Essendon win by 25 points
Melbourne started the second last game of the season behind Essendon on percentage and needing to win to get back inside the top four and keep their fate in their own hand going into the last Saturday of the league's first round.After a poor start to the season they had dragged themselves back inside the top four midway through the year only to fall behind Essendon again late in the year, and the loss saw them all but eliminated barring a miracle in the last match.
In front of a record crowd for a home and away match, the game was played in a near finals atmosphere. The teams put on a game befitting the occasion. Essendon kicked with a slight wind advantage in the first quarter, and opened up a lead of nearly three goals. At the other end, third gamer Colin Love goalled with his first three kicks.
The Demons stormed back from 17 points down to take a two point lead into half time, despite conceding the first goal when Jones and McGrath ran into each other and left John Coleman to kick his fourth. Dominance across the centre and in the ruck helped make up for a lack of pace.
Heavy rain fell for the third quarter, and Melbourne attacked hard but lost opportunities due to weak forward play. Essendon took the conditions better, hitting back with two goals in a row and building a match-winning lead. They kicked 5.7 to 0.1 for the quarter and were 29 points in front. Four quick last quarter goals to McKenzie gave Melbourne some hope of overtaking them, but Essendon held on to win comfortably.
North Melbourne's come from behind win at Geelong meant that the Roos confirmed their spot in the four and ensured Melbourne couldn't sneak past them.
Bickford, Dockett and Jackson were best. 19th man Spittle replaced Harvey at three quarter time and Rollason was an unused reserve. Billy Deans was reported for striking during the third quarter but found not guilty.
Essendon 9.13 d. Melbourne 7.8
Herald gives the official attendance as 58,336