Melbourne win by 16 points
In a swirling MCG wind the two sides were equally matched for three quarters before the Demons kicked away. The Pies, who had dramatically recast their team from the side that lost to Melbourne a week earlier, had taken a narrow lead into half-time despite their forward line being almost entirely taken out of the game and a goal from 65 metres out by Noel McMahen. McMahen had taken on Tuesday night after Norm Smith was laid low with flu.
Geoff McGivern had to be taken off at half-time following a collision with John Beckwith during the second quarter. He played on to the end of the quarter with ankle and knee injuries but was unable to reappear for the second half.
The game was won with shrewd positional changes. When Jim Sandral came on the entire team was reshuffled. McMahen, who had been well beaten in the centre during the first quarter, switched to centre-half back and then the ruck. Sandral started on the half-forward flank, and with pace from Melville and Dixon the Reds began to get on top. The reserve was one of the best in the second half as the Demons used their superior stamina to outlast their opponents.
Smith's half time address was audible from the public concourse behind the dressing rooms, he was heard to say "Use your strength, weight and power every remaining minute of the game to drive the ball forward. Collingwood have been throwing themselves in recklessly. Go in and do the same."
Each team had kicked five goals in a high quality third quarter, but the fast fading Magpies managed just 0.6 in the last. It was the only time all day that the Melbourne backline had played like the side who had been the best defensive team in the competition, but Collingwood's failing forward line cost them.
Rovers Spencer and Ridley, who had dominated their opposing numbers all day, opened the last quarter with Demon goals before the Pies put in a period of sustained pressure which only netted them four points. Johnson kicked his third goal, and his team's last, from a difficult angle after a 40-yard dash by Ian Ridley make the result safe.
Best were Spencer, Johnson and Cordner. Collingwood won the marks 56-54 and the free kicks 37-26.
Norm Smith said "we played tough opponents, who upset us early in the game by smothering our smaller men as only Collingwood can do. It was not until the second half of the last quarter that we were able to shake them off. I think it was our long kicking game that kept us in the fight. Those kicks were valuable on such a day."