Essendon win by 73 points
The 1946 premierships season had seen a large influx of ex-servicemen who had been kept out of the game during the war years. The Demons had been one of the sides to suffer most from player drain during the conflict, not only had several players lost their lives during the battles, many others were unavailable due to military service. After winning their third straight premiership in 1941 Melbourne went into decline for the rest of the war.
Melbourne had been forced to play their games at Punt Road and only returned to the MCG in Round 19 of that year. That game proved a handy trial for the Semi Final when the Bulldogs were run off their feet in the last quarter after having been in it all day. They backed up a week later to beat Collingwood in the Preliminary Final and qualify to meet Essendon in the decider.
The Demons went into the match unchanged, and with a slight wind towards one end of the ground there was no indication that the 1946 decider would be a day for record breaking scores. Melbourne lost the toss and kicked into it in the first term, but with Fred Fanning in the ruck got the first goal through Adrian Dullard after just six seconds and had four goals on the board before the Bombers could respond. Less than a minute later Fanning added another and Melbourne were away.
The margin stretched to nearly 30 points before the Bombers steadied. Shane McGrath saw his kick-in intercepted by Dick Reynolds, and the resulting goal slashed the margin to just over two goals. The Dons had hit back late in the quarter and went in just seven points behind. Jack Mueller had kicked four goals for the Demons, and Gordon 'Whoppa' Lane three for Essendon.
With the aid of the breeze in the second term the Demons were unable to take advantage. The game had tightened up noticeably and goals were harder to come by than in the shootout first term. By midway through the term Essendon were in front and attacking in waves. McGrath and Ted Cordner managed to force them into behinds rather than goals, but it was enough to hit the lead before late in the term Gordon Bowman rescued Melbourne with a snap to give the Demons a lead at the long break.
The third term, though, saw one great Grand Final quarters when the Bombers piled on 11.8 to 1.1 to put the game out of Melbourne's reach. They had opened the quarter with five straight behinds, but when they got their radar working it was to devastating effect. Much like the Round 3 clash between the two sides when Essendon put on a ten goal first quarter Melbourne had no answers. In the last ten minutes of the quarter the Bombers slammed on five goals and the match was well and truly over.
Nine goals down at three-quarter time Melbourne had Norm Smith and Len Dockett too injured to contribute, and were no match for the free scoring Bombers who racked up a then record Grand Final score. Gordon Lane kicked seven for Essendon.
Jack Mueller was Melbourne's best, but he went missing in the third quarter after suffering a heavy bump. Alby Rodda and Shane McGrath were also prominent. Frank Kennedy was reported for striking and Adrian Dullard for kneeing - Kennedy was suspended for four matches and Dullard cleared.
Despite their loss, the Demons season wasn't over as they played an exhibition match against a Gippsland league side in Maffra the next Saturday.
B: Billy Deans, Shane McGrath, Don Cordner
HB: Col McLean, Ted Cordner, Wally Lock
C: George Bickford, Len Dockett, Roy Stabb
HF: Gordon Bowman, Fred Fanning, Jim Mitchell
F: Adrian Dullard, Norm Smith (c), Ernie O'Rourke
Foll: Jack Mueller, Stan Rule, Alby Rodda
S: Frank Kennedy, Arnold Byfield
Coach: Frank "Checker" Hughes