Round 20, 1981
North Melbourne vs Melbourne
Saturday 15 August
Venue: Arden Street
North Melbourne win by 58 points
Goalkickers: Tony Elshaug 4, Shane Braddy 2, Mark Jackson 2, Kelly O'Donnell 2, Gerard Healy 1, Michael Seddon 1, Ian Todd 1
In an era where kicks always outnumbered handballs, Melbourne had an amazing 189/157 ratio for just 16 possessions less than their opponents. The problem was what they did with them.
Peter Keenan was a late withdrawal, and with full-back Steven Smith the only other big man available he was shifted into the centre. He played a surprisingly good game in the ruck but his absence from the back-line clearly hurt the Demons.
Melbourne had run through a banner cheekily claiming "Another Barassi win at Arden Street", which was slightly optimistic considering they had won just one of nineteen so far that year. Even when they led by two goals in the first quarter it seemed to be a foolish claim. In the second quarter it was proven so with North booting eight goals to one.
There was a slight revival in the third quarter when Tony Elshaug kicked three goals and set-up another, including one of the goals of the season from 60 metres out. The backline however wasn't able to stop North scoring at will. Kerry Good, who had set a personal best of 9 goals the last time the two sides played, upped his PB to 10 goals with another massacre of the brittle Demon backline.
Tony Elshaug, Steven Smith and Graham Gaunt were best. Peter Keenan was replaced in the selected side by Ian Todd due to an ankle injury.
The gate receipts were so poor that the $7249 which fans paid fell $1000 short of the cost of providing footballs, police, gate attendants and umpires for the day. The league agreed to chip in with the money. It was the first time in league history that the competition had stepped in to cover a shortfall at the gate. The corresponding fixture a year earlier had lost $8 at the gate and the ground manager of Arden Street paid the shortfall out of his own pocket.
North Melbourne 25.18.168 d. Melbourne 13.10.88
Goals - Byrne 6, DiStefano 2, Barham 1, Clayton 1, Catoggio 1, McGlashan 1, Tossol 1
Best - Tossol, McLean, Pappas
Melbourne 18.24.122 defeated North Melbourne 10.7.67
Canberra Times - 16/08/1981
Age - 17/08/1981
Age - 20/08/1981