St. Kilda win by 52 points
First game and first goal
After yet another defeat, Melbourne players and officials held a conference to discuss what had gone wrong so far in 1978. Denis Jones rejected the idea that his side had to buy players from around the league, saying, “only about 15 percent of the skills of a football side could be imported,” and “the whole club - including the committee and players must become more professional.” He also denied suggestions he was going to be replaced, saying, “There’s no way I won’t coach Melbourne in 1979.”
Influential supporter and donor Dick Prendergast publicly called for Jones to be sacked, recounting what he’d seen at training during the week. He claimed Jones turned up in street clothes after the session had already started, apologised to the players for leaving his footy gear at home, explained why Des O’Dwyer was being rushed into the squad after one training session then left.
“I have had more than enough of Dennis Jones and his training methods,” Prendergast said. “I realise Melbourne lacks good players but the side doesn’t appear fit enough. They fade out of matches week after week.” He offered to start a fund to help pay for Jones’ contract to be paid out.
Desperate to rescue something from a terrible season which hadn't seen them win since Round 7 the Demons plucked 16-year-old Des O'Dwyer from Shepparton after just one training run with the senior squad and put him at full-forward in front of the baying Moorabbin crowd.
It looked like a master stroke when O'Dwyer goalled with his first kick in league football and Melbourne led 46 to nothing after 23 minutes of the first term. St Kilda got the last three goals of the first quarter but the Demons still took a five goal lead into the first change.
From there it was all the Saints, with Jeff Sarau moving from ruck to full-forward and kicking seven goals and the home side banging on 17.21 to 6.5 for the rest of the game.
St Kilda 20.15.135 d. Melbourne 7.10.52
Goals - Woodman 3, Cunningham 1, Hamilton 1, Maynard 1, Mills 1
Best - Marchant, Richards, Denny
Melbourne 14.20.104 drew St Kilda 14.20.104
Goals - Angelis 4, Todd 3, Bickford 2, D'Ambrosia 2, Mobbs 2, Hayes 1
Best - Love, Mobbs, Hayes