West Coast win by 33 points
After starting the season 2-1, Melbourne had lost two in a row and were struggling. The Eagles first, and only home and away, visit to Melbourne for the season should have been the perfect opportunity for them to get back on track in 2003.
The first quarter, though, saw the Eagles skip away to a three goal lead. Other than Neitz and Robertson the Demons had no forward targets and found it hard to penetrate the Eagle defence. They also lost Jeff White with a strained medial ligament after the ruckman was collected in a big bump by Kasey Green. The Eagles had lost three players too, but they still had enough in the tank to engineer a comeback.
The second was a complete turnaround as Melbourne booted five to one to take the lead at half time. Adem Yze came into the game, and Darren Jolly was strong when thrown into the ruck in White's absence. Vardy, Moorcroft and Green all goalled before Yze booted his second to give his side a lead at half time.
Kicking into the wind in the third quarter, Melbourne went goal for goal with the Eagles early before Phil Matera - well held early by Luke Williams - burst into life with three goals, eventually helping his team get off the leash on route to ten goals for the term.
Melbourne were just four goals behind and had the lead cut to 21 points in the final term but couldn't get any closer. The Eagles booted nine of the last twelve goals, highlighting the Demons habit of fading out badly late in games.
Best were Brown, Yze and McDonald. Jeff White was suspended for one match for making contact with an umpire.
Neale Daniher was surprisingly upbeat after the match, "We will continue to attack the game and hopefully our skill will rise to a level that will get us back to playing our best football," he said. "The worst thing we can do now is go into our shell and play safe and maybe not make too many mistakes."