The 1983 VFL Grand Final was an Australian rules football game contested between the Hawthorn Football Club and Essendon Football Club, held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne on 24 September 1983. It was the 87th annual Grand Final of the Victorian Football League, staged to determine the premiers for the 1983 VFL season. The match, attended by 110,332 spectators, was won by Hawthorn by a margin of 83 points, marking that club's fifth premiership victory.

1983 VFL Grand Final


20.20 (140) 8.9 (57)
1 2 3 4
HAW 5.6 (36) 12.10 (82) 16.18 (114) 20.20 (140)
ESS 3.0 (18) 4.1 (25) 4.3 (27) 8.9 (57)
Date24 September 1983
StadiumMelbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia
Broadcast in Australia
NetworkSeven Network
← 1982 VFL Grand Final 1984 →

Background edit

It was Essendon's first Grand Final appearance since losing the 1968 VFL Grand Final, while it was Hawthorn's first appearance since winning the 1978 VFL Grand Final. The Bombers had not won a flag since winning the 1965 VFL Grand Final.

At the conclusion of the home and away season, Hawthorn had finished second on the VFL ladder (one game behind North Melbourne) with 15 wins and 7 losses. Essendon had finished fourth, also with 15 wins and 7 losses, but with an inferior percentage.

In the finals series leading up to the Grand Final, the Bombers defeated Carlton by 33 points in the Elimination Final before defeating Fitzroy in the First Semi-Final by 23 points. They advanced to the Grand Final after comfortably beating North Melbourne by 86 points in the Preliminary Final. The Hawks defeated Fitzroy in the Qualifying Final by just 4 points and then defeated North Melbourne by 40 points to progress to the Grand Final.

Match summary edit

Team 1 2 3 Final
Hawthorn 5.6 12.10 16.18 20.20 (140)
Essendon 3.0 4.1 4.3 8.9 (57)

The Hawks asserted their strength early, leading by 2.6 at quarter time, and then completely dominated the rest of the game, scoring seven goals to one in the second quarter and holding the Bombers goalless in the third quarter, whilst adding four goals of their own. Captain Leigh Matthews kicked six goals and the Hawks had nine other goal kickers. The Norm Smith Medal was awarded to Hawthorn's Colin Robertson for being judged the best player afield.

The margin of victory was at the time the biggest in Grand Final history, beating the record which had been set by Richmond in the 1980 VFL Grand Final, and stood until it was broken by Hawthorn in the 1988 VFL Grand Final.

This match was the first in what was to be an all-time record run of seven consecutive Grand Final appearances by the Hawks. It was also the first of three consecutive Grand Finals to be contested between these teams, with the Bombers winning the 1984 VFL Grand Final and 1985 VFL Grand Final.

Teams edit

B: 7 Gary Ayres 46 Chris Mew 8 David O'Halloran
HB: 29 Russell Greene 20 Michael McCarthy 34 John Kennedy
C: 30 Peter Schwab 16 Terry Wallace 26 Rodney Eade
HF: 11 Gary Buckenara 23 Dermott Brereton 24 Peter Knights
F: 3 Leigh Matthews (c) 21 Michael Byrne 22 Richard Loveridge
Foll: 12 Ian Paton 17 Michael Tuck 32 Colin Robertson
Int: 9 Robert DiPierdomenico 1 Ken Judge
Coach: Allan Jeans
B: 9 Shane Heard 28 Paul Weston 17 Stephen Carey
HB: 10 Garry Foulds 30 Kevin Walsh 36 Peter Bradbury
C: 33 Glenn Hawker 1 Merv Neagle 2 Bryan Wood
HF: 23 Rene Kink 25 Roger Merrett 43 Alan Ezard
F: 42 Darren Williams 5 Terry Daniher (c) 18 Paul Van Der Haar
Foll: 27 Simon Madden 32 Tim Watson 20 Tony Buhagiar
Int: 24 Stephen Copping 12 Cameron Clayton
Coach: Kevin Sheedy

Goalkickers edit


  • Matthews 6
  • Byrne 3
  • Greene 2
  • Judge 2
  • Loveridge 2
  • Kennedy 1
  • Knights 1
  • O'Halloran 1
  • Tuck 1
  • Wallace 1


  • Daniher 2
  • Copping 1
  • Ezard 1
  • Kink 1
  • Madden 1
  • Walsh 1
  • Wood 1

References edit

  • Hawks Headquarters page on the 1983 Grand Final
  • The Official statistical history of the AFL 2004
  • Ross, J. (ed), 100 Years of Australian Football 1897-1996: The Complete Story of the AFL, All the Big Stories, All the Great Pictures, All the Champions, Every AFL Season Reported, Viking, (Ringwood), 1996. ISBN 0-670-86814-0

See also edit