Melbourne win by 6 points
With the two sides trying to come to terms with different wind conditions caused by the missing Ponsford Stand, the Demons couldn't get going in the first quarter before booting seven goals in the second to take a three goal lead into the long break.
Melbourne took a 20 point into the last change, and extended the gap to 38 points before Hawthorn booted six in a row into the wind to level the scores deep in the last quarter. When James McDonald was carried off in a neck brace near the end of the game after landing heavily on the back of his head in a marking contest it gave the Dees time to regroup and shortly afterwards Brad Green steadied to kick the winner from a set shot 45m out and give his side a win to start the season. McDonald recovered to sing the song in the rooms afterwards and was cleared of serious damage.
Neitz, Green and Robertson were Melbourne's best, with Simon Godfrey also keeping the dangerous Shane Crawford quiet. Daniel Ward hurt his ankle and Troy Broadbridge, in his first match back from a knee injury, injured his shoulder.
Neale Daniher said "I thought they were terrific and brave the way they kept at us and at us, so you can't take anything away from Hawthorn."
Age - 30/03/2003
Age - 31/03/2003
Herald Sun - 31/03/2003