joycey
Richmond 16.16.112 d. Melbourne 10.10.70
Goals - Howard 4, Dawson 2, Curran 1, McLean 1, Payne 1, Williams 1
Best - Howard, Hutchinson, Allday