Top 10 AFL Grand Final moments
- 1. Darren Jarman’s Last Quarter - 1997
- 2. Leo Barry’s Drought Breaking Mark - 2005
- 3. Dom Sheed Grand Final-Winning Goal - 2018
- 4. Leon Baker’s Leading Blind Turn - 1984
- 5. Collingwood v St Kilda Draw - 2010
- 6. Tom Boyd’s Closing Goal - 2016
- 7. Jack Darling’s Dropped Mark - 2015
- 8. Wayne Harmes’ Dividing Knock - 1979
- 9. Michael Long’s Running Goal - 1993
- 10. Meatloaf’s Pre-Game Entertainment - 2011
The AFL grand final is celebrated by millions of Australians each year. With heightened emotions, plenty of excitement, and a reason for family and friends to come together, there is sure to be a number of key moments that come to mind for footy fans when they think of their top grand final moments in AFL history.
Check out Pickstar's Top 10 AFL Grand Final moments below (and then request an AFL or AFLW star for your next event or campaign).
1. Darren Jarman’s Last Quarter - 1997
Five goals to one player in one quarter of any AFL game is an incredible effort.
To do that in the final quarter of a tight Grand Final is legendary.
That's exactly why Darren Jarman is seen as a great of the game.
His heroics in the final quarter of the 1997 AFL Grand Final against St Kilda almost single-handedly gave the Crows their first AFL Premiership.
Jarman kicked 5 of his 6 goals in the final quarter leading the Crows to a 31-point victory over the Saints.
Incredibly, he wasn't awarded the Norm Smith Medal, with Andrew McLeod racking up 31 disposals to win the award.
Jarman was back at it again in 1998, booting 5 goals in the Crows second Premiership, this time against North Melbourne.
Darren Jarman is available as a guest speaker through Pickstar. Request him here.
2. Leo Barry’s Drought Breaking Mark - 2005
In the final five seconds of the grand final against West Coast in 2005, Sydney Swans star Leo Barry took an incredible mark that led to the Swans ending a 72 year premiership drought.
The defender swiftly leapt into the pack and grasped the ball deep inside defensive 50. Being only four points in front of the Eagles when Leo Barry made his mark, the player stopped the game finishing in the Eagles favour and savouring their win.
The crowd erupted in cheers, and so did the commentators, as Stephen Quartermain’s praise for the player is still remembered to this day; “Leo Barry, you star! Siren! The longest premiership drought in football history is over!"
Tadhg Kennelly, Dean Cox, Andrew Embley and Adam Selwood played in that game and are available to tell the amazing story of the Swans v Eagles rivalry in the mid 2000s. Request them for your club or event here.
3. Dom Sheed Grand Final-Winning Goal - 2018
With only 112 seconds left of the game, West Coast Eagles’ Dom Sheed took a mark 40 metres out, on an extremely tight angle.
Ice in his veins, Sheed went back, composed himself and slotted one of the most famous goals in AFL Grand Final history, completing a brilliant comeback for the Eagles.
Collingwood's final push for a game-winning goal fell short and the Eagles won the 2018 AFL Premiership, with Sheed's name going down in Eagles folklore.
Eagles Premiership players Josh Kennedy, Luke Shuey, Jack Redden, Will Schofield, Nathan Vardy and Daniel Venables are available through Pickstar to come to your next club or business event. Start a request for an Eagles Premiership player here.
4. Leon Baker’s Leading Blind Turn - 1984
In the 1984 grand final against Hawthorn, a hurried centre clearance bounced up awkwardly, and Essendon player Leon Baker managed to get to the ball quickly, blind-turned around a Hawthorn defender and kicked the goal from 25 metres that put Essendon in front for the first time in the match. It was Leon’s fourth goal of the grand final, turning him into a match-winning forward. Essendon went on to win the match, as well as their first flag in 19 years. The game-changing goal from Leon Baker is still proudly remembered, especially by the Essendon fans.
Many expected he would also take home the Norm Smith Medal that afternoon. Though he missed out on the award, the moment is still regarded as one that led the team to victory that year.
5. Collingwood v St Kilda Draw - 2010
Collingwood entered the 2010 AFL Grand Final as firm favourites, having only lost four games in the home and away season and cruised through their first two finals with comfortable 62 and 41-point wins over the Western Bulldogs and Geelong respectively.
All appeared to be going as planned at half time with Collingwood leading by 24 points having had 15 scoring shots to 6.
But St Kilda had other ideas. The Saints kicked 6 of the next 8 goals to storm back into the game, trailing by just 1 point with two minutes to play.
