Melbourne win by 4 points
The match was played shortly after the Demons had lost to Brisbane during the premiership season and they were without Robbie Flower, Greg Healy, Ricky Jackson, Peter Moore, Chris Connolly and Todd Viney so Essendon started hot favourites.
A heavy shower fell before the game, making the ground heavy and contributing to the low score. The Demons failed to score a goal in the second quarter, letting Essendon get to within two points at half time.
Melbourne extended the lead back to five points at the last change, but when Essendon hit the front eight minutes into the final term they looked like running over the top of the Demons - who hadn't won a premiership since the 1971 Night Series - but Melbourne steadied.
A Bret Bailey goal in the dying minutes set up by a Peter Giles handball won the game. Moments earlier Warren Dean had smothered an Essendon kick at goal which would have given them an insurmountable lead.
Danny Hughes skippered the side in the absence of Robert Flower who was out with a broken finger. Despite missing the game Flower was chaired off the ground and invited to lift the cup on the victory dais.
Melbourne received $60,000 in prize money for the victory. The game was shown on the ABC, with Channel 7 passing on telecast rights while they dealt with a technicians' strike.
Best were Wilson, Giles and Dean.