Essendon win by 17 points
David Williams (2nd game)
A thumping defeat at the hands of Fitzroy a week earlier had made the Demons chances of sneaking into the five almost nil, but they were still a mathematical chance when the fourth placed Bombers travelled to the MCG. To compound the misery from their big defeat they also lost Alan Jarrott, Peter Giles, Gerard Healy and Michael Reynolds to injury.
A much improved Demons battled to stay in front of the Bombers all day, and still had their noses in front at the last change before running out of gas in the last quarter. Robert Flower kicked six at full-forward and had plenty of service with his midfielders beating Essendon easily in the middle. Simon Madden dominated the ruck but often his taps would only find Demons players.
At quarter time Melbourne led by 16. The margin was down to eight at the long break, but after a goal for goal third quarter Essendon managed to cut the gap to a point at the last change. Playing to try and nab second place on the ladder they were too good in the last and looked set to run out winners when they kicked the first four goals of the final term.
Enter Flower, he moved onto the half-forward flank and kicked a 55m goal then set one up for Brian Wilson. Entering time on the margin was back to nine points. Next thing he was back in defence repelling a forward thrust by the Bombers and loping out along the wing, he had a few bounces before one went awry and Essendon went the other way. The ball never left their forward line again and Roger Merrett kicked a goal on the siren to make the margin 17 points.
It was all academic anyway, wins by Carlton and Collingwood meant that even if the Demons had won they'd have been unable to make the finals. A year which had already come to an end the week before was officially buried.
Best were Johnson, Flower and Wilson. Icke and Flower suffered ankle injuries.
Essendon 25.28.178 d. Melbourne 8.7.55
Goals - McKenzie 2, F.Rugolo 2, Young 1, Tossol 1, Earley 1, Hipworth 1
Best - Hutchison, Tossol, F. Rugolo
Melbourne 25.23.173 d. Essendon 9.9.63
Goals - Johnson 6, Bailey 4, Healy 4, McCarty 3, Payne 3, Howard 2, Nichols 2, Lawrence 1
Best - Ward, Bailey, Nichols