Melbourne win by 59 points
First MFC Game
After having disappointed in their first round match, Melbourne bounced back to open their account in 2004 with an impressive victory over Richmond. The Tigers had beaten Collingwood handily a week before, but they were a shadow of that side on a Friday night at the MCG. Bruce, Vardy and Read replaced the axed Heffernan and Williams, and suspended Daniel Ward.
Before the match 50 past-players, and high profile supporters walked onto the ground as a show of unity in the club. Then it was time for skipper David Neitz to deliver a performance that would have made any of them proud.
Neitz comprehensively destroyed former All-Australian defender with Darren Gaspar with ten marks and nine goals. The Demons kicked the first three of the match before Richmond managed a major. With Robertson goalled midway through the quarter the margin had exploded out to 28 points, and held onto a four goal lead at quarter time.
In the second term Clint Bizzell dominated across the backline and repeatedly defused Richmond attacks. Nevertheless the Tigers got the first goal of the term, followed by a brawl between James McDonald and Wayne Campbell which left the Richmond man with a bloodied nose. McDonald was found not guilty of wrestling while Travis Johnstone was fined $1200 for abusive language.
The Demons steadied to kick the next three and Neitz had five to the long break. Richmond stemmed the tide in the third term but couldn't put any significant score on the board to pressure their opponents.
Eight goals to the good at the last change the Demons kicked the first three of the last quarter to extend the margin to 70 points before Richmond kicked a belated four goals in a row. Neitz then kicked his ninth to to finish the massacre.
Neale Daniher said "I'm really happy for our supporters to be able to witness a Melbourne team really firing up. It was a great night for the club. The players did a bit of soul-searching after last week and they knew we were better than that."
"Demons thrash Richmond" - The Age 03/04/2004