Melbourne win by 51 points
Anthony Ingerson (also with Adelaide)
In light rain at the MCG a huge crowd gathered to see Melbourne take on their second 1997 Grand Final team in consecutive weeks. Having already put the reigning premiers away they now did battle with last September's runners-up.
Garry Lyon was a late withdrawal, and the Saints held a 14 point lead in the second quarter before Melbourne sparked up. The Demons already dominated the first fifteen minutes of the game, but with just 0.5 to show, it was no surprise that when the Saints settled they took their chances better. 1.8 in the second term, with the Saints in front it looked as if the Demons had blown their chance.
Then Jeff Farmer appeared. Three goals in six minutes amongst eight in a row for the team buried the Saints. At the other end the Demon defence were keeping the St. Kilda big men out of the game. Barry Hall's frustration came to the fore when he was reported for dropping a knee into Steven Febey.
Nine goals to three after half-time won the game for the Dees, and their seventh straight victory raised their average winning margin in that time to 54 points.
The Guy Rigoni vs Robert Harvey duel was one of the most important on the ground. The mature aged recruit in his first season successfully broke even with the dual Brownlow Medallist. Elsewhere Matthew Febey had the better of Austinn Jones and Jamie Shanahan destroyed his ex-teammates Stewart Loewe and Jason Heatley by keeping them both goalless. Marcus Seecamp also beat Heatley handily, after conceding five goals to him the last time the sides had met.
Neale Daniher said ""It was a good win. It was one goal to four and they were coming at us, so it was terrific that our blokes regrouped when they were under the pump. In other games, we have got to the front and stayed there, so this was a real challenge." Asked about his side's chances Daniher said "I think we'll have to play better to beat North Melbourne."
Best were Steven Febey, Farmer and White. The victory booked the Demons a date against the heavily favoured North Melbourne in the Preliminary Final.
It was St Kilda's eighth loss in their last 10, ten and former Demon Stan Alves was sacked as St. Kilda coach after the loss.