Melbourne win by 9 points
Laurie Fowler (also with Richmond)
After three weeks on the road to start the season, Melbourne returned to the MCG and welcomed new recruit Brent Crosswell to the side. The former Carlton and North Melbourne player had kicked six goals on debut in the Escort Cup but had also been suspended for striking.
The Bulldogs had every chance of breaking their duck in season 1980, and let at quarter time. They had their chances but didn't take them and if it wasn't for Kelvin Templeton and inconsistency they would have won by a lot more.
Crosswell was slow to start in his Melbourne debut but when he got going he kicked four goals. Robert Walters was also prominent but blotted his copybook by kicking 4.6.
Carl Ditterich likened the match to 'a country dunny' but added that it was "a lot of fun". Carl had a tough time of it early as well, not getting his first kick until ten minutes into the 2nd quarter but minutes later he goalled and grew into one of his side's best.
Along with Crosswell, Robert Walters was prominent up front and had four goals and should have had more. Robert Flower, Greg Wells and Gary Baker were best. The Age described Wells as "the afternoon's only poet". Baker later discovered he had a broken toe, initially thought to be a case of gout.
After the win the 3-1 Melbourne were switched to 15-1 for the premiership, in from their pre-season price of 33-1.
Melbourne 20.15.135 d. Footscray 16.18.114
Goals - O'Donnell 5, Woodman 5, Maynard 4, Wingate 2, Battiston 1, Coles 1, Hunnibell 1, Pinnell 1
Best - Hunnibell, Woodman, Pinnell
Footscray 19.11.125 d. Melbourne 101.2.72
Goals - Boyle 2, Seiler 2, Fidge 1, Folan 1, Ford 1, Kelly 1, McKenzie 1, Osiruak 1