Essendon win by 16 points
2 - David Neitz
The Demons looked in control at 30 points in front during the third quarter, before for the second week in a row they fell apart in the last quarter and a half and the Bombers recovered to earn a 16 point win.
Todd Viney was booked for striking Michael Long, sparking a second quarter melee involving 25 players. He pled not guilty but was suspended for two matches, and the clubs were fined $15k each for the brawl. The AFL was then forced to temporarily withdraw the fines because of an administrative blunder, later hitting each with a $10k bill. It was the first time the melee rule had been invoked. During the fight, the umpire attempted to restart play, and for a short time the ball was chased around by seven players.
With the game slipping away from his side Kevin Sheedy shuffled his team and found a winning combination, getting two goals out of former Geelong defender Tim Darcy in the forward line. Neil Balme said "perhaps we let the guard down a bit on him".
The Melbourne midfield had been on top for most of the day, but when Viney left the game with a hamstring injury Essendon started to get on top. Garry Lyon kicked four goals in the first half but added just two more. When the Bombers defenders started to start Melbourne's forwards they started to take over. Neil Balme tried his own positional swap, moving David Neitz forward. He kicked two goals but Essendon were the better side in the second half and went on to win.
Best were Lyon, Neitz and Hilton. Viney also suffered a hamstring injury.
Melbourne 7.13.55 d. Essendon 5.7.37
Goals - Gaspar 3, Hall 1, Sampson 1, Carroll 1, Butterworth 1
Best - Clarke, Hall, Heppell