Melbourne win by 13 points
In their first encounter since shocking Melbourne in the previous year's Grand Final Collingwood were surprisingly heavy losers against South Melbourne in their opening game, while the Demons were troubled against Richmond before running away to a big win in the last quarter.
In a week's break after the first round of games Collingwood's senior side had lost to their reserves, then had to face Melbourne - unchanged from their opening win - in the Grand Final rematch. In comparison to their opponents the Pies were missing three of their premiership stars, including late withdrawal Ray Gabelich, forcing them to make a late change. They were too late to change their starting side, so they were down a big man until after half time.
The two sides had played a brutal, spiteful match in the Grand Final and they again desperately themselves into the game, playing the man more often than the ball. When they focused on the footy, the sides played out a tight first quarter, with Melbourne having a narrow lead at the first change of ends. Collingwood's first goal came from a free kick after Geoff Case flattened Murray Weidman after he kicked, before the Demons responded with two quick goals, holding a three point lead.
The game turned late in the second quarter when the Demons kicked four goals in seven minutes after being well held for the first 20 minutes. They gradually pulled away during the third term, a quarter featuring more physical challenges, before Collingwood began to reel them in during the last.- but they were too far behind to challenge again. With only a handful of points in it during the last quarter the visitors attacked for several minutes but were held out by a strong defensive effort, and rallied to kick the sealing goal at the other end.
Alan Rowarth played for two quarters with a depressed fracture of the cheekbone, and in the last term he was collected with another big hit that broke his nose and left him to be carried off the ground unconscious. Because he couldn't take his kick, the free he'd been paid for the bump instead became a ball up.
Jones, Adams and Ridley were best. Rowarth was replaced by Brenchley in the last quarter. Case (cramp) was replaced by Thorogood, also in the last quarter. Ridley had bruised chest, shock and slight concussion, Barassi had a gash above his left eye, Laidlaw shoulder and thigh bruised, Jones and Tassie Johnson severe bruising, and a bruised back to Williams.
Melbourne 15.12 d. Collingwood 12.7
Goals - Mann 4, Turner 4, Wilkinson 4, Crompton 2, Stevens 1
Best - Fenton-Smith, Wilson, Mann
Melbourne 10.12 d. Collingwood 9.8
Goals - Leahy 5, Anderson 2, Breen 1, Jeffrey 1, Ingwersen 1
Best - Leahy, Bourke, Miller