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Sunday, September 25, 2022

The ten finest AFL grand finals of the final 50 years – sorted | AFL

Yes, I’ve omitted 1972, 2005 and 2016. However this stuff are subjective and this column is an indulgence. Right here, in grand closing week, are one of the best grand finals of the final 50 years, incorporating what was as soon as the Victorian Soccer League (earlier than 1990) and now higher often known as the Australian Soccer League (current day).

10. 1979 Carlton defeated Collingwood by 5 factors

Alex Jesaulenko of Carlton competes in the 1979 VFL grand final between the Blues and Collingwood Magpies at the MCG in 1979.
Alex Jesaulenko of Carlton competes within the 1979 VFL grand closing between the Blues and Collingwood Magpies on the MCG in 1979. {Photograph}: Getty Pictures

My earliest reminiscence is from this recreation, which is a fear. Carlton‘s captain-coach was writhing within the MCG mud, his ankle shattered. A really drunk uncle rose from the sofa at house – “BURY HIM!” he boomed. Wayne Harmes received the primary Norm Smith Medal, but it surely might simply as simply have been Wayne Johnston, who’d been at an evening membership 12 hours earlier. Extra so than every other grand closing, it’s like watching a very totally different sport, primarily due to the state of the bottom. We don’t see quagmires like that any extra.Gamers dived into it like seals and pirouetted out of it like parrots,” Barry Dickens wrote in his ode to mud-caked grounds.

9. 2011 Geelong defeated Collingwood by 38 factors

Geelong’s Paul Chapman celebrates with the crowd after defeating Collingwood at the MCG in the 2011 grand final.
Geelong’s Paul Chapman celebrates after defeating Collingwood on the MCG within the 2011 grand closing. {Photograph}: Joe Castro/AAP

This recreation typically will get relegated in these sort of lists, partly due to the Meat Loaf debacle, however primarily as a result of it blew out within the closing time period. However up till three quarter time, it was the very best customary grand closing I’ve seen. It was definitely the coldest. In driving rain, two crack sides on the peak of their powers went purpose for purpose. Tom Hawkins had performed effectively within the Qualifying Ultimate, however with the sport within the stability and his opponent hobbled, he ripped the grand closing to shreds. If he’d kicked straight, he would have romped within the Norm Smith Medal. He most likely ought to have received it anyway.

8. 1984 Essendon defeated Hawthorn by 24 factors

“This Premiership is SHEEDY’S Premiership!” Lou Richards cried. And it was. Soccer had by no means seen anybody like Kevin Sheedy. Rat-cunning, he scoured the nation for rough-hewn varieties who would play in his picture. He would flip as much as Hawthorn coaching, sit on the fence, and eyeball them.

The Hawks blew them away early however have been useless on their toes at three quarter time. “Don’t panic!” the late Ken Choose screamed at his teammates. “Don’t panic!” However that good bastard Sheedy threw the magnets round and the ultimate quarter was torrential. “I’ve at all times felt the loudest noise I’ve ever heard in soccer was when Leon Baker kicked that first purpose within the final quarter,” Terry Wallace mentioned years later. “It was the awakening of this sleeping big.”

7. 1977 Collingwood drew with North Melbourne

Collingwood was 27 factors up, and the footy author Rohan Connolly remembers a Magpie fan within the outer popping the cork on a bottle of champagne (there was a one slab, two bottle restrict in these days). However they have been a purpose down with seconds to go. In a sea of sideburns, Ross “Twiggy” Dunne marked an extended bomb. You’re six factors down, 20 metres out, straight in entrance and you’ve got a set shot to tie the grand closing – what’s your plan of assault? Barrel a torpedo into the second tier of the Ponsford Stand in fact.

Later, North coach Ron Barassi gathered his gamers and their companions within the rooms. His powder blue fits, Polaroid sun shades and quarter time outbursts could be grounds for arrest in some jurisdictions. “Ladies,” he mentioned. “I understand how nice you might be, and the sacrifices you make, however are you able to give me your males for an additional seven days?” They did – fairly fortunately in lots of circumstances – and North received the replay.

6. 2009 Geelong defeated St Kilda by 12 factors

Peter Dickson’s brief documentary on the 2009 AFL grand closing, Life is Too Sluggish For These Who Wait.

