Essendon win by 38 points
1 - Steven Stretch
A trip to Windy Hill to play the Bombers, still a chance of making the five themselves, was almost the last place John Northey and his side wanted to be. Earlier in the season there had been talk of transferring the game to the MCG due to the large crowd, but when Melbourne's form started dropping off the VFL decided to leave the game at Windy Hill.
The Bombers were also riding a wave of emotion for Simon Madden's 300th game but by the end of the first quarter they were behind. The home side struck back and led in the second quarter before three time-on goals by the Demons gave them a three point lead.
It was a brilliant third quarter by Tim Watson which won the game for the Bombers. He had thirteen possessions and a hand in nearly every one of Essendon's six goals. Melbourne's cause was harmed when first Garry Lyon was felled by a bump early in the term, then Doug Koop was knocked unconscious by a bump and at three-quarter time they were four goals behind.
Only losses by Footscray and Sydney kept the Demons in the top five, and their destiny in their own hands entering Round 22. West Coast won handily and vaulted over Melbourne into 4th on the ladder and the Bombers victory put them into contention as well.
Northey said "We're very fortunate to be in the position we're in. There are no tomorrows now. It's over and finished unless we make it happen".
Best were Stretch, Jackson and Grinter. Melbourne lost Steven O'Dwyer out of the selected side with a shin complaint, he was replaced by Tony Campbell. Garry Lyon and Doug Koop both suffered concussions.
Essendon 26.10.166 d. Melbourne 7.4.46
Goals - Eishold 2, Febey 1, Fidge 1, Kennedy 1, Stoney 1, Aitken 1
Best - Eishold, Kennedy, Turner
Melbourne 14.23.107 d. Essendon 8.13.61
Goals - Hawkins 4, Suduki 2, Beveridge 2, Schwarz 1, Taglieri 1, Brook 1, Knight 1, Partington 1, Morey 1
Best - Hawkins, Beveridge, Peck