Essendon win by 2 points
Sluggish for the first two quarters, Essendon came alive in the second half to record Melbourne's first loss since Round 4, keeping their hopes of a top two finish alive..
A huge crowd saw the Demons win most contests, seemingly on the way to a big victory. They had struggled to take advantage of a strong breeze in the first quarter, but broke free at the end of the quarter. They were still just six points in front at the first break, but Graeme Jacobs booted two early in the second term to extend the lead.
At half time they led 5.5 to 2.5, and soon after the break Hassa Mann added two more goals to put them 31 points in front.
The home side seemed certain winners, winning most of the contests and looking like they were on the way to a win that would make a statement to the other finals contender. Then the Bombers came alive, led by Ken Fraser, who had barely touched the ball in the first half.
Until then Fraser had been blanketed by Don Williams, playing a fantastic game as a key position defender and turning back numerous attacks. When Williams lost control of him in the third term Fraser was the driving force behind his side’s comeback. When he lifted his teammates followed. After Mann’s goals Melbourne didn’t score again, seeing a nine point three quarter time lead disappear late in the final term. A strong breeze favouring the Bombers turned into a gale in the last term and though their defence were brave in keeping the Bombers to two goals, the misfiring forward line was unable to score.
Best were Mann, Dixon and Adams. Groom injured his thigh in the first quarter and was replaced by McLean. Emselle was an unused reserve.
After the game, Norm Smith and umpire’s adviser Harry Clayton had a confrontation. Clayton was so upset that he lodged an official complaint against Smith. The league held an emergency meeting to consider the matter and decided to bring the men together to discuss their dispute. A few days earlier Smith had attended an coaches’ meeting where he’d been warned against criticising umpires during matches.
Essendon 8.12 d. Melbourne 7.13
Goals - Carlson 2, Leitch 2, Slade 1, Wood 1, Vearing 1
Best - Rowe, Leitch, Vearing
Melbourne 8.10 d.Essendon 6.9
Goals - Schultz 2, Osborne 2, Russell 1, Minton-Connell 1, Pritchard 1, Wight 1
Best - Russell, Pritchard, Adams