The Kangaroos progressed to the Grand Final after a 45-point win over Brisbane in the Preliminary Final, while Carlton progressed to the Grand Final after an upset one-point win against the heavily favoured minor premiers, Essendon, in their preliminary final. Consequently, the Kangaroos went into the Grand Final as heavy favourites.
Carlton scored the first goal through Brett Ratten, but North Melbourne, who were without suspended defender Jason McCartney, also started well and led by 12 points at quarter time. Then, during the second quarter, ruckman Corey McKernan booted two inspirational goals, the first from 65 metres out and the second from a tight angle just a minute later. The Kangaroos were in control and went into half time with a 20-point lead.
North Melbourne extended their lead in the third quarter; Winston Abraham kicked an easy goal and Carlton midfielder Justin Murphy injured his knee. The Blues managed to reduce the Kangaroos' lead to just 13 points, but that was as close as they could get, as the Kangaroos added goals through McKernan and Shannon Motlop. Gradually wearing down their opponents through intense pressure and tackling, they led by 43 points at three quarter time.
The final quarter was simply a formality for the Kangaroos, eventually triumphing by 35 points. Shannon Grant of the Kangaroos was awarded the Norm Smith Medal for being judged the best player afield. Grant had come under heavy criticism for his performance in the previous grand final, which the Kangaroos had lost.