Essendon win by 26 points
After an even first quarter the more experienced Bombers kicked away to lead by 44 points at half-time and 55 early in the third term but Melbourne clawed the margin back to four goals at the last change.
In a match where the focus was on James Hird playing his first match since Round 2 of 1999, Matthew Lloyd kicked 7 for the winners.
Best for the Demons were Woewodin, Yze and Rigoni.
David Schwarz was reported for kicking but the charge was withdrawn before it could reach the tribunal.
"Dons thrive, Hird survives" - Herald Sun 20/02/2000