Essendon win by 13 points
Two sides who had gone from red hot premiership favourites to third behind Fitzroy in a fortnight battled in what became an ultimately meaningless last round clash. Melbourne couldn't be dislodged from the top, and Essendon had already conceded second place to the Lions. Both sides had lost the previous week, Melbourne to the future wooden spooners Richmond. Had the Bombers won the previous Saturday they would have been playing to dislodge the Demons from top spot.
Although the game meant nothing for the final make-up of the ladder, it was psychologically important, and despite a hard training week from Norm Smith as punishment for capitulation against the Tigers, Melbourne were stunned by their third straight loss to finish the season after having won 11 in a row to head the league.
The Demons had lost Terry Gleeson to a bruised calf and Clyde Laidlaw to an allergic reaction to antibiotics, and made a number of positional shifts to cover their absence but still dominated the first three quarters. Back on their favoured dry ground their fast, play-on football had combined with shocking kicking on goal by the Bombers to give them a handy lead.
It started well for the Demons, using their superior pace they opened a 14 point lead at quarter time. They got the opener in tehs econd term as well, before the Bombers recovered to be just 13 points behind at the long break.
Melbourne again opened the quarter with a goal, this time through Lord, and looked the far better side. With Ron Barassi getting sucked into fighting with Essendon players, police were forced to staand behind the goal as fans had started to throw beer cans. For all their efforts, the Demons ceded three points off the lead, going into the last term 10 points up. They only kicked two goals, both through Lord.
When the last quarter came around, with both sides having a chance to make a big statement before the finals began, Essendon stormed home with a blistering five goal to two term to steal victory. Two early goals increased Melbourne's lead to 22 points and seemingly made the game safe before the rally. Melbourne led until the last 10 minutes before three quick goals gave the lead to Essendon, allowing them to run away with a confidence boosting victory.
Essendon 12.11 d. Melbourne 10.12
Goals - Milner 3, Pinfold 3, J. Leahy 2, Unknown 2
Best - Milner, Leahy, Strachov