Melbourne win by 13 points
After their Round 16 loss, Melbourne's finals chances were hanging by a thread. With the Bulldogs a game ahead in the race for the top six and just four more games left, defeat at the Western Oval would have almost certainly finished them off. They kept the pressure on the teams ahead of them with a fighting win, with the wind a major factor. There were 50 scoring shots to the Geelong Road end of the ground and only seven to the north.
Melbourne kicked four of the five goals into the wind across the day, two in both the second and fourth quarter. The visitors used the conditions to build a six goal lead at quarter time, aided by a kick-in blunder where the Dogs missed a target, only for the closest player to fall over and allow Glenn Lovett to goal. The locals recovered in the second term, taking a two point lead at the half, before a scoreless third term left them 35 points down at the last change.
Conditions meant the margin wasn't insurmountable, and Footscray kicked two early goals to cut the margin to 19. They gave the second back to Andy Lovell immediately after the centre bounce, and Andrew Obst kicked the sealer shortly after. The Dogs kicked three late goals but were already long beaten.
Neil Balme retained an outside hope of playing finals, saying "It's going to be difficult, but I reckon we're some chance". He admitted the Demons would need to win their last four and have other results go their way. They ended the weekend two wins outside the six.
Melbourne 17.18.120 d. Footscray 6.11.47
Goals - Bennett 3, Charles 3, Lamb 3, Sullivan 3, Evans 2, Inella 2, Taylor 1
Best - Yeats, Hilton, Evans