Essendon win by 19 points
With the Demons already a certainty of making the five, and no chance of sneaking into third it was something of a dead rubber against the Bombers in the final round. Essendon too could finish no lower than third, leaving the only interest in the game whether or not the Demons could back in form after they'd struggled through previous weeks. Essendon tinkered with their team with an eye to the finals, and rested two players in the second half but still came out on top.
Brian Wilson booted three in the first quarter to give the Demons a slender lead at the first change, but he added just one more after Gary O'Donnell was moved onto him in the second term.
Well behind in the last quarter, and with nothing left to play for Melbourne could have been excused for putting the cue in the rack and looking to next week but they booted four goals straight to drag the margin back to 13 points before Darren Bewick goalled to seal it.
Best were Healy, Spalding and Wilson. Hughes injured his groin, Duursma his elbow, and Connolly his knee.
John Northey said "It was probably a good hit-out for our players a week before the finals, and even though we were beaten, they are a reasonably good team."
Essendon 11.12.78 d. Melbourne 9.11.65
Goals - Lovell 2, Rennie 1, Seow 1, Bennett 1, Grehan 1, B. Stynes 1
Best - Rennie, Howat, Lovell
Geelong 21.13.139 d. Melbourne 15.11.101
Goals - Unknown
Best - Lance, Schwarz, Partington