Melbourne win by 14 points
After suffering a surprise defeat at 10th placed Footscray a week earlier, the Demons welcomed South - who had replaced the Bulldogs in 10th - knowing that a loss could see them lose the fourth spot they had earned with eight wins in a row.
In the end they didn't do it easily, conceding five goals to one in the third quarter to go into the last change 15 points behind, but bounced back with a five goal to nil last quarter to win. After a battle of Melbourne's aerial strength vs South's pace and tenacity the Demons had a four goal to one lead at quarter time after kicking the last three goals of the term. Their lead was slightly reduced to 11 at the half.
The third quarter was South's best, with their pace exposing the Demons and helping them kick away to a 15 point lead. The visitors were far from safe, in 10 of 14 matches they had been outscored in the final term.
Melbourne sent Denis Cordner to the ruck for the last quarter, and his brother Don quickly kicked a goal to give his side life. He got another soon after, before Alby Rodda put his side in front. Ken Carlon got the sealer, but it wasn't the percentage boosting win they needed. With the worst figure of any of the teams contending for fourth they were left vulnerable with games against fellow contenders to come.
Best were McGrath, McKenzie and Bickford. Heywood replaced Rodda (injured) in the last quarter, McMahen was an unused reserve.
Melbourne 13.19 d. South Melbourne 10.8
Goals - Love 6, Unknown 7
Best - McGowan, Bowman, Chadwick
South Melbourne 7.12 d. Melbourne 7.5