Carlton win by 57 points
In a rare Saturday outing at Docklands, Melbourne faced a Carlton side who had just qualified for their first finals series since 2001. The Demons were coming off their biggest win in four seasons, but the cost had been to put them right on the edge of receiving a priority draft pick - causing fevered debate throughout the week amongst fans and the media as to whether the Demons really wanted to win. Punters duly started with them as $13 underdogs.
There was no doubt that the players were up for it as they took the game to the Blues in the first quarter. Even in their recently tragic history Carlton had a habit of knocking the Demons over and there was some nervous anticipation amongst the crowd that history might have been about to reverse itself in Melbourne's favour. Paul Johnson kicked the first goal of the game and the Demons, carrying three ruckmen and backup Stef Martin into the team after Nathan Jones was a late withdrawal, were looking their match.
The Blues, however, wouldn't be denied and despite the forward line heroics of the unheralded Mark Jamar - who had only come into the game as a late change for Nathan Jones - they were still conceding goals at a rapid rate at the other end. Future Demon Jeff Garlett was having the game of his life, and Brendan Fevola was dishing them off and still helping himself to two in the first half.
Fev exploded in the third quarter with four goals and the game was as good as gone. At the other end Russell Robertson, who had announced during the week that he was leaving the Demons to seek another club at the end of the year, put himself in the shop window with a strong five goal performance to match Jamar as leading MFC goalkicker on the ground. At the other end Fev was racking up a casual seven.
Six goals in each quarter for the Blues was enough to see them home by almost ten goals, but a young side which lost Ricky Petterd and Matthew Whelan to game-ending injuries in the opening minutes was not disgraced. Carlton continued to press for a home final and Melbourne went into Round 22 almost assured of the first and second picks in the draft thanks to Fremantle's win against Essendon the next day.
Best were Jamar, Robertson and Jetta. Mark Jamar was fined $1950 for umpire contact.