Essendon win by 43 points
A surprise run at the finals had seen Melbourne win six games in a row, and they were boosted in their quest for a seventh by the absence of Essendon spearhead Paul Salmon. A seventh win was not to be. The wet ground didn't suit them, and after holding a slim quarter time lead the dangerous Gerard Healy was beaten comfortably by Mark Thompson and the Bombers brought the Demon juggernaut back to earth.
With his side sliding towards their first loss in nearly two months, Ron Barassi was in a foul mood. He stormed onto the ground to spray his troops and ended up in a slanging match with Shane Zantuck, whose teammates had to physically drag him away from the confrontation. Barassi had been berating his players for not looking him in the eye during the spray and Zantuck took exception on the grounds that he had been doing just that. It soon escalated into a general slanging match between the two in the middle of VFL Park. Coach and player reportedly made up over a drink at the Village Green Hotel in Waverley that night. Not surprisingly the side failed to find spark in the last term and crashed to their 10th consecutive loss against the Bombers. They kicked just 3.11 in the last three quarters.
The master coach had his own critics though. Mike Coward in the Age noted that David Cordner had been bizarrely moved to full-forward from centre half-forward at half time despite playing a dominant first two quarters in his original position. Steven Icke was moved into the forward line as well and failed to fire.
Best were Steven Smith, Chris Connolly and Steven Icke. Connolly was reported for striking Paul Van Der Haar during the final quarter but was cleared. Richards suffered a cut head, Johnson a strained thigh and Reynolds an injured groin.
Melbourne 19.17.131 d. Essendon 14.8.92
Goals - McDonald 4, Battiston 3, Howard 3, Conger 2, Hughes 2, Hutchinson 2, Cowling 1, Fisher 1, Hutchison 1
Best - Allday, Boland, Battiston
Melbourne 22.13.149 d. Essendon 9.6.60
Goals - Paul McCarty 6, Marra 3, Louttit 2, Lane 2, Nichols 2, Lawrence 2, Peter McCarty 1, Lyon 1, Cheung 1, Bourke 1, Duerkop 1
Best - Paul McCarty, Bourke, Peter McCarty