A private favorite, although it’s exhausting to even give it some thought. It was uncooked, pitiless, attritional soccer. It was brilliantly captured in Peter Dickson’s short documentary. In case you ever need an instance of what soccer can do to folks and the way a lot it means, take a look at the footage of the previous Saints followers within the stands afterwards. Take a look at Darrel Baldock within the rooms. It was that kind of day.

5. 2010 Collingwood drew with St Kilda

St Kilda and Collingwood players stand with their hands on their head after the 2010 AFL grand final ended in a draw
St Kilda and Collingwood gamers after the 2010 AFL grand closing led to a draw. Collingwood received the replay the next week. {Photograph}: Joe Castro/AAP

Having berated senator Stephen Conroy for going the early crow, Eddie McGuire might not watch. He went into an AFL perform room, the place he discovered a girl sitting alone, crying. It was Elsie Rose, the widow of Bob Rose, the Collingwood coach who knew a factor or two about grand closing curses. Now, like just about everybody else on the MCG, Elsie had her head in her palms. Afterwards, the streets of Melbourne have been filled with bewildered, chalk-white, grown adults shaking their heads, not realizing find out how to course of it. The next week’s replay (Collingwood received) by no means stood an opportunity.

4. 2006 West Coast defeated Sydney by one level

West Coast Eagles’ Ben Cousin and captain Chris Judd hold the premiership cup above their heads in 2006
West Coast Eagles’ Ben Cousin (left) and captain Chris Judd rejoice profitable the 2006 grand closing in 2006. {Photograph}: Julian Smith/AAP

Over an 18-month interval, these two groups met six instances, with a cumulative margin of 13 factors. The 2005 grand closing is the extra well-known and replayed recreation, however this was a greater one. 5 targets have been kicked within the final 10 minutes, which was uncommon for this rivalry. Throughout that flurry, Chris Judd injured his shoulder. “Are you OK?” his direct opponent Adam Goodes requested. “In that intense, maniacally aggressive setting of a grand closing, his values didn’t change,” Judd later wrote. “To him, we have been human beings, to start with.”

3. 2018 West Coast defeated Collingwood by 5 factors

Ultimately, regardless of their finest makes an attempt to botch it, the Eagles have been a bit bolder, and worthy premiers. They received it with out Andrew Gaff, Nic Naitanui and Brad Sheppard. They beat Collingwood 3 times. They lastly labored the locks on the MCG. And in one of the vital clutch moments within the historical past of the sport, Dom Sheed executed the proper soccer kick. I’m undecided I’ve ever seen extra crestfallen supporters because the Collingwood followers that day. “As I wrapped my arm round one distraught son,” Greg Baum wrote within the Age, “I felt his tears run down my sleeve. Resilience, stoicism, staunchness, a bit gallows humour, phlegmatism, but additionally inextinguishable hope: that is how our membership has formed us.”

2. 2012 Sydney defeated Hawthorn by 10 factors

A really credible case might be made that this was one of the best grand closing of all. Hawthorn arguably performed higher soccer all through 2012 than of their 4 premiership years. However the Swans fought and harassed their method to an upset win. This recreation had the lot – momentum shifts, unlikely cameos and a last-minute sealer. A number of days earlier, Jill Meagher had been murdered. That was a tragedy, Alastair Clarkson said; shedding a grand closing was merely a missed alternative. “It’s gone,” he mentioned. “We will’t do something about it. We simply dig deep, use it as motivation and go once more.” They did, and received the subsequent three flags.

1. 1989 Hawthorn defeated Geelong by 6 factors

The youthful era of soccer followers are inclined to query the reverence for this recreation. “However the outcome was by no means actually doubtful” they’ll say. “You old-timers simply find it irresistible for the punch-ons.” In case you’re nonetheless a sceptic, Tony Wilson’s e book 1989: The Nice Grand Ultimate ought to sway you. No grand closing had richer storylines – from Dipper’s audibly hissing lungs, to Dermott Brereton’s ruptured kidney, to Gary Ablett thanking his saviour. No grand closing will get in your marrow fairly like 1989. All of us took various things from it. I used to be 11, and caught within the spell of Ablett and Brereton. Ablett, writer Andrew Mueller wrote, “was like an escaper from the yarns of Henry Lawson – the kind of peculiar, irascible warlock you hear of in fairytales and ballads, not see on a soccer area, or wherever in actual life.”

This text was amended on 19 September 2022. The primary photograph reveals Greg Pricey, not Greg Dean as an earlier model mentioned.

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