Geelong win by 22 points
Barassi and the coaching staff were so happy with the performance of the side in the Round 15 win going into a week's break for the split round that they took time off and handed coaching duties for the week to Greg Wells.
The Demons had entered the split round in the five and a serious contender for the five for the first time since 1976. Even that year had seen them come with their withering run at the end of the year rather than in the middle of the season as they did in 1984.
A win over fellow finals contender Geelong was crucial but by half-time the bad old Demons had returned and handed the home side what would ultimately be a match winning lead. After a mass brawl before the first bounce involving most of the players on the ground the Cats led by just seven after the first change but an eight goal second quarter saw them 25 points in front.
The margin blew out to 47 points before Melbourne switched on again and cut the lead back to 16 at the last break. After opening the scoring with a Chris Connolly point the game went into a nine minute arm wrestle where neither side could get it past half-forward. Finally they goalled through Darren Morgan and despite a reputation as the 'chokers' of the season held on for victory.
Before the match, Geelong supporters held a banner reading “If Barassi walks on water then Ablett must be god”. Their man started on Robbie Flower, with both players initially trying to tag each other out of the game. Luckily for the sake of spectacle they soon went their separate ways. Also before the match, a fracas involving almost every player on the ground.
Melbourne were short of four quarter players but one of the best was Danny Hughes who held the dangerous Mark Jackson to two goals. The Healys and Alan Johnson were good in the midfield but not good enough to carry their side. Icke (hip), Jarrott (thigh) and Gerard Healy (thigh) were all injured.
The loss dropped the Demons back to sixth but they were still holding a percentage almost 15% better than the Cats, and one 20 and 23% respectively better than Footscray and the Swans who had the same record.
Geelong 17.13.115 d. Melbourne 11.13.79
Goals - Fidge 4, Battiston 2, Rugolo 2, Thorne 2, Tanner 1
Best - Durnan, Tanner, Wright
Melbourne were initially awarded the points when Geelong were deemed to have fielded an unregistered player but before Round 22 the decision was reversed.
Melbourne 15.19.109 d. Geelong 8.6.54
Goals - Grinter 6, Howard 3, McLean 1, Lyon 1, Ward 1, Marra 1, Hannant 1, Chant 1
Best - Nichols, Lyon, Burke