Essendon win by 6 points
1 - Adem Yze
First game and first goal
Having lost a game they were expected to win the week before Melbourne had been under intense media pressure for percieved 'softness' during the week and responded with a strong performance against the reigning premiers. On a day that the club was plunged into off-field crisis by Joseph Gutnick declaring a spill of board positions, the team's on-field season started to look equally shaky despite their improved performance.
It took Essendon 23 minutes to kick their first goal, but once they booted two at the start of the second they were never headed again. The Demons had taken a lead into quarter time, but after then they were chasing the Bombers. David Schwarz was having a dirty day, when a mis-kick allowed Dean Rioli to kick a goal then gave away two more goals with 50m penalties. Later on he was reported for striking Gary Moorcroft.
The margin barely blew out over a goal for the entire match, and the two sides spent the third quarter going goal for goal. Debutant Troy Broadbridge missed a kick for goal with his first kick in league football but was bowled over as he kicked it, received a free kick and converted what was officially labelled his first AFL kick. His goal cut the margin to five points but a Matthew Lloyd goal gave the Bombers a ten point lead at the final change.
Shane Woewodin went head to head with James Hird, with the Essendon champion taking a points victory with his four goals from a half forward flank.
Essendon led by as much as four goals in the last term, but three straight goals from Yze, Brown and Robertson had Melbourne back to within a goal with less than a minute to go. From the last centre bounce the Demons were heading forward for one last thrust, but a blatant trip on Simon Godfrey was not called and the Bombers survived despite conceding a majority of inside 50's for the day.
Best for Melbourne were Whelan, Yze and James McDonald.
Neale Daniher said "I had a lot of faith in the group and I thought they played with tremendous spirit."
Age - 21/05/2001
AFANA News 2001