Melbourne win by 35 points
As the Demons won their fourth straight game to open the season, talk turned to the job Ian Ridley had done as senior coach since taking over from former teammate John Beckwith at the start of the year.
His tactical flexibility was on show at league headquarters when Plan A - long bombs into the forward line with the wind - failed he went back to what had gotten his side so far already in 1971, fast moving, handballing football. Their speed game beat out the hard-hitting, close checking game the Bombers were attempting to play.
Melbourne had initially been frustrated by their opponents, and the change took time to take effect but the Demons snuck in front at three quarter time and the Bombers backline eventually cracked under pressure midway through the last quarter, allowing Melbourne to run away with the match.
It was Melbourne's first ever win at VFL Park and left the Bombers without a victory at the venue. Essendon noted that Melbourne appeared to be using trainers as extra runners but did not make a formal complaint to the league.
Best were Townsend, Davis and Hardeman. Bourke (back) was replaced by Colcott in the selected side, Lakes (strained back) replaced by Sinclair in the second quarter and Keenan (bruised back) by Walker in the last quarter.
Essendon 17.15 d. Melbourne 6.17
Goals - Martin 2, McSpeerin 1, C. Walker 1, H. Ritterman 1, Carr 1
Best - Foster, Hodges, McSpeerin
Melbourne 14.8 d. Essendon 10.11
Goals - Moore 4, Brewer 3, Dilnot 3, Williamson 2, Anderson 1, Macdonald 1
Best - Cunningham, Cumming, Dilnot