Melbourne win by 5 points
Named as one of the sides with potential to jump into the four the Redlegs opened their season with a fighting victory against South on a perfect day for football at the Lake Oval.
In an attractive match the height and weight advantage of the Reds allowed them to hold off South for most of the day, even withstanding a serious comeback in the last quarter. They debuting Dunbar brothers provided height and weight, but backed up their physical attributes with skilled play as well.
Neither side played well as a team in the first half, but South had the better of what little teamwork was on show. To compensate Melbourne were better in the air and took a two goal to nil lead into quarter time. South had the wind advantage in the second quarter and held the Reds goalless, reducing the margin to a point at half time. They would have had more but Melbourne defended resolutely.
By the third quarter the teams were starting to warm to the new season, and with the breeze in their favour again Melbourne had the better of the improved quality. With sides weak in the forward line Melbourne's superior defence was contrasted by South winning in the rucks. The visitors finished strongly to open up a 22 point lead at the last change, but South's ruckmen further took a hold of the game in the last and caused the momentum to shift firmly in their team's favour.
Melbourne had the first score of the final term with a behind to Dave Elliman. He was returning from a two year break playing for Williamstown in the VFA but his comeback was ruined by a shoulder injury in the first quarter and he spent the rest of the match in the forward line barely able to contribute. South kicked two quick goals, then three behinds before reducing the margin to less than a goal.
Harker got a goal against the run of play for his tiring side, but South hit back immediately out of the centre. With three minutes left South were less than a goal behind but a late effort missed and the visitors narrowly survived.
Chadwick, Streeter and Edgar Dunbar were best.