North Melbourne win by 30 points
Goalkickers: Jeff Farmer 1, Matthew Febey 1, Steven Febey 1, Darren Kowal 1, Andrew Leoncelli 1, Garry Lyon 1, David Neitz 1, Guy Rigoni 1, Russell Robertson 1, Marcus Seecamp 1, Stephen Tingay 1, Shane Woewodin 1
Best and Fairest
32 - Jamie Shanahan
30 - Marcus Seecamp
30 - Stephen Tingay
27 - Shane Woewodin
21 - Todd Viney
Having come from the clouds to make the finals, Melbourne had skipped through the Prelim with easy wins over Adelaide and St. Kilda. The side that had finished last the year before was now on the verge of a miracle Grand Final.
All that stood between them was the vast majority of the 1996 Kangaroos premiership side. A returning Garry Lyon, who had missed the previous week due to injury, bolstered the Demons who nonetheless fielded a side made up mostly of players who had featured in the wooden spoon campaign the year before. There were injury concerns over Jeff White, battling thigh and knee injuries that left him in a hyperbaric chamber during the week to aid his recovery.
North had 16 premiership players in their side, while the Demons contrasted with 13 players who had never appeared in any final.
Jeff Farmer took another Mark of the Year contender in the first minute but missed his kick from 30m out. It was symptomatic of the night Melbourne were going to have, opportunities to win that they simply couldn't grasp.
Despite Jamie Shanahan keeping Wayne Carey to a goal at the other end, the Dees were unable to find multiple scoring options and trailed at every change. After weeks of attacking football Schwarz, Farmer, Neitz and Lyon were unable to contribute more than one goal each. Melbourne were within striking distance at 3/4 time no player was able to step up and grab control of the game.
12 individual goalkickers told the story of how North were able to isolate the dangerous Farmer and Neitz who had torn the finals series apart. It is the only time in league history that a side has kicked 12 goals from 12 individual players. The 22 individual goalkickers in the match equalled a Carlton vs North Melbourne 1985 game for the most in a final.
Steven Febey booted two goals late in the last term to put the Dees within three, but North steadied to qualify for their second straight Grand Final.
Neale Daniher said "We were beaten by a good side, we were beaten by the No. 1 side, who have come off a week's rest. I just told them, don't be satisfied, if you lose the fire in your belly. We're not going to rest on this, we're going to work."
Best were Woewodin, Ingerson and Shanahan.
North went on to lose the next week to Adelaide, who Melbourne had beaten comfortably in the first week of the finals.
Illawarra Mercury - 18/09/1998
Football Record 1998 GF