Essendon win by 1 point
1 - Paul Bryce
Grant Williams (2nd game)
Already on the mat after three straight losses after their encouraging start to the season, the Demons woes continued in the cruellest way when Essendon pulled off one of the great comebacks in league history.
Their 41 point lead had been built on three quarters of relentless, pressure football by the Demons who seemed to have their confidence up again after three disappointing weeks. Seven goals in the first quarter and seven more in the second put them well on their way to victory, and despite the Bombers chipping a few points off the lead in the third term there looked no way back for Essendon.
For the first three quarters Garry Lyon had been the driving force for his side, playing a dominant role in kicking five goals and with Grant Williams and Chris Sullivan also looking dangerous it appeared that the Demons weren't missing the injured Allen Jakovich. The Bombers lost two players from their selected side and looked like being overwhelmed.
When Chris Sullivan kicked the first goal of the last quarter to extend the Demons lead to 47 points it looked like a massacre was on the cards. The Bombers then mounted an amazing comeback to kick seven in 12 minutes and get back to within a goal midway through the last quarter but it took until the final seconds for them to land the killer blow. Paul Salmon kicked four of the goals amongst seven for the day. Northey was forced to send Jim Stynes - who only had two touches and was troubled by a back injury - to full back to play on Salmon, but it didn't help.
The margin was cut to a goal after 17 minutes, before Dean Wallis missed a shot that would have tied scores. Melbourne then missed shots that would have given them breathing room, before Gavin Wanganeen caught Paul Bryce holding the ball 50 metres from goal. He put the Bombers ahead for the first time all day, before a Stephen Tingay shot was marked on the last line by Derek Kickett, who ran into the goalpost but held the ball. The Bombers were attacking again when the siren went a minute later.
Melbourne players were in shock at the result and took five minutes to leave the ground at the end of the match. Speaking after the match Glenn Lovett said, "It's as bad a loss as any of us have been involved in" and John Northey accused his side of lacking mental toughness. He said "It was disgraceful, we blew it", and "all of a sudden their legs just fell off". He denied the fade out had anything to do with his side playing two games in five days.
It was the biggest comeback in a last quarter since the Demons had come back from 47 points down against the Saints in Round 9, 1977. Only once before had a team been so far in front at three-quarter time and lost. It left Melbourne with a 2.9.21 to 20.12.132 deficit in final quarters over their last three games, and a new record for the biggest lead in a match that they had ever given up to lose.
Best were Lyon, Stynes and Pickering.
Melbourne 25.19.169 d. Brisbane 13.7.85
Goals - Bennett 6, Charles 4, Gorozides 4, Lovell 3, Neitz 2, Kowal 2, Robins 1, Burgmann 1, Eishold 1, Dyson 1
Best - Burgmann, Charles, Lovell
One point games