This was Essendon's first appearance in a Grand Final since winning the 1993 AFL Grand Final, whilst it was Melbourne's first since losing the 1988 VFL Grand Final. Essendon had completed the best home and away season in modern history, winning 21 of 22 matches, an AFL record (which would be equaled by Geelong in the 2008 season), winning their second successive McClelland Trophy. Melbourne finished the home and away season third with 14 wins and 8 losses.
Melbourne captain David Neitz won the toss and chose to kick towards the City/Members end of the MCG in the opening quarter. The first score of the game went to Melbourne. Neitz, from a very tight angle near the behind post on the Members side of the goals, kicked the ball into the far goal post resulting in one point.
It was only a short time after the first score of the game that James Hird kicked the first goal of the game for Essendon. Melbourne's first goal was kicked by Stephen Powell.
The Bombers never looked threatened from quarter time and comfortably won its record-equaling 16th premiership by 60 points, after one of the most dominant seasons in VFL/AFL history.
One downside for the Bombers was an incident in which Melbourne's Troy Simmonds was hit high by Essendon's Michael Long, resulting in a 25 man brawl. Simmonds was taken from the field on a stretcher; nine players were reported on ten offences by the umpires.
Essendon's triumph would be the last by any Victorian team until the 2007 AFL Grand Final when Geelong won its first premiership in 44 years and was the last win by Melbourne based club until Hawthorn's victory in the 2008 AFL Grand Final.
On this day the National Anthem was sang by Tania Doko of Bachelor Girl.