2009 AFL Grand Final
The 2009 AFL Grand Final was an Australian rules football game contested between the St Kilda Football Club and the Geelong Football Club at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 26 September 2009. It was the 113th annual grand final of the Australian Football League (formerly the Victorian Football League), staged to determine the premiers for the 2009 AFL season.
|2009 AFL Grand Final|
Post-match presentation after the game. The premiership was Geelong's second in a string of three recent premiership victories.
|Date||26 September 2009, 2.30pm|
|Stadium||Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|Umpires||Chris Donlon, Brett Rosebury, Shaun Ryan|
|Coin toss won by||Geelong|
|Kicked toward||City End|
|Pre-match entertainment||Mark Seymour, Jimmy Barnes, John Farnham and Qantas choir|
|National anthem||Jersey Boys|
|Norm Smith Medallist||Paul Chapman (Geelong)|
|Jock McHale Medallist||Mark Thompson (Geelong)|
|Broadcast in Australia|
|Commentators||Stephen Quartermain (Host)|
Tim Lane (Commentator)
Robert Walls (Expert Commentator)
Luke Darcy (Expert Commentator)
Mark Howard (Boundary Rider)
Andrew Maher (Boundary Rider)
The match, attended by 99,251 spectators, was won by Geelong by a margin of 12 points, marking the club's eighth VFL/AFL premiership victory. It is remembered as one of the great grand finals in recent memory, due to the closeness of the scoreline, the physical nature of the game and the sheer brilliance of individual efforts from some of its participants. Geelong's Paul Chapman was awarded the Norm Smith Medal as the best player on the ground.
St Kilda entered the 2009 premiership season after having lost its preliminary final in 2008 against eventual premiers Hawthorn. The Saints' home-and-away season was outstanding and they won their first 19 games (the longest winning streak in the club's history) before losing consecutive close games in Rounds 20 and 21 against Essendon and North Melbourne. They won their final game and earned the McClelland Trophy for the first time since 1997. Their record of 20-2 is the equal-third most wins of all time, behind the 2008 Cats and the 2000 Bombers. They accounted for fourth-placed Collingwood by 28 points in their qualifying final and won a hard-fought and low scoring preliminary final against the Western Bulldogs by seven points to earn their place in the grand final.
Geelong entered the 2009 season after two consecutive minor premierships and two consecutive grand final appearances: a victory against Port Adelaide in the 2007 AFL Grand Final and a loss against Hawthorn in the 2008 AFL Grand Final. They won their four pre-season games to win the NAB Cup and their first 13 home-and-away games. Their first loss came in Round 14 against St Kilda (who at that stage were also undefeated) by six points, with Michael Gardiner kicking the winning goal in the dying minutes for the Saints. Following that loss the Cats entered a form slump, caused in part by several key injuries; their eight games from Rounds 14 to 21 yielded four wins and four losses, but only one of those wins (a 46-point victory against eventual wooden spooners Melbourne) was by a margin greater than one goal. Geelong won their final game comfortably to finish with a record of 18-4. They defeated a fast-finishing Bulldogs team by 14 points in their qualifying final and then comfortably beat Collingwood by 73 points in their preliminary final to advance to the grand final.
This grand final appearance was the sixteenth in Geelong's history and the third in succession, with the club attempting to win its eighth premiership and second in three years. It was sixth grand final appearance in St Kilda's history and the first since the 1997 Grand Final, with the club attempting to win its second premiership. Its only flag to date was won 43 years earlier in the 1966 Grand Final.
This was the first time that St Kilda and Geelong had met in a grand final. In spite of their respective ladder positions, Geelong entered the game as the favourite team to win amongst most bookmakers.
It was also the first grand final to be played since the death of cartoonist William Ellis Green (better known as WEG), who had been drawing victory posters after VFL/AFL grand finals since 1954. The posters had been sold after each Grand Final with the proceeds going to the Royal Children's Hospital. Beginning in 2009, the posters were drawn by cartoonist Mark Knight of the Herald Sun.
Coverage telecast live and in HD (via One HD) on Channel Ten and One HD with commentators Stephen Quartermain (host), Tim Lane (commentator), Robert Walls (expert commentator), Luke Darcy (expert commentator), Mark Howard (boundary rider) and Andrew Maher (boundary rider). Geelong’s K-Rock provided local coverage with commentary from Anthony Mithen and Ian Cohen.
Mark Seymour from Australian rock band Hunters and Collectors performed "Holy Grail" on stage, followed by Jimmy Barnes singing "No Second Prize". John Farnham then sang "You're the Voice", joined later by Seymour and Barnes. The premiership cup was brought onto the field twice: once by captains and administrators from football clubs affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires, then later via zip-line by Adelaide Crows champion Mark Ricciuto. The Qantas choir performed "I Still Call Australia Home", and the national anthem was performed a cappella by the cast of Jersey Boys.
The grand final was played in cold and wet conditions. It had rained heavily the previous night in Melbourne such that the ground was particularly wet around the boundary, and there were also several heavy showers during the game. The highest ambient temperature for the game was only 11.3 °C, the coldest on record for a grand final.
