Melbourne win by 15 points
For the best part of 100 years a win over Collingwood at Victoria Park had been a reason for celebration. On this Saturday it didn't stop tears flowing. The Demons had dared to dream that they were going to qualify for their first finals series since 1964. Three straight wins meant that all they needed was to beat the disappointing Pies and have minor premiers Carlton top Footscray and they would be in. Any other result at Princes Park would tip them out.
In the last few minutes of the final quarter word came through that Footscray had somehow contrived to draw with Carlton at Princes Park and that the Demons were out.
Bob Skilton held back tears as some of his players showed less composure and wept openly or threw their gear on the floor of the change room.
It wasn't an easy assignment for the Dees, they lost Laurie Fowler to a stray elbow in the first minute of the match and the next four quarters were punctuated with brawls. Ray Shaw hit Greg Wells so hard that his left wrist was in plaster after the match.
Halfway through the second term the tough Magpies led by 25 points and it looked like the Demons were going to play themselves out of the 5. Melbourne steadied though and made it to half-time just nine points behind. Even without Stan Alves it seemed they were going to be too good.
The comeback was started by Craig McKellar who played a dominating fifteen minutes in the third quarter that helped Melbourne to boot 8.4 against 1.1 to set up a match winning lead.
The match winning lead meant nothing if Footscray won, and when news trickled through from Parkville that they were three goals in front at the last change it looked as if everything was going to be in vain but as the Blues fought back it looked like they were going to rack up their 11th straight win and vault the Dees into the five. It was the first draw of the season, and one that effectively destroyed the club for the next decade.
The news from Princes Park temporarily lightened the mood for Pies fans, some of who mockingly sang the Carlton theme song to taunt Demons players, coaches and supporters. Earlier some of the visiting fans had tempted fate by throwing wooden spoons over the fence.
Davis, Flower and Wells were the Demons best but it hardly mattered. Ray Smith replaced Laurie Fowler after he was knocked out during the first quarter. Trainers had trouble convincing Fowler to leave the ground. He came to on a stretcher and wanted to continue playing. Gary Guy was an unused replacement in his last game.
Collingwood 36.15.231 d. Melbourne 9.11.65
Goals - Walley 5, Goss 1, Thorne 1, Walters 1, Withers 1
Best - Cortese, Fitzsimmons, Walley
Melbourne 22.19.151 defeated Collingwood 12.14.86
Goals - Jones 5, Flower 4, Berkley 3, Keane 3, Zubin 3, Campbelll 1, Davidson 1, Giulieri 1, McKaige 1
Best - Zubin, Woods, Salter