Hawthorn win by 32 points
Having beaten one of the previous years' finalists in Round 1, Melbourne returned to the MCG for the first time in 1961, unfurled their premiership flag and suffered a surprise defeat against a side who had just missed the 1960 finals.
On their homeground the Demons started red hot favourite against the Hawks but were humbled by their tough, pacy opponents. Their renowned system was never put on display and tactical moves by Hawthorn coach John Kennedy and the teamwork of his players caused them to come unstuck.
Melbourne fell down badly in the middle of the ground, with three different players tried in the centre and the failure of the ruckmen leaving the rovers without a chance to impact the game.
In a low scoring clash the two teams remained close until the third quarter when Hawthorn's attack sparked and they kicked four goals to one to take a stranglehold on the match. Their defence held firm in the last and they added another three to one to run out comfortable winners.
Dixon, Leahy and Lord were Melbourne's best. Case (torn shoulder ligaments) was replaced by Dawson in the first quarter, and Bob Johnson (bruised back) by Massey at three-quarter time.
It was Melbourne's worst ever score against the Hawks at the MCG and their second lowest against them ever. The loss marked the first time in four years that Melbourne had not opened its season with two straight wins and their biggest loss on the MCG since the 1954 Grand Final.
Melbourne 13.16 d. Hawthorn 6.13
Goals - Ireland 3, Baker 2, Carroll 2, Nilssen 1, Miller 1, Thorpe 1, Milner 1, Turner 1, L. Mann 1
Best - Miller, Mooney, Urwin
Case's injury was initially reported as a fractured collarbone, before being corrected to torn shoulder ligaments later.