Played only shortly after the conclusion of the second World War, the Melbourne Cricket Ground was unavailable for use, prompting the game to be played at Princes Park. The crowd of 62,986 is a record for Princes Park, and is almost double its current nominal capacity.
Carlton held a two point lead at half time, and won the match 15.13 (103) to South Melbourne's 10.15 (75).
Carlton's 1945 premiership win was the first time since the "Page-McIntyre system" had been adopted in 1931 that a team from fourth place on the home-and-away ladder (i.e., a team that had no "double chance") had won the Grand Final.
The game, played in extremely wet, muddy conditions, is remembered as "the Bloodbath" for its overall continuous violence (on the field and amongst the fans), and its plethora of crude king hits and brawls (many of which were broken up with the assistance of team officials and the police). The Melbourne tabloid newspaper The Truth called it "the most repugnant spectacle League football has ever known", with ten players reported for a total of sixteen offences.
Ted Whitfield was charged with using abusive language to goal umpire Les Whyte, attempting to strike field umpire Frank Spokes, kicking the ball away after a free kick was given against him, and attempting to conceal his guernsey so goal umpire Les Whyte could not report him. He was suspended for 21 matches (all of 1946 and the first two games of 1947).
Jack "Basher" Williams was charged with using abusive language to Carlton's Rod McLean and goal umpire Les Whyte, and adopting a fighting attitude to Whyte when he went to report him. Suspended for 12 matches.
Don Grossman was charged with striking Jim Mooring after Mooring had been awarded a mark. Suspended for 8 matches.
"Gentleman" Jim Cleary was charged with striking Ken Hands (Carlton) after a mark, and attempting to strike Bob Chitty. He was found not guilty on attempted striking charge, but suspended for 8 matches on the striking charge.
Herbie Matthews was charged with throwing the ball away after a mark was given against him, and was severely reprimanded.
Keith Smith was charged with striking Jim Mooring, but was found not guilty.
Bob Chitty was charged with elbowing Billy Williams. He was suspended for 8 matches.
Ron Savage was charged with striking Don Grossman in retaliation for Grossman having king-hit teammate Jim Mooring, which sparked a final-quarter bench-clearing brawl. Suspended for 8 matches.
Fred Fitzgibbon was charged with one count of melee involvement; despite serving a four-match suspension from the preliminary final for having king-hit Collingwood forward Len Hustler, he ran onto the field during a final-quarter bench-clearing brawl and fought with Ted Whitfield before being ejected from the arena. Suspended for an additional four matches.
Ken Hands was charged with charging Ron Clegg, but was found not guilty.
Holmesby, R. & Main, J., This Football Century: "The Greatest Game of All", Wilkinson Books, (Melbourne), 1996. ISBN 1-86350-222-X
Rogers, S. & Brown, A., Every Game Ever Played: VFL/AFL Results 1897-1997 (Sixth Edition), Viking Books, (Ringwood), 1998. ISBN 0-670-90809-6
Ross, J. (ed), 100 Years of Australian Football 1897-1996: The Complete Story of the AFL, All the Big Stories, All the Great Pictures, All the Champions, Every AFL Season Reported, Viking, (Ringwood), 1996. ISBN 0-670-86814-0