North Melbourne win by 1 point
The careful build-up play Barassi had taught his troops in 1985 went awry against a North side they had the edge over in size and experience. A week earlier his side had won with just 60 handballs when 130+ was the norm, but the same tactics fell flat against the young Roos.
Another Brian Wilson attacking masterclass nearly got them over the line, but his seven goals couldn’t compensate for leaky defence at the other end. Third gamer Brendan Ryan kicked five for the Roos in his first appearance since 1983.
Melbourne kicked a goal within the first minute of each quarter, and several times throughout the day had leads of four goals or more but couldn’t finish their opponents off. They were five goals up before North had even entered their forward fifty for the first time, three of them to Brian Wilson, but slackened off and allowed North to whittle the lead back to just two goals at the end of the first term.
By half time North looked to have the game won, kicking eight goals to two in the second term to lead by 24. They were still 18 up at the last change before a Demon fightback gave them the lead. One of their goals was controversial, with Adrian Battiston seemingly missing a shot from close range that was paid a goal and levelled scores. The goal umpire was suspended for a week after the incident. Melbourne led in front at the 30 minute mark of the last quarter before Wayne Schimmelbusch dashed down the members wing and put his side in front with the last kick of the day.
Best were Wilson, Johnson and O'Sullivan
Melbourne 20.16.136 d. North Melbourne 17.15.117
Goals - Cordner 6, Williams 3, Yeats 3, Fidge 2, Wright 2, Armstrong 1, Ryan 1, Seddon 1, Matthews 1
Best - Bourke, Cordner, Fidge
North Melbourne 24.27.171 d. Melbourne 8.3.51
Goals - G. Marra 4, Lyon 2, J. Marra 1, Lyon 1 (Lyon listed twice)
Best - Styles, Brody, Smit