Melbourne win by 51 points
Last MFC Game
A huge crowd came to see a match between two of the top sides in the competition, and it was the Demons who prevailed. Melbourne had suffered defeat at Hawthorn a week earlier which had left them on the edge of the four, while Essendon were battling for top side but it was the Demons who came out on top easily, saving their spot in the top four for another week.
Norm Smith wasn't happy with the way his side trained during the week, halting the session midway through in order to lecture them. They improved after the pep talk, and their better form carried through to the Saturday. His counterpart also had tricks up the sleeve, sending three players out on the Saturday in different positions to where they werenamed.
The first quarter was one of the best seen on the MCG, with the sides combining for 12 goals in a fast, free flowing exhibition. The first three goals came from free kicks, and it was goal for goal early. Essendon got the first break, before three goals in two minutes put the Demons back in front. Barry Bourke got another late, extending the margin to 10 points. Essendon got the first goal of the second quarter before Melbourne responded. Only a late Essendon goal cut the margin back to 16 points.
It took 22 minutes for Melbourne to score their first point of the third quarter, but Essendon found it hard to breach their defence. The Bombers got the second goal of the term, before the Demons hit back with three in the last few minutes to open a 21 point lead. The first came when the ball unexpectedly landed in the arms of Bryan Kenneally, then two from quick kicks out of the pack.
After keeping Essendon at arms length for three quarters Melbourne swamped them with lightning fast handball in the last, piling on six goals to one to run out comfortable winners. An early challenge from the Bombers ended when Barrie Vagg marked while 100 yards out of position and kicked the sealer, opening the door for his teammates to pile on the next five. The match won rave reviews, with one newspaper calling it the best game since the legendary 1937 Grand Final.
Their ease in dispatching a premiership contender in such simple fashion would have sent a shiver down the spines of the other sides battling for a spot in the four, but Melbourne were still level on points with St Kilda, who beat Fitzroy by 102 points, so they didn't have a spot in the finals sewn up, much less a guaranteed crack at the premiership.
Best were Leahy, Lord and Dixon. Robbie replaced Townsend and Thiessen replaced Barassi, both in the last quarter.
The ease of the win impressed bookies, who slashed Melbourne's odds of winning the premiership to 5/2 favourite, just in front of the Bombers.
Kenneally 4.1, Emselle 3.2, Lord 3.0, Bourke 2.3, Townsend 2.1, Vagg 2.1, Groom 1.0, Johnson 1.0, Mann 1.0
Essendon 10.18 d. Melbourne 6.21
Goals - McLean 1, Rowarth 1, Nilssen 1, Winter 1, Whitelaw 1, Carroll 1
Best - Johnston, Read, Mann
Melbourne 10.15.75 d. Essendon 4.5.29
Goals - Jacobs 4, Schultz 3, Mounter 1, Snell 1, Vaughan 1
Best - Brodie, Stewart, Jacobs