After inspiring England to victory over Turkey in midweek, Rooney heads Everton's opening goal in a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Newcastle in the Blues' first April assignment. David Unsworth converts the second-half winner from the penalty spot.
Despite having by now lost leading scorer Radzinski to an injury which ends his season, another 2-1 victory the following weekend, this time at West Brom, keeps Everton in fifth place and in contention for a Champions League place.
That dream is shattered, however, by two defeats in three days over the Easter weekend: 3-1 at home to Liverpool and 4-1 at Chelsea.
Still, Everton remain on course for a UEFA Cup place after another moment of Rooney magic - a dramatic late strike that secures a 2-1 home win against Aston Villa.
Off the field, Everton confirm the collapse of their planned move to a new stadium at the King's Dock. Fears over the SARS virus, meanwhile, prompt the cancellation of the end-of-season tour to China.