Saturday July 1 - East Melbourne
Crowd: 22,000 to 25,000
Essendon 0.0, 1.7, 2.12, 5.13
Melbourne 4.7, 5.8, 5.8, 5.9
Goalkickers: Smith 3, Christy 1, Wiseman 1
Despite wet, muddy conditions which would ordinarily ruin the match as a spectacle the two best sides in the competition instead played out a classic. Writing in The Argus 'Observer' said I doubt whether a football crowd has ever been worked up to such a pitch of excitement before as during the last half of the game.
The East Melbourne ground had prepared for a big crowd by adding extra seats and putting measures into place to allow more people to stand on the grass reserve. Essendon wore white 'knickers' to distinguish between the two sides due to their similar colours.
Melbourne kicked with the wind to open the game and after struggling to get into the match in the first few minutes they then took full advantage of the breeze by booting four goals to none, but were also wasteful in kicking seven behinds when they could have racked up an enormous score.
They could have had more, even when they kicked into the wind in the second term Melbourne opened with a goal, a shot that was touched through and an attacked which forced Essendon to take a mark in the goalsquare. They were dominant but the tide soon turned.
The weather was relatively dry in the first quarter as Melbourne were dominating then turned for Essendon's turn with the ball. When the Reds got the first goal of the second half against the wind it looked as if they'd run away with the victory but the home side then mounted a desperate fight-back to snatch a draw, led by champion Albert Thurgood who kicked the last three goals of the game.
Essendon's captain sent two extra men into the ruck to start the second half, and Melbourne captain Eddie Fox failed to respond. His side managed just one behind in the second half with the wet and heavy ball. The home side's recovery was also impressive considering they lost their best ruckman in the early minutes as he was forced to go forward due to a leg injury.
As the match came to an end Essendon were pressing for victory while Melbourne were content to sit back and played for the draw as their defenders nearly dropped from exhaustion in the last few minutes. Watson could have won the game for Essendon but his shot on goal curved away and the match was over.
Best was Smith, Fred Sheahan, Moore, O'Halloran, O'Loughlin and Fox.
The result left the two sides locked at the top of the league table, with only Essendon's superior defensive record keeping them on top.
Christy, Fox, Fry, Healing, Howes, B. Kelly, R. Kelly, Kean, Lewis, Moore, Masey, McRaile, McKenzie, O'Dea, O'Halloran, O'Loughlin, O'Leary, Roche, Smith, Stranger, F. Sheahan, G. Sheahan, Toms, Wilson, Wiseman