St Kilda champion Lenny Hayes kicked the ball deep into attacking 50 where one of the games all-time small forwards - Stephen Milne - was lurking. It looked for all money that Milne would grab the loose ball and walk into an open goal, all but assuring the Saints their first Premiership since 1966.
But the ball had other ideas. It almost appeared to gather speed on the bounce, narrowly eluding Milne who watched it go through for a behind.
There would be no further score, with the 2010 AFL Grand Final finishing in just the second Grand Final draw (1977 being the other one).
Many in the crowd looked around for answers. Extra time? Golden point?
Nope, come back next week and do it all over again.
In the 2010 Grand Final replay, Collingwood's class showed through, with the Pies running out comfortable 56-point victors.
Hayes and Milne tell great stories about the 2010 Grand Final - and that era in Saints history - and are available to book for your club or event through Pickstar. Start a request for them here.
6. Tom Boyd’s Closing Goal - 2016
The Western Bulldogs 2016 Premiership triumph was a true fairytale.
The Dogs came from 7th position (which hasn't been done in the modern era) to make the 2016 AFL Grand Final. Few but the most one-eyed Dogs fans gave them a chance against an experienced Swans outfit who'd won the minor Premiership.
But the game is remembered best for a moment of pure brilliance from Tom Boyd.
After Lance Franklin was tackled, Boyd gathered the loose ball and launched a bomb from inside the centre square, drilling his third major for the day and putting the Western Bulldogs 15 points ahead with five minutes left to play.
The goal sealed the Dogs second AFL Premiership, 62 years after their first.
After the 2016 Premiership, Boyd struggled with numerous injuries and retired from the game in 2019 to focus on his mental health.
Tom Boyd is passionate about sharing his mental health story with others and is available to visit schools, clubs and businesses to share the lessons he's learned and how he manages his mental health today. Request Tom Boyd here.
7. Jack Darling’s Dropped Mark - 2015
After Jack Darling dropped the ball in the Hawthorn v West Coast grand finale, the match turned in the Hawks’ favour. Darling was in the perfect position for a kick, but after losing his grasp of the ball, the Hawks swept in and kicked an immediate goal, a massive turn-around for the team. Following Jack Darling’s drop, Hawthorn went on to kick five of the next six goals, securing their third consecutive premiership, also known as the Hawks’ “three-peat.”
See Jack Darling’s drop that led the Hawks to victory: https://www.afl.com.au/news/197718/the-moment-of-the-grand-final-darlings-drop-allows-hawks-to-take-control
8. Wayne Harmes’ Dividing Knock - 1979
The 1979 grand final is marked by the controversial finish in which Carlton player Wayne Harmes leapt to a loose ball, sliding along a muddy MCG pitch to knock the ball into the goal square, where Ken Sheldon put Carlton ahead by 10 points - eventually leading the team to a win.
However, fans still remain conflicted as to whether the ball actually bounced out of play before Harmes knocked it back in. The decision ultimately affected the outcome of the game, but even with today’s technology, supporters still remain divided over whether Wayne’s knock was in or out.
9. Michael Long’s Running Goal - 1993
The 'Baby Bombers' charge to the 1993 Premiership wasn't without its challenges.
Essendon finished top of the table in 1993, but lost in the first round of the finals to Carlton, making their path to the Grand Final more difficult.
Their run appeared to be over in the Preliminary Final when they trailed the Crows by 6 goals at half time. But an incredible comeback saw the Bombers charge home by 11 points.
A rematch against Carlton on Grand Final day awaited.
And it was Michael Long's day.
The eventual Norm Smith Medallist kicked one of the most famous goals in AFL Grand Final history.
Long took the ball on the wing, running 70 metres before drilling home an important goal. Carlton full back Stephen Silvagni insists he touched the ball on the goal-line, but it mattered little with the Baby Bombers (known for the number of young players in their team) running away 44-point winners.
1993 Brownlow Medallist and Essendon Premiership player Gavin Wanganeen is available as a guest speaker to talk about this game (and his many other achievements) through Pickstar. Request Gavin here.
10. Meatloaf’s Pre-Game Entertainment - 2011
Though it’s an off-field moment, almost all avid football fans remember Meatloaf’s attempt to crank up the crowd and inflate the atmosphere in the lead up to the 2011 finale between Collingwood and Geelong. However, the singer seemed incoherent, which he later blamed on the AFL’s failure to do a proper soundcheck, insisting he would talk other future artists out of performing for future AFL grand finals.
See Meatloaf’s performance that spectators and fans still remember as an AFL's final highlight for all the wrong reasons above.