Footscray win by 27 points
Despite having lost to Hawthorn in the Semi Final, Melbourne were expected to comfortably account for the Bulldogs. They had to account for fitness concerns over Adams,, Case, Dixon, Laidlaw and Leahy It was not the case, the Dogs were as much as nine goals in front before they took their foot off the gas and let the Demons make the score respectable.
Kicking with the wind in the first quarter the Dogs comfortably accounted for Melbourne, holding them goalless. When they had their turn with the breeze the Demons managed just two goals of their own and by the end of the third quarter they were being thrashed. Most Footscray players were on their game, while Melbourne had numerous weak links. With Brownlow Medal winning ruckman John Schultz dominant in the ruck, the Demons were in trouble early and never got a serious look at victory.
Norm Smith tried to stem the tide with a number of positional moves but most failed to pay dividends. Forward Ray Dawson went on the ball, Robert B Johnson played centre half-forward, Laurie Mithen at centre half-back, Clyde Laidlaw in the middle and Ron Barassi to full forward. None of the changes helped. Nor did Brien Roet to centre half-back and John Lord to centre half-forward later in the game.
With the wind in the last quarter there was the merest chance that the Demons might storm home with a famous win from 42 points down, but when the Dogs kicked the first goal of the term just thirty seconds in their fate was sealed. The Demons, aided by Laurie Mithen at full forward for the last term, made a comeback but were too far behind. They were already a beaten side at three quarter time. They looked jaded and tired, while Footscray appeared to be full of energy.
Bulldog Merv Hobbs took a gigantic grab over Trevor Johnson that was dubbed 'Mark of the Century'.
Melbourne won the free kick count 33-27 but lost on kicks and marks. Brian Dixon was Melbourne's top kick getter with 22 despite suffering facial injuries.
Dixon, Kenneally and Trevor Johnson were best. Rowarth replaced Adams in the last quarter, and Turner replaced Ridley at three quarter time. Dixon had a fractured cheekbone and Hassa Mann fractured ribs.
It was the first time Melbourne had failed to qualify for the Grand Final in six seasons. The loss was also bad news for newspaper pundit Lou Richards, who had promised to clip Ted Whitten's front lawn with nail scissors if the Dogs won.
Mithen 2.3, Barassi 2.1, Dawson 1.0, Lord 1.0, R. Johnson 1.1, Tunbridge 1.0, Adams 0.2, H. Mann 0.1, Ridley 0.1, Dixon 0.1
Sun - 16/09/1961
Age - 18/09/1961
Football Record 1961 Grand Final