Melbourne win by 6 points
3 - Earl Spalding
2 - Garry Lyon
A Demons side which had become adept at holding to win close games did it again at the MCG. After swinging the axe at the selection table with five changes - including two new players and dropping Brian Wilson for the first time since 1984 - the Demons burst to a handy lead after a 12 scoring shot to 1 opening quarter delivered them a 31 point lead over the shellshocked Blues. Sean Wight started forward and kicked three goals, but Melbourne also wasted chances, with Garry Lyon kicking four behinds in the first term.
Spalding and Lyon began in attack but switched to defence when the game was on the line and helped deliver victory. Lyon moved onto the dangerous Stephen Kernahan after Jamie Duursma left the field with a shin injury and beat him, while Spalding marked everything that came near him.
The Blues charged hard in the last quarter but with Lyon and Spalding marshalling the defence Darren Bennett was able to mark and goal in time-on to sink the Blues.
In The Age Rohan Connolly said There is little doubt that Melbourne operates best with a siege mentality, but as last year's finals series proved, playing each game as though it is your last can leave you pretty spent when it counts.
Carlton 22.12.144 d. Melbourne 16.17.113
Goals - Farrell 4, Dean 2, Atkins 2, Wilson 1, Connolly 1, Bailey 1, Chiron 1, Keogh 1, Ahern 1, Howat 1, Morey 1
Best - Bailey, Chiron, Graham
Carlton 14.19.103 d. Melbourne 8.14.62
Goals - Partington 3, Millett 2, Lamb 2, Fanning 1
Best - Schwarz, Millett, B. Stynes
Blueseum match report