Melbourne win by 10 points
Goalkickers: Gaunt 4, Martyn 1, Catoggio 1
A tiny crowd traveled to Waverley to see the debut of Ron Barassi as coach, and while Melbourne fans weren't disappointed by the result it was a match without much to recommend it.
In cold, wet and slippery conditions Footscray managed just one goal in the first three quarters, at the 18 minute mark of the third, before charging home in the last term. Three goals in five minutes gave them a chance but they were too far behind and fell short.
On the strength of their performance at league headquarters it was no surprise that the two sides went on to fill the bottom two spots on the ladder at the end of the year. Footscray still proceeded to the second round as the VFL loser with the best percentage after Round 1.
Best were Flower, Gaunt and Moir. Hardeman (thigh), Elshaug (finger) and Keenan (back) were all late withdrawals. Gaunt was one of the late additions and kicked all three of his side's first half goals. Future Demon Kelvin Templeton suffered a serious knee injury.
Age - 14/03/1981
Canberra Times - 15/03/1981
Inside Football - 19/03/1981