Melbourne win by 38 points
The Demons had wobbled into the top six despite two unconvincing wins to end the season by virtue of Collingwood's loss at Kardinia Park in Round 24, but if the players had looked like they were tired of the season during their last match in Round 23 they had gained a new lease on life by the time the finals rolled around.
A tiny finals crowd made their way to AFL Park to watch the exciting, but inconsistent, Demons take on Essendon in what turned out to be a poor quality match marred by errors.
Even without Paul Salmon, lost before the match due to injury, Essendon did it easily in the first term and their 20 point margin should have been more were it not for abysmal goalkicking. Midway through the second they were 35 in front and cruising to victory - symptomatic of the way the day was going was Darren Cuthbertson, sent into defence after disappointing early, handballing directly to Tim Watson in the goal-square for an Essendon major.
Even worse should have been on the cards for the Demons in the third term as they kicked into a strong breeze, but they lifted after kicking two goals in the first few minutes hit the lead late in the term when Andy Lovell goalled. Jim Stynes had been his side's only winner in the first half and he raised his game even further in the third while Andrew Obst cut the dangerous Darren Bewick out of the game.
Allen Jakovich, who had been kept to one goal by Shane Heard late in a poor first half, ran riot and kicked seven in the the second half. Unlike the Bombers Melbourne used the wind perfectly and added seven goals to two to finish the match. The result led some to question whether Kevin Sheedy would survive as Bombers coach.
Best were Jakovich, Stynes and Lovell. Sean Wight was reported for charging Michael Werner during the first quarter and suspended for one match.