Sydney win by 8 points
3 - Robert Pyman
First game and first goal
Coming off a Grand Final defeat, the Swans' opening home game took on a marquee rugby league match at the nearby Sydney Football Stadium for the first time. In the first non-Sunday game Melbourne had played in the city since South Melbourne moved there, the SuperLeague game between New South Wales and Queensland narrowly won the attendance battle but it was still a significant step up from the crowds the clubs drew a couple of years earlier.
After a thrashing the previous week, Melbourne looked set for more of the same when they trailed by 41 during the second quarter. A fightback cut the margin to four goals at half time, and one point at the last change.
The fightback started when Shaun Smith was carried off during the second quarter, and was led by Garry Lyon who was the driving force behind five straight goals which helped Melbourne take the lead early in the last quarter before Sydney recovered to fall over the line against a Demon side who ended the game with no fit players left on the bench. The game was in the balance for 15 minutes in the last quarter until the home side goalled to extend the lead to seven points.
Stephen Tingay was replaced in the selected side by Adem Yze after suffering a rib injury, while Shaun Smith (knee and concussion), Nick Pesch (thigh) and Andrew Leoncelli were injured during the match. Former Demon Kevin Dyson was a late withdrawal to face his old side due to flu.
Newton's goal came with his first kick in league football.
Best were G. Lovett, Stynes and B. Lovett. Jeff Farmer was suspended for two weeks for striking.
Sydney 12.16.88 d. Melbourne 13.5.83
Goals - Nicholson 4, Bradly 3, Robertson 2, Irving 1, Kowal 1, Cockatoo-Collins 1, Gardiner 1, Physick 1
Best - Irving, Bassett, Nicholson
Some sources report Dyson missing the game due to 'a work commitment'.
Age - 11/04/1997
Sydney Morning Herald - 12/04/1997
Football Record R4 1997