Melbourne win by 13 points
First Game as Coach
In bright sunshine the VFL season opened earlier than in any other season to that date in perfect weather, and Melbourne continued a run of form against the 'same olds' which saw them not having lost to Essendon since 1924.
Windy Hill welcomed the season with a carnival atmosphere, patrons enjoying aeroplane stunts, a cycling race and a baseball match before the main event began. The hot weather was more befitting the cricket season, and when the football finally started Essendon were left encouraged by their performance against a side who had won six games more than them the previous year.
The home side opened up a lead of 20 points in the second quarter but were unfortunate to all but lose one of their players for the day after suffering a serious leg injury. He had to remain on the field, but was practically useless and with a one man advantage Melbourne made their comeback, engineering a 31 point turnaround to take an 11 point lead into half time. The revival had been helped by a collision between two Essendon players which temporarily took them out of the game and allowed Melbourne to seize the advantage.
Melbourne had been more impressive in the air and had a better functioning forward line, but the gap was reduced to a point at the last change of ends. Both sides were playing with a dogged defence, and after restricting the Reds to two behinds in the third quarter Essendon were back in the game.
The visitors scored two in a row at the start of the last quarter, before Essendon got two of their own to level the scores at the 20 minute mark. Melbourne were saved by Hope and Dunbar goals in the last few minutes.
Hope, Dunbar and Chadwick were best. Johnson injured his ankle.
Essendon 16.13.109 d. Melbourne 10.7.67
Sporting Globe gives the crowd as 23,000