Round 20, 1977
Melbourne vs St. Kilda
Saturday 13 August
Melbourne win by 71 points
Goalkickers: Graham Osborne 5, Greg Wells 5, Allan Davis 3, Robert Flower 3, John Sparks 3, Ross Brewer 2, Gary Hardeman 2, Daryl Cumming 1, Tony Dullard 1, Shane Fitzsimmons 1, Frank Giampaolo 1
Statistical categories led:
Highest score against St Kilda
Highest score in Round 20
A week earlier the Demons had ventured to the Junction Oval to play the second worst team in the competition and had been thrashed by a record margin. The loss put them back in the frame for the wooden spoon and a clash with last placed St Kilda a week later, with Henry Coles suspended and morale presumably at an all time low was a danger game that could see them going into the final round playing to avoid last.
Ten changes were made at the selection table, and an 11th when Shane Grambeau was withdrawn before the match with a case of flu, but despite setting the all time club record by having more than half a new team - and losing Garry Baker with a hamstring injury just minutes in - the Demons were sublime, kicking what remains their equal 6th highest score in VFL/AFL football. At the time it was their second highest score ever.
The result was even more remarkable considering that at the 19 minute mark of the first quarter Tony Dullard dislocated his kneecap and was carried from the ground. Melbourne now down to no reserves, and despite a five goal lead at quarter time they were vulnerable of a Saints comeback.
The comeback never came and the margin was extended to eight goals at half time. Four goals in 12 minutes at the start of the third term was as good as it got for the Saints, and with Michael Byrne dominating the ruck on debut the Demons slammed on ten goals in the last quarter to career away to an easy win and all but ensure they wouldn't finish last.
Best were Wells, Giampaolo and Osborne. Grambeau was replaced in the selected side by Tom Flower, with Fitzsimmons relegated to the bench. Baker was replaced by Byrne and Dullard was replaced by Fitzsimmons, both in the first quarter.
St Kilda 19.16.130 d. Melbourne 16.14.110
Goals - Thorne 7, Baldwin 4, Walters 3, Cook 1, Johnston 1
Best - Cook, Kelly, Thorne
St Kilda 15.14.104 d. Melbourne 14.13.97
Goals - Angelis 6, Bocabella 2, Batty 2, Barnes 1, McKaige 1, Thomson 1, Zubin 1
Best - McKaige, Mercoulia, Thomson
Age - 15/08/1977
Football Record R21 1977