Melbourne win by 22 points
With the heartache of 1987's corresponding game still fresh in everybody's minds there were plenty of questions about how the Demons, who had barely scraped into the five and past West Coast in the Elimination Final would cope with the Blues. It was the first time the sides had met in a final since the 1962 Semi Final.
Melbourne dropped Todd Viney - who had barely left the interchange in the Semi Final against Collingwood - and Doug Koop, replacing them with David Flintoff who had impressed against Carlton in Round 13 and first year player Steven Febey.
Carlton, fresh off a demoralising defeat against Hawthorn on the same ground a week earlier, were missing key midfielder Wayne Johnston but had a raft of other dangerous players, not least Stephen Kernahan. Jamie Duursma, who had been on the football scrapheap before being rescued by John Northey was given the job of stopping "Sticks". Kernahan got away from his opponent for three goals in the first half and four for the game but didn't have enough teammates to help kick a winning score.
In similar slippery conditions to those which caused the Blues to come unstuck a week earlier, the Demons kicked with the wind in the first quarter and ran away to what would ultimately become a match winning five goal lead. The Blues fought back in the second quarter with more disciplined football, and took a meagre lead into half time before the Demons once again used the wind to perfection in the third term, where they piled on seven goals to one despite the heavens opening. The most memorable of all the goals was Garry Lyon kicking a 75m torpedo.
Brawls were the order of the day, and continued to break out all over the ground. Andy Lovell was decked after a third-quarter goal to spark one melee, and Steven O'Dwyer was reported for striking Steven Da Rui in another. He was outed for three weeks and missed the Grand Final through suspension.
The lead was set up, but Melbourne still had to contend with the Blues kicking with a breeze. They managed to hold on, the backline, repelling repeated thrusts forward. Despite their resilience the Blues got to within 14 points at the 20 minute mark.
Ricky Jackson kicked a controversial goal that Blues fans claim hit the post (and to be fair Jackson was cursing his miss as the goal umpire signalled full points) to steady his side. At the other end Duursma continued his war with Kernahan, and frustrated the Carlton spearhead so comprehensively that he gave away a 50m penalty which allowed Duursma a shot on goal and the Demons were into the Grand Final.
"The final comes alive" - The Age 19/09/1988
"Northey faith in reject Jamie brings dividends" - The Age 19/09/1988
Football Record Grand Final 1988
"Demons beat Blues" - Canberra Times 18/09/1988
Various articles - The Age 19/09/1988
Blueseum match report