Melbourne win by 32 points
In their first match since the previous year's Grand Final, the Demons hardly got revenge for their thrashing in September but they did recover from their 100pt drubbing at the hands of Hawthorn in the Ansett Cup.
It was hardly a trial for Round 1, with both teams starting with experimental lineups. Not only had Melbourne been thrashed in their last Ansett Cup match, but Essendon had lost all three of their games in the tournament. The Demons even started career forward Steven Pitt as a centre-half back on Scott Lucas.
After jumping out to an early lead the Bombers recovered in the second term to take a lead into half-time, but the Demons seven goal to two third quarter put them in the box seat to win. Brad Green kicked all three of his goals during the third term rampage while at the other end Dustin Fletcher played as a full-forward. Leoncelli, Brown, Bruce, McDonald and Ingerson were all missing from the best side.
Best were Farmer, who sat out the last quarter after dominating a rookie in the midfield, White and Neitz. Rookie Benjamin Doherty suffered a hand injury.
Age - 11/03/2001
Herald Sun - 11/03/2001