Carlton win by 2 points
Having finished outside the top two for the first time since 1954, the Demons were forced into a knockout semi-final against the side they had bested a week before in the last home and away game. Carlton were ruthless in their selection, dumping three players, including 1961 Brownlow Medal winner John James being sent to the bench. The Demons dropped Bob Miller, after playing 16 of 18 games, and Bob Carroll.
Ron Barassi was troubled with a groin injury, and John Lord was forced from the ground with an injury in the first term but nevertheless Melbourne led, or trailed narrowly, until the three quarter time siren. The Demons concentrated all their efforts on stopping ruckman John Nicholls, but missed Sergio Silvagni's star turn.
Melbourne won the toss and kicked to an end with a strong wind, but the Blues restricted them to two goals each in the opening term. It took Melbourne 11 minutes to kick their first goal, and they were behind late in the term before Ray Nilsson goalled. Carlton didn't take advantage of the wind either, only leading by a point at the half.
The Blues started the third quarter with a goal within 20 seconds. Melbourne regularly broke down at the half-forward line, looking listless and jaded. They were reinvigorated with three goals in five minues late in the term that overturned a 13 point deficit to leave them seven points in front. They could have had another if a Kenneally mark in the square was paid, but shortly after that Nilsson goalled to restore a 13 point lead. The Blues got a goal, but a late Hassa Mann reply restored a 14 point lead at the last change.
Carlton were immediately in attack at the start of the last, putting the Demons on the back foot with the opening goal. Scores were level after 23 minutes, by which point the Demons had slowed to a walk. They defended grimly but let in two behinds that had the Blues in front. Melbourne couldn't find another goal and lost.
The Demons' season ended in high controversy after an incident late in the game. Carlton's Graeme Anderson cleaned up Geoff Tunbridge after a dropped mark, and as Laurie Mithen charged towards an open goal the umpire brought the ball back for a ball-up. It might have been a free kick to the Demon, it might have been play-on, but nobody could work out how it was a ball-up. It was the last MFC act Tunbridge had been involved with as he retired at the end of the year.
((Norm Smith) said "Naturally we are disappointed, but we congratulate Carlton as this game was won and lost many times. I am very proud of the Melbourne boys' performance. We have enjoyed success, and it's up to us to be gracious in defeat.
Best were Len Mann, Dixon and Mithen. Miller replaced Lord (thigh) in the first quarter, and Townsend replaced Barassi (groin) in the last quarter. Barassi's injury was so severe he likely wouldn't have played either of the following finals if Melbourne had qualified.
Sun - 31/08/1962
Sun - 01/09/1962
Blueseum match report