Saturday 1 May - MCG
Melbourne 0.1, 0.6, 0.6, 2.8 (Brown, Baird)
Hotham 2.2, 2.5, 3.8, 4.12
Hotham win by 2 goals
Goalkickers: Brown 1, Baird 1
Hotham had been one of only two sides Melbourne had beaten twice during their horror 1885 season, so it was a disappointing opening to the season when the Reds lost to them to open the 1886 campaign.
It was the first time the clubs had played under the new rules where they were required to change ends every half an hour instead of playing two hour long halves.
With several new players in their ranks Melbourne kicked into the wind in the first quarter and registered the first behind of the game, but Hotham soon got two goals to set up a commanding lead. When the home side had their chance with the wind they were wasteful, only managing to register six behinds for the half. Griffiths might have had a goal but it was touched through by a Hotham player.
The visitors went four goals in front before Melbourne finally got two consolation goals at the end of the match.
Best were Kelly, Carroll and Griffith
Some sources have Hotham's score as 4.13