Essendon win by 6 points
1 - Adem Yze
First game and first goal
While the clubs had played a pre-season game, the real Grand Final replay saw a much closer margin but the same winners. After losing as favourites the previous week, Melbourne had been under intense pressure for perceived 'softness', and responded with a strong performance against a side that had bullied them in the Grand Final.
The action started before the game, with the club plunged into off-field crisis by President Joseph Gutnick declaring a spill of board position. Once the match started it took Essendon 23 minutes to kick their first goal, and they trailed by eight points at quarter time before two early goals after the restart grabbed the lead for good. As his side continued to slide down the ladder, David Schwarz had a dirty day, conceding one goal from a turnover, two more from 50 metre penalties, then being reported for striking Gary Moorcroft during the third quarter. The striking charge was later withdrawn.
The margin was barely more than a goal all day, and both sides kicked four in the third quarter. Debutant Troy Broadbridge missed a shot on goal with his first kick but was bowled over in the process, and converted from a free that was credited as his first kick. That cut the margin to five, before Essendon hit back to take a 10 point lead into the last quarter. They blew the margin out to more than four goals with seven minutes left, before Yze, Brown, and Robertson cut the gap to under a kick with less than a minute left. Melbourne won the last centre clearance, but a blatant trip on Simon Godfrey went unpunished and the Bombers survived.
Neale Daniher demanded an explanation from umpires for the Godfrey incident, but was complimentary about his side's performance. He said "I had a lot of faith in the group and I thought they played with tremendous spirit."
Australian - 21/05/2001
Herald Sun - 21/05/2001
Advertiser - 21/05/2001
Age - 21/05/2001
Sydney Morning Herald - 21/05/2001
AFANA News 2001