Melbourne win by 18 points
St Kilda were the last side to have beaten Melbourne, in Round 4 and while they came close to a victory they were never really in the hunt during a low scoring game on a wet day which was bookended by two scoreless quarters - one for each side.
The Saints were first to go scoreless, ending the opening quarter 23 points down. Ironically, the first quarter was probably their best of the first three. They had their opponents on the back foot with physical play but their forwards failed miserably. Melbourne countered by playing like they were in the dry, using handball and a loose man to quickly rebound out of defence and towards their own goal.
Much of their success was thanks to a centre line that blanketed its opposition. Mann, Dixon and Adams were dominant, and even with the ball coated in mud and scores kept low, Melbourne’s forwards beat their accomplished opposition. In defence, Darrel Baldock was, as one newspaper put it “guarded like a bank vault” and entirely cut out of the game.
After their disappointing open term the Saints never got close, more than five goals down at the final change. Melbourne switched off in the last, failing to score as St Kilda, led by young Carl Ditterich, tried to turn the game into a physical scrap. They only managed three goals and ran out of time to mount a comeback. It was the second, and to date last, time in league history that Melbourne have gone scoreless in a last quarter and still won.
Smith landed in hot water after the game, suggesting in a radio interview that umpire Don Blew had been “subconsciously biased” towards the underdog Saints. Umpire Blew was incensed by the comments and demanded an apology. At the time the controversy was quickly forgetten, when Smith to apologise Blew sued both the coach and radio station 3AW.
The Demons held St. Kilda scoreless in the first, jumping to a three goal lead. And with the game seemingly won at three-quarter time it was the Saints who stepped up and kept Melbourne from scoring in the final term. Fortunately they managed just two goals of their own and Melbourne held on for a vital late season victory. The final margin flattered the visitors, who were well beaten.
It was the second and last time in league history that Melbourne have gone scoreless in a last quarter and still won.
Best were Mann, Dixon and Barassi. Brian Roet suffered a calf injury, replaced by Watson in the last quarter. Leitch was an unused reserve.
Melbourne 8.20 d. St Kilda 7.8
Goals - Vearing 2, Andrew 2, Carlson 1, Mounter 1, Slade 1, Zinko 1
Best - Bartlett, Zinko, Davis
Melbourne 6.9 d. St. Kilda 4.8
Goals - Schultz 3, Osborne 1, Lockwood 1, Minton-Connell 1
Best - Milalrd, Griffiths, Lockwood