The 2008 Grand Final was the first Grand Final played in daylight since the introduction of the night Grand Final in 2001. The two teams had previously played in the 2007 NRL Grand Final, with Melbourne winning. However, despite predictions of a tight contest, Manly won 40-0; the largest Grand Final winning margin in the history of the game, and the first Grand Final since 1978 where the losing team did not score a point.
In the qualifying final, Melbourne played the New Zealand Warriors. Melbourne lost this game 18-15 after a Warriors try from Michael Witt two minutes from full-time; becoming the first minor premier side since the introduction of the McIntyre finals structure in 1999 to lose to the eighth-placed team. The loss against New Zealand saw Melbourne matched up against the Brisbane Broncos in the semi-final; the team the Storm lost against in the 2006 grand final. They narrowly won the game 16-14 after scoring a try 45 seconds before full-time, after the Broncos forced an error in their last set. Melbourne captain Cameron Smith was contoversially suspended for a grapple tackle during the Broncos game; the two-week suspension causing him to miss the rest of the finals season. Despite this suspension, Melbourne defeated the Cronulla Sharks 28-0 in the third finals round, and entered their third consecutive grand final.
In the first finals round, Manly defeated the St. George Illawarra Dragons 38-6. Melbourne's loss to the New Zealand Warriors in the same round meant that Manly did not have to play in the semi-final round. Manly faced New Zealand in the third finals round, beating them 32-6.
|Manly Sea Eagles||Position||Melbourne Storm|
|Brett Stewart||Fullback||Billy Slater|
|Michael Robertson||Winger||Steve Turner|
|David Williams||Winger||Anthony Quinn|
|Steven Bell||Centre||Matt Geyer|
|Steve Matai||Centre||Israel Folau|
|Jamie Lyon||Five-Eighth||Greg Inglis|
|Matt Orford (c)||Halfback||Cooper Cronk (c)|
|Brent Kite||Prop||Jeff Lima|
|Josh Perry||Prop||Brett White|
|Matt Ballin||Hooker||Russell Aitken|
|Anthony Watmough||2nd Row||Michael Crocker|
|Glenn Hall||2nd Row||Jeremy Smith|
|Glenn Stewart||Lock||Dallas Johnson|
|Heath L'Estrange||Interchange||Scott Anderson|
|Mark Bryant||Interchange||Adam Blair|
|Jason King||Interchange||Sika Manu|
|Steve Menzies||Interchange||Antonio Kaufusi|
|Des Hasler||Coach||Craig Bellamy|
Steve Matai was injured and removed from the field nine minutes before full time; he was substituted for by Steve Menzies, who scored Manly's seventh try a minute later.
The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles defeated the Melbourne Storm 40-0, scoring eight tries, four of which were converted. This is the highest NRL Grand Final margin in NRL history, eclipsing the 1975 Grand Final where Eastern Suburbs defeated St George, 38–0. It is also the first time that a team has been kept scoreless in an NRL Grand Final since the 1978 NRL Grand Final Replay where Cronulla lost to Manly 16–0.
The 2008 Grand Final was the last match before retirement for Steve Menzies of Manly. Playing in this match brought his career games played to 349, equalling the current record.
|Manly Sea Eagles||Melbourne Storm|
|Kicks in Play||22||18|
|Shots at Goal||4/8||0/0|
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