Melbourne win by 38 points
North's shock loss to the West Coast Eagles in the last round of the season had ensured that the Demons would play the Kangaroos instead of Essendon. The Demons started $1.65 favourites, but with a severe shortage of key defenders and a battling win against 15th placed St Kilda in round 22.
Four goals in eight minutes during the second quarter turned an 11 point deficit into a 21 point lead at the long break, and that should have been it but then North struck back. Byron Pickett kicked the first goal of the last term and North dominated the first 15 minutes but failed to put more pressure on the scoreboard. The Demons sucked in the pressure and bounced back to break even with the Roos for the quarter.
The Kangaroos were still every chance of winning it in a seesawing final term where they came strongly at the Demons. With seven minutes of gametime remaining North had booted three in a row and were within 15 points. It took a cheap free kick in the goalsquare for Peter Vardy to boot his fifth and release the pressure. Johnstone sealed the game minutes later after a tap from Darren Jolly and the quarter ended up being seven goals to four in Melbourne's favour. Russell Robertson had been instrumental in the victory after kicking three goals in a burst when his opponent Glenn Archer, who had held him nearly kickless to that point, was sent forward to try and kick a winning score.
Yze, Johnstone and Woewodin were best. Neale Daniher said "With the results, especially Collingwood getting up, it has opened up one side of the draw. There's no doubt about that. Adelaide will be ferocious. They've been terrific all year and they're a good, quality side. We're in for one heck of a first quarter."
Age - 09/09/2002
Age - 09/09/2002