The 2010 Queen’s Birthday clash on paper was supposed to be a landslide.
Collingwood were second on the ladder and headed for premiership glory, while the Demons languished in fourth last with four wins to their name.
But Melbourne were confident in their ability to beat the soon-to-be premiers after falling short by a single point in their Round 2 match.
While this clash would be slightly better for the Demons, both sides would fall agonisingly short of victory.
Each week, Aflplayers.com.au will bring to light the perspective of someone at the heart of a memorable moment from a game played between two sides before their upcoming clash.
Demon midfielder Brent Moloney was in career-best form leading into his fourth appearance on the Queen’s Birthday public holiday and, after growing up a Melbourne supporter, said the game was always one he looked forward to.
But the game didn’t start the way Melbourne would’ve liked with the Magpies having six shots at goal before Dean Bailey’s men kicked their first major.
“It was a tight tussle all game and it ebbed and flowed like most games do,” Moloney told Aflplayers.com.au.
“It was an attacking game and we managed to take our chances a little bit better than they did.”
Collingwood were on early but failed to capitalise and went into the quarter-time break with four goals and eight behinds, leading the Demons by two straight goals.
Amazingly, Mick Malthouse’s men would kick two goals in the following two quarters to Melbourne’s four.
Less than a goal down to start the final quarter, the Demons leveled the scores immediately through Nathan Jones before a Brad Miller crumb and snap goal put them in front with 13 minutes left.
The Magpies replied quickly, however, with Darren Jolley — who had been well-beaten by Mark Jamar in the ruck all day — finding space in the goal-square to the level the scores once more.
With eight minutes to go, Brad Dick soccered a major through from close range — his fourth for the day — and the Pies were out by six.
Enter Jamar, who surged into the forward 50 and mark uncontested while Darren Jolley was resting forward and kicked truly and the scores were once again level.
Jamar was having a day out, as was Moloney and the two provided one of the more dominant ruckman/rover combinations at the time.
“I was pretty lucky to have Mark Jamar there who hit it down my throat more often than not — he was on fire that day and featured in the Brownlow Medal voting,” Moloney said.
“It’s funny, you don’t normally look back on individual performances but you remember the good wins you had as a side. It was nice to find a bit of the footy but it doesn’t matter much if you don’t get the four points in the end.”
When Matthew Bate kicked his second goal for the afternoon, Melbourne were again out to a six-point lead but it would be the last time the Demons would trouble the scoreboard.
Moloney ended up with a career-high 38 touches, eight inside 50s and six clearances but Dane Swan was equally as good, collecting 38 disposals of his own and having a large say for the Magpies.
A Tarkyn Lockyer mark and goal from inside 50 leveled the scores for one final time and with 26 minutes gone in the final term, the players were getting desperate.
A hectic final three minutes ensued but neither side were able to score and the siren sounded with the scores at 76 a piece.
“Drawing a match of footy is a weird, everyone’s just standing around not knowing what to do or how to feel,” Moloney said.
“I remember thinking after the game it should be five minutes each way because you put so much effort and work so hard for two hours only to not get a result. I think supporters would also like to see a result and it would become an exciting part of our game.”
Unsure why the young Demons outfit matched-up so well against the Magpies in 2010, Moloney said Melbourne learned a lot from their encounters against 2010’s premiers.
“We went through a lot of situational training following that. It was a good learning curve for all of the players at the footy club.
“We also took a lot of confidence from that game because Collingwood were obviously a good side that year, we knew they were a good chance at winning the flag, and we matched it with them twice.”
Melbourne would go on to win eight games for the season — their best return since playing finals in 2006 — with Dean Bailey in his third year at the helm.
While things would go south for the Demons in a year’s time, Moloney said Bailey had what it took to take the club further.
“Dean and I built a really strong relationship and he was a great mentor for me. The way he built relationships with his players, he really took time to get to know his players and he always had his door open if anyone wanted a chat, that was the thing that I liked most about him.
“He was ahead of the game and he had the smarts to be successful. He was a great footy person.”