South Melbourne win by 39 points
Detecting the first signs of fatigue in his troops after a long, often emotional season Norm Smith gave his side a holiday from training early in the week after they got their season back on track with a win over Fitzroy. Only defender Brian Leahy who had missed most of the year with a shoulder injury was put through his paces
With crucial clashes to come against fellow top four contenders Geelong and Collingwood the Demons needed to beat South to reinforce their position amongst the contenders. They visited the Lake Oval in muddy conditions and after a bright start fell apart meekly, leaving the side's finals hopes in tatters.
Despite kicking just four behinds in the second quarter Melbourne was still in the hunt at half-time but a five goal to one third term from South handed them a match winning lead in the conditions at the last change.
Smith made a rare tactical error at the first bounce, swapping back pocket Bob Miller and centre half-back Tassie Johnson just before the first bounce. Johnson, usually one of his side's most important players, found himself out of the game for most of the day. He finally got a run on the ball in the third quarter and did well but was never sent onto the dominant Graeme John and John continued to beat Miller comfortably.
Brian Dixon was one of his side's best in the first half but was taken out of the game from three quarter time. Without Dixon's drive through the midfield too much was left to ruckman Hugh Bromell and Hassa Mann and South's little men did it easily. Second gamer Eric Sarich kicked four goals and despite only losing the last quarter by a point Melbourne were comfortably beaten. Newspapers reported that a Demon fan in the outer was so disgusted at the side's performance that he tore up his membership ticket and walked out during the match.
Best were Jacobs, Mann and Townsend. Bourke (sprained ankle) was replaced in the selected side by McLean. Leitch replaced McLean as a reserve.
Luckily for the Demons both Essendon and Geelong lost, keeping the door to the finals ajar. The chance of finishing in the top two was all but gone but there was nothing to suggest that Smith's team couldn't still make the four despite playing two of the three teams above them in the last three weeks of the season.
South Melbourne 8.12 d. Melbourne 4.10
Goals - Gallus 2, Quirk 1, Robbie 1
Best - Stone, Gormley, Quirk
Melbourne 7.14 d. South Melbourne 5.5
Goals - Osborne 3, Nash 2, Harris 1, Stewart 1
Best - Stewart, Callery, Nash