Geelong started strongly, earning a two-goal advantage after eight minutes, with Max Rooke scoring the opening goal of the game after catching an unaware Raphael Clarke holding the ball. St Kilda then gained the ascendancy in the middle part of the quarter, asserting an advantage in the midfield (partly through the influence of Lenny Hayes who tallied 11 touches and a goal in the first term) and stopping Geelong's rebound. St Kilda failed to convert on the scoreboard due to inaccurate kicking: despite entering the forward 50-metres arc on 14 occasions to Geelong's two during a sustained period of midfield dominance, they had only registered 2.2-14, with Andrew McQualter, Adam Schneider and Stephen Milne all missing easy shots at goal before Schneider marked and goaled on a 45 degree angle 15 meters out minutes before the first break.
St Kilda opened the second quarter better, but again missed relatively easy shots at goal from Schneider, Milne and Mcqualter. After a tough 20 minutes and goals to Dempster, Byrnes, and Ablett, the final 5 minutes of the quarter saw 5 goals with Geelong kicking to a two-goal lead including two goals in 15 seconds, the first of these two was a controversial goal scored by Tom Hawkins after a Zac Dawson turnover in the goal-square, which television replays confirmed hit the post. However, the Saints scored three goals in the final minute of play with the second and third goal both coming within 5 seconds after Darren Milburn showed demonstrative abuse to the goal umpire to end the quarter taking a six-point lead into half time: Clinton Jones roved a pack to snap a goal from the pocket with about ninety seconds remaining; Justin Koschitzke got his boot to a broken marking contest in the goal square to score a goal with only twelve seconds left; and an angry Darren Milburn, believing (incorrectly, according to replays) that he had touched Koschitzke's kick off the boot, gave away an additional free kick on the goal-line for abusing the goal umpire. This free kick gifted Schneider an easy goal with just five seconds remaining in the half.
The third quarter was an even and lower-scoring contest. There were many stoppages, much congestion and very little opportunity for scoring by either side. Geelong's Cameron Mooney goaled seven minutes into the quarter, while Saints' captain Nick Riewoldt answered with a goal from a close set shot only two minutes later. After a goal to Paul Chapman in the nineteenth minute, the scores were tied at 58 apiece, and remained tied for more than ten minutes. The deadlock was broken by the Saints' Leigh Montagna, who goaled with less than ninety seconds left in the quarter from a Steven King hit-out from a boundary throw-in in the Saints' forward pocket. St Kilda entered the three quarter time break with a seven-point lead.
Geelong scored a goal through Hawkins in the second minute of the final quarter to bring the margin back to a single point. The 21 minutes that followed yielded only five behinds: the first two to St Kilda, and the next three to Geelong, tying the scores at 67 apiece.
At the 24 minute mark of the final quarter, with less than five minutes of play remaining, Geelong's Steve Johnson had the ball in defense and kicked the ball towards Ablett, who had found space in the midfield. St Kilda's Zac Dawson had left his opponent Cameron Mooney and run a considerable distance from his own defense and managed to spoil the kick, and the ball fell to Scarlett, who had also run a long way from his own defensive area. Scarlett, with his right foot, kicked the ball out of midair to Ablett, who had continued to run forward. Ablett then kicked the ball long to Geelong's goal square, where several players contested for the ball. After receiving the ball from teammate Shannon Byrnes, Geelong forward Travis Varcoe managed to handball to Chapman, who kicked a left-foot goal past St Kilda's Jason Blake's outstretched hands.
Had Dawson's spoil not gone directly to Scarlett, St Kilda would have been able to gain possession and go forward into attack themselves. After the game, Matthew Scarlett stated that his toe poke was a lucky kick.
A subsequent behind to Rooke in the 27th minute put the Cats seven points ahead, and a rushed behind to the Saints in the 29th minute brought the margin back to one goal. Kicking in from the behind, the Cats went to a contest 50m from goal where a strong mark was taken by Harry Taylor. From there, the Cats were in the process of moving the ball forward when the final siren sounded. An after-the-siren goal from Rooke extended the margin to twelve points. Most crucially, St Kilda was held goalless during the final quarter.
St Kilda became the first team to lose a grand final from a three-quarter time lead since Hawthorn in 1984. Geelong became the first team to ever win a grand final after losing the first three quarters.
Norm Smith MedalEdit
Paul Chapman was awarded the Norm Smith Medal for his three goals and 26 possessions, despite sustaining a slight hamstring injury in the first quarter. Chapman received nine of a possible fifteen votes to win the medal. St Kilda's Jason Gram finished second for the medal, also polling nine votes, but losing to Chapman on a countback (Chapman received three votes from three of the five judges, while Gram received three votes from only one judge). Geelong's Taylor (who received three votes from the fifth judge) finished third, while Rooke, Gary Ablett, Jr., Jimmy Bartel, Milburn and Joel Corey also polled votes.
Chapman, Rooke, Milburn, Ablett, Bartel and Taylor were all excellent for Geelong. Taylor, in particular, was lauded for restricting dangerous Saints forward Riewoldt to just one goal. Contributing strongly for the Saints were Hayes, Gram, Luke Ball, Jones, Montagna, Steven Baker and Brendon Goddard; Goddard continued playing with a broken nose and a fractured collarbone, sustained in separate incidents during the game.
It was an extremely close game throughout: twelve points was the greatest margin at any stage of the game (Geelong's lead late in the second quarter, and the final margin). There was a very high number of tackles laid during the game, although wet conditions are always conducive to high tackle counts: St