It’s the classic boyhood dream. You’re playing for your team. Grand Final. You’ve marked it. Siren sounds. You line up… GOAL!
You’ve won the premiership and you’re forever a hero. Although interestingly, in over 100 years of the VFL/AFL, not one Grand Final has been decided with a kick after the final siren.
There have been more than a few goals in other games which are both famous and infamous.
10 – Jeff Farmer – Fremantle v Melbourne, Round 8, 2002
Farmer’s first game against his former club, the Demons, was a tight one. Ultimately, Farmer grabbed his third after a free kick for a push in the back in the forward pocket after David Neitz landed on him. Farmer kicked the goal to spark jubilation among Fremantle supporters, but ultimately the Dockers would struggle while Melbourne made the finals.
9 – Peter Riccardi – Geelong v Carlton, Round 11, 2002
The climax to one of the most incredible quarters of football ever. Carlton were behind by 38 points with 12 minutes to play in the final quarter, but the Blues stormed home, incredibly hitting the front with just 26 seconds to play. Geelong managed to win the subsequent clearance, and a pinpoint pass from David Clarke saw Riccardi mark with under ten seconds to spare just inside the forward 50. Despite being an ugly mongrel of a kick off the boot, the ball sailed through for Geelong to snatch victory despite their final-term ineptness.
The support for this goal is an interesting one, as Jordan McMahon was cheered on to kick the goal as much by Melbourne supporters as by the Tigers. Melbourne needed to lose the game in order to help guarantee their finishing bottom and gaining a priority pick as well as the #1 draft pick, although Richmond were arguably the worse side. Compounded by some interesting coaching movements, such as the deployment of Brad Miller as a ruckman, and Melbourne still had the lead as a chip was kicked to McMahon dead in front. Siren goes and McMahon kicks the goal, delivering Melbourne both picks 1 and 2 in the draft.
7 – Paul Sarah – St Kilda v Richmond, Round 19, 1981
Controversy surrounded all of round 19, as the league’s umpires had gone on strike, forcing the VFL to replace them with country and U19 umpires for the round. On a freezing cold Melbourne day, with the wind swirling around Moorabin, the Tigers fought back against the wind in the final term to have the scores level with seconds to play. Teenage umpire Glen McKeeman, in his first VFL-level game, awarded a free kick to Sarah 15m out for an illegal tackle by a Saint. Sarah kicked truly, delivering a 6pt win to the Tigers.
6 – Karmichael Hunt – Richmond v Gold Coast, Round 16, 2012
After building a five-goal lead early in the game, the Suns were slowly pegged back by the relentless Tigers, but Richmond could not get themselves clear of the desperate Suns. With a tremendous fight-back, Brandon Matera kicked to rugby league convert Hunt 30 out on a slight angle and he kicked truly, delivering the Suns their first win of 2012 and damaging Richmond’s finals chances considerably.
5 – Justin Longmuir – Fremantle v St Kilda, Round 21, 2005
This was one of the many St Kilda-Fremantle controversies, as umpire Matthew Head was overheard on the flight home from Perth saying ‘now I know what it is like to win a game.’ The Whispers in the Sky match was marred by controversy as Fremantle came back in the final term. Longmuir marked truly around 30 out on a 45 degree angle and kicked truly, before charging and jumping into the Subiaco crowd to celebrate with the fans.
4 – Gary Ablett Snr – North Melbourne v Geelong, Preliminary Final, 1994
Ablett had been held by Mick Martyn all day, simply unable to find space or time. On this occasion, however, a snap from Leigh Tudor evaded the hand of Martyn and was marked by Ablett in the square. He lined up and kicked truly to put Geelong into the Grand Final.
3 – Billy Brownless – Geelong v Footscray, Qualifying Final, 1994
Geelong trailed after a Richard Osbourne goal very late in the piece. A quick pass managed to find Brownless 40 out in front, and his goal saw the Geelong faithful as well as his teammates erupt while he charged across the ground pumping his fist.
Melbourne had made the finals for the first time since their last premiership in 1964, and had demolished North Melbourne and defeated Sydney before having to face the Hawks at Waverley. Against all odds, the Dees led late, and Hawthorn tried to go coast to coast to have Buckenara tripped right on the 50. However, an error from a young Irishman named Jim Stynes saw Buckenara receive a 15m penalty, and he duly slotted the goal, putting Hawthorn into the grand final.
1 – Malcolm Blight – Carlton v North Melbourne, Round 10, 1976
Blighty’s most famous performance saw North Melbourne come from nowhere to defeat Carlton. Blight kicked two goals in time on to put the Kangaroos within distance, but his final goal was special. Blight marked between 70 and 80m out (it was never officially measured) and, with the siren having sounded, hoofed a torpedo all the way home to score and knock off the Blues almost entirely off his own last quarter heroics.