Elimination Final, 1987
Melbourne vs North Melbourne
Sunday 6 September
Melbourne win by 118 points
Goalkickers: Robert Flower 5, Tony Campbell 3, Warren Dean 3, Ricky Jackson 3, David Williams 3, Jim Stynes 2, Bret Bailey 1, Russell Richards 1, Todd Viney 1
Statistical categories led:
Highest score and biggest win in Elimination Final
After more than twenty years without a finals appearance, and the dramatic circumstances under which they qualified, the Demons might have been expected to be nervous going into an elimination final. After all they were without the suspended Steve O'Dwyer and Rod Grinter, while Garry Lyon had broken his leg the week before and Brian Wilson - the only player on the list with finals experience - was out with an ankle injury.
Even Robert Flower who had battled his entire career to play in the finals entered the match under an injury cloud. He was forced to hide it and go through a regime of painkillers during the week but Flower was sporting a broken little finger. He played and was first through the banner, then proceeded to dominate the forward line on the way to a near career best five goals. Losing the toss was the only thing that went wrong for him all day. On the hand North's banner disintegrated before players could run through it, and their coaching team accidentally occupied Melbourne's box before being kicked out.
35 seconds in Todd Viney snapped a miracle goal from the boundary to bring the huge crowd to their feet, and the Demons barely let up again. It was the first Demon finals goal since Neil Crompton had won the 1964 Grand Final, and while North held them to a four point lead at quarter time, it was a procession from there. Every one of the 20 Demons in the side that day were playing their first VFL final, but they belied their lack of finals experience by booting 19 goals to two after quarter time.
Seven goals to nil in the third quarter extended the margin beyond North's grasp, with Flower kicking three.
John Northey was reported to have said "Let's destroy" at three-quarter time, and his side delivered - pushing the margin well over 100 points in a remarkable return to the finals. Appropriately it was Flower who led from the front. Having gone seconds from seeing his finals dream unrealised, the Demon legend was taking centre stage on the biggest day for the club in 23 years. When he trotted off the ground in the last quarter, the job almost done, the ground went wild as he received a standing ovation.
Sean Wight was best on ground after he, along with Jim Stynes, helped demolish the Roos less mobile ruck division. Danny Hughes also played in the ruck.
The players, stunned and worn out, entered the changing rooms and it took a group of supporters to start singing It's A Grand Old Flag before everyone joined in a rousing rendition. John Northey said he'd reminded the players they'd been playing finals for six weeks and this was no different.
It remains the Demons' biggest win in a final and booked a Semi against Sydney, the side who had sacked Northey just two years before. The margin of victory easily eclipsed the record for the biggest Elimination Final win of 81 points by Fitzroy in 1979.
Best were Flower, Stynes and Yeats. Dean Chiron was reported for striking Shaun Smith and suspended for one match. Russell Richards replaced Brian Wilson in the selected side.
100 point wins
Canberra Times - 07/09/1987
Age - 07/09/1987
Inside Football - 09/09/1987