Melbourne win by 2 points
Norm Smith returned as coach after making up, temporarily at least, with the club's committee and he worked his magic on the Demons by re-debuting with a win but it wasn't without some nervous moments. He had entered the group to a rapturous applause from the Melbourne fans present, even more than when Brian Dixon ran through a guard of honour to celebrate his 200th game.
Fitzroy kicked four of the first six goals, but by quarter time the Demons had clawed their way back to level. Six goals to two in the second quarter opened up a handy lead, and when Peter McLean goalled early in the third quarter the margin was out to 28 points and Melbourne looked comfortable. Then they lost follower Graham Wise to concussion and failed to add another goal for the quarter.
Late in the last quarter two Fitzroy players missed gettable shots, but just when it looked like Melbourne would hold onto their lead of just over two goals the Roys went forward and got their goals. With just seconds left Bob Miller took a saving mark in defence
Best were Dixon, Williams and Mann. Wise (concussion) was replaced by McLean at half time, and Bourke (ankle) was replaced by Emselle in the third quarter. Ray Groom also suffered a thigh injury.
The win moved the Demons to fifth, just outside the finals race on percentage. With four games to go they were level with points with 2nd placed Essendon as well as Collingwood and Geelong but were 14% worse off than the Cats and a full 35% short of second place. With games against both the 3rd and 4th placed sides to come they were still every chance of slipping into the four again.
Melbourne 4.18 d. Fitzroy 5.5
Goals - Gallus 2, Quirk 2
Best - Leitch, Griffiths, Quirk
Fitzroy 9.14 d. Melbourne 8.12
Goals - Little 2, Osborne 2, Collins 1, Jungwirth 1, Bates 1, Escreet 1
Best - Stewart, Coutts, Osborne