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2000 Grand Final (What They Can Do Next Week)

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2000 AFL Grand Final
1 2 3 4
ESS 5.7 (37) 11.11 (77) 14.15 (99) 17.22 (124)
WST 2.3 (15) 3.6 (24) 7.9 (51) 9.13 (67)
Date 2 September 2000
Stadium Melbourne Cricket Ground
Attendance 98,007
Umpires Darren Goldspink, Brett Allen, Hayden Kennedy 
Coin toss won by James Hird, Essendon
Kicked toward Punt Road End
Ceremonies
Pre-match entertainment The Idea of North, Trish Delaney-Brown, Megan Corson, Andrew Piper and Nick Begie
National anthem Bachelor Girl
Halftime show
Post-match entertainment Mike Brady, Russell Morris and Rick Price
Accolades
Norm Smith Medallist Michael Long (Essendon)
Jock McHale Medallist Kevin Sheedy (Essendon)
Broadcast in Australia
Network Seven Network
Announcer Bruce McAvaney, Sandy Roberts, Anthony Hudson and Robert DiPierdomenico
< 1999 AFL Grand Final 2001 > 

The 2000 AFL Grand Final was an Australian Rules Football match set to determine the premier of the 2000 AFL season. The match, contested between Essendon and the Western Bulldogs was attended by 98,007 spectators and was won by the Essendon by a margin of 57 points. The victory gave the Essendon Football Club their 16th premiership, the equal most (alongside the Carlton Football Club), and denied the Western Bulldogs the equal most premiership victories in succession. 

Background

The 2000 grand final was the second time these teams met, and first in a row. Essendon, rebounding off its 1999 grand final loss to the Western Bulldogs, again won the minor premiership, and had to battle the fourth placed Geelong in the first qualifying final. After a 15 point win at home against the third placed Brisbane Lions, they went into the Grand Final a week later looking for revenge. 

Essendon's opponents and rivals from the season previous entered the grand final one again from second place. The on field dominance was shown when the Bulldogs become the only team to defeat Essendon during the season. After defeating Brisbane in the second qualifying  final (and avenging the seasons earlier loss to them), the Bulldogs went on to defeat an injury depleted Geelong side in the preliminary and win by 85 points, thereby setting up the grand final rematch.

 Match Summary

After winning the toss, Essendon captain James Hird chose to kick toward the punt road end. The first score went to Matthew Loyd, who, alongside other forward players such as Michael Long and James Hird, kicked three individual goals before the Bulldogs got on the scoreboard thanks to a behind by Tony Libertore.

After the first quarter, the Bulldogs did not threaten the 22 point lead that the Bombers held at the first change, and after a six goal second term, drifted to a comfortable 48 point third quarter lead, and an eventual 57 point victory, ensuring their 16th premiership, and denying the Bulldogs fourth in-a-row, thus finishing the most dominant season of VFL/AFL football ever. 

Michael Long was awarded the Norm Smith medal after being judged the best on ground, followed by James Hird who kicked three goals, and Dustin Fletcher, who had 34 possessions. 

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