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The greatest AFL Grand Final moments, named and ranked

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The greatest AFL Grand Final moments, named and ranked

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It’s the biggest game on the AFL calendar - the game that every player dreams of playing in and every fan dreams of getting a ticket to.

This year will see Collingwood look to win their first Premiership since 2010 and Brisbane in their first Grand Final since 2004.

There are sure to be some moments that will live on in memory, just like the ones below.

Ahead of the 2023 Grand Final we’ve named and ranked our top ten most memorable moments from the Big Dance.

10. Michael Long’s run and goal - 1993

Essendon’s ‘Baby Bombers’ went on a charge for the 1993 Premiership as they came up against Carlton in the Grand Final.

Michael Long’s goal, however, will be largely considered one of the greatest in Grand Final history.

Collecting the ball on the win, he ran 70 metres, stepping one defender, and then drilling home an all-important six-pointer.

It would put the stamp on a star performance for Long as Essendon ran out 133-89 winners.

9. A dream debut - 2019

Marlion Pickett became first player to debut in a Grand Final since 1952.

The 27-year-old hadn’t even been on Richmond’s list in mid-may but by the time it rolled around to September, he was selected to make his debut against GWS.

He starred as well in front of 100,000 fans at the MCG, finishing third in best afield honours and scoring a goal in the third quarter.

8. Matthew Scarlett’s toe-poke - 2009

With scores level between Geelong and St Kilda late into the 2009 Grand Final, Matthew Scarlett came up with a piece of unorthodox brilliance.

A disputed ball fell in the centre circle, with Scarlett coming out of nowhere to toe poke the ball to Gary Ablett who sent the ball into deep into the 50-metres.

Paul Chapman would eventually collect the ball and snap the go-ahead goal.

The Cats would never look back going on to win the game 80-68.

7. Broken ribs won’t stop Lappin - 2003

Nigel Lappin went into the 2003 Grand Final against Collingwood in less-than-ideal circumstances.

A week out he copped a knee to the ribs, and by Monday he could hardly run. On Friday he had a fitness test with doctors confirming he had two broken ribs.

Teammate Akermanis famously told the media about the injury, so there was no keeping it under wraps.

However, Lappin, determined to play, went via the hospital to the MCG, starred for the Lions in their 134-84 win, and became a Brisbane legend.

Oh, and he also unknowingly had a punctured lung. Pure bravery.

6. Tom Boyd’s goal and Western Bulldogs fairytale - 2016

Coming from 7th position to make the AFL Grand Final, the Western Bulldogs took on a Swans outfit that had won the Minor Premiership.

But it was the Bulldogs fairytale that year. Leading toward the end of the game, Tom Boyd came up with a piece of brilliance that will stand the test of time.

With Buddy Franklin tackled Boyd gathered the ball inside the centre square and sent a bomb hurling toward the posts.

One bounce, and it was through for the six points to seal his side’s first flag in 62 years.

5. Dermott Brereton's bravery in the greatest game of all time - 1989

The 1989 Grand Final between Hawthorn and Geelong is largely considered the greatest of all time.

Gary Ablett kicked nine goals in a losing effort, but Hawthorn’s Dermott Brereton’s resilient efforts are perhaps the most memorable.

In the opening moments of game, Mark Yeates cleaned up Brereton off the ball in payback for a hit earlier in the season.

The Hawks player would suffer two broken ribs and a ruptured kidney but would remain on the field.

He scored three goals in a six-point win, becoming a key man in the remarkable win despite his injuries.

4. That Grand Final draw - 2010

There has never been an AFL crowd more confused about what to do with themselves than when the final siren went between Collingwood and St Kilda.

The Magpies had entered in favourites and it appeared to be going their way, leading by 24 points at halftime.

However, the Saints came back to be trailing by just one point with two minutes left, when Lenny Hayes sent the ball deep into the attacking 50.

Stephen Milne was there lurking for the Saints and it looked as if the ball would be gathered and sent through the stick to give St Kilda their first Premiership since 1966.

But the ball took an awkward bounce, going over Milne and through for a behind, leading to the 2010 Grand Final ending for a draw for the first time since 1977.

With no extra time, the two teams came back the following week with Collingwood showing their class in a 56-point victory.

3. Dom Sheed comes in clutch - 2018

With two minutes left and trailing by two points to Collingwood, Dom Sheed collected a mark for the Eagles.

In an awkward position on the boundary and thousands of Magpies fans screaming from just behind him, the left-footer threaded the needle for the six points.

It’s perhaps the most clutch goal ever scored in an AFL Grand Final and handed the Eagles the win in 2018.

2. Darren Jarman’s fourth quarter - 1997

Talk about carrying your team on your back.

Adelaide trailed St Kilda by 10 points at three-quarter time in the 1997 Grand Final, and they sure needed a hero.

Up stood Darren Jarman who had the greatest individual effort in Grand Final history, scoring five goals in the final quarter and leading the Crows to a 31-point victory over the Saints.

The performance gave the Crows their first AFL flag in their history.

1.Leo Barry you star - 2005

It’s a moment that is not only etched in Sydney Swans fans’ memories but simply fans of the sport.

The Sydney side is four points up against the West Coast Eagles and on the verge of ending their 72-year Premiership drought, before the ball gets lofted into the Swans’ 50 metres with mere seconds left.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man as Leo Barry sores through the sky and takes a mark to secure the win for the Swans.

Stephen Quartermain’s commentary then seals this as the greatest moment in AFL history: “LEO BARRY, YOU STAR!”

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Featured Image Credit: Getty.

Topics: Australia Afl, Australia

Jayden Collins
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