Round 13, 1939
Melbourne vs Essendon
Saturday 15 July
Essendon win by 17 points
Goalkickers: Harold Ball 3, Sid Anderson 2, Jack O'Keefe 1, Keith Truscott 1
Top of the table Melbourne suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of a side they had beaten comfortably earlier in the season. The match was lost in the third quarter when they managed just three behinds to 3.5. A week earlier the Demons had been touted as top two certainties on account of their 'soft' draw for the rest of the season, but the defeat brought them back to the pack and allowed St Kilda to take top spot.
Melbourne were missing several players, including La Fontaine, Fischer, Beames, Barassi and Rodda but they were unsettled and when Wally Lock suffered an ankle injury and had to be replaced they couldn't go with their opponents.
On an icy day with a strong diagonal wind across the ground, Melbourne lost their system. They were the better side in the air, and were winning the rucks but unable to break through Essendon's defence. Norm Smith was leading his defender up the ground, but then couldn't get the ball to Jack Mueller at full forward and they only registered one goal for the quarter through Ball.
Essendon shot away to a 16 point lead in the second quarter, turning Melbourne's first attack into a goal then kicking another soon after. They had better pace, and were continually stopping the Demon attacks n the half-forward line. Nevertheless, despite their poor performance to that point two Anderson goals put the Demons within a kick at the long break.
In difficult conditions for scoring, neither side scored a goal for almost the entire quarter before Essendeon took over and banged through three in a row to take a stranglehold on the game.
The home side fought back strongly in the last quarter despite having to resort to Norm Smith playing as a rover and got within striking range before Essendon dug in and held them out for a vital win.
Best were Emselle, Lock and Ball. O'Keefe was 19th man. Anderson was a late replacement for La Fontaine (flu). To make the day even worse fill-in captain Jack Mueller was suspended for four matches for elbowing. The umpire testified that after a mark he was being held by the Essendon player and swung the elbow into his face. Mueller's claim that he was trying to swig]ng
The loss left Melbourne a game behind St Kilda, level on points with third placed Collingwood and two wins clear of fifth placed Carlton. They were due to play St Kilda, coming off eight straight victories, the following week.
Essendon 15.14 d. Melbourne 13.6
Sporting Globe - 15/07/1939
Herald - 17/07/1939
Age - 19/07/1939
Argus - 19/07/1939
Football Record R14 1939