Essendon win by 10 points
Having lost three times to Essendon already during 1902, Melbourne looked like they were going to snap the streak at just the right time when they led by seven points at three quarter time with a spot in the Grand Final on offer.
Wracked by injuries Melbourne couldn't hold on. Essendon had their issues too, losing a player to an ankle injury early in the game. He remained in the play but didn't get another touch. Melbourne were better for most of the day, and were 17 points in front at half time before Essendon struck back. They had kicked wildly throughout the half, but after a rough start to the third quarter where the lead extended as far as 19 points they took over.
Melbourne were not done yet though, and opened up an eight point lead with 15 minutes left. It took the great Albert Thurgood to reduce the margin to two before an Essendon player threw the ball onto his boot as he was tackled and watched it roll through the goal despite some suggestion that he should have been penalised. The Reds attacked again but Essendon kept them out, getting the ball down the other end of the field where it was converted with a place kick to seal the game.
Best were Sowden, Langley and Hocking. Sowden suffered a cut eye but returned to the field with his head swathed in bandages.
Newspaper claims attendance as "about 7000"
The Argus - 08/09/1902