Grand Final, 1998
Hawthorn vs Melbourne
Saturday 24 September
Hawthorn win by 96 points
Goalkickers: Garry Lyon 2, David Williams 2, Greg Healy 1, Alan Johnson 1
Statistical categories led:
Biggest loss in Grand Final
After the heartbreak of 1987 the Demons had finally made it, and from an elimination final too. Never mind that the last two sides who had done that had been beaten in the big match by more than 80 points, or that the Hawks were playing in their sixth straight premiership decider.
With ruckman Steve O'Dwyer suspended, John Northey included midfielder Todd Viney as the only change to the side - seemingly opting for Jim Stynes to go it alone in the middle. Tony Campbell was considered, but Viney preferred due to the expected rain.
Despite the loss of their ruckmen the omens were there for the Demons. Earlier in the day Footscray had won the reserves grand final, their first of any variety since 1962. With the Hawks starting the main game as red hot favourites omens were as good as anything to Demons fans desperate to break a 25 year premiership drought.
Northey's first tactical move was to throw Danny Hughes into the ruck. Steven Stretch, one of Melbourne's best in the prelim, was sent to full-back to play on Jason Dunstall. The plan was for Stretch to run off the Hawthorn spearhead and provide drive out of defence for the Demons. It didn't work as planned. He held Dunstall to one goal but couldn't get enough of the ball to do any damage.
Several years later, John Northey suggested his team got off to a slow start partly because they'd been made to wait an extra three minutes to run onto the ground while waiting for entertainment to finish.
The Demons kicked with the wind in the second quarter, and after they got their first fans were hoping that it would signify a revival, instead it sparked the Hawks into murderous form. Midway through the second Stretch was moved onto DiPierdomenico and the game was already rapidly sliding away. The margin was 49 points at half-time and in wet conditions there was no way back for the Demons.
On the same day that Ben Johnson won the Seoul Olympic 100m sprint only to lose it for cheating there was no protest that could save the Demons that day. They kicked the first of the third quarter before once again suffering an avalanche of goals.
Best for Melbourne were Stynes, Grinter and Lovell.
The result would remain the biggest win in a Grand Final until Geelong's twenty goal win over Port Adelaide in 2007.
A female spectator ran naked across the ground during the last quarter and was promptly arrested.
B: Alan Johnson, Steven Stretch, Rod Grinter
HB: Stephen Newport, Jamie Duursma, Brett Lovett
C: Todd Viney, Brian Wilson, Graeme Yeats
HF: Garry Lyon, Earl Spalding, David Williams
F: Danny Hughes, Sean Wight, Ricky Jackson
R: Jim Stynes, Andy Lovell, Greg Healy (c)
I: David Flintoff, Steven Febey
Coach: John Northey
Canberra Times - 21/09/1988
Canberra Times - 22/09/1988
Canberra Times - 23/09/1988
Football Record Grand Final 1988
Canberra Times - 25/09/1988
Age - 26/09/1988
Age - 12/05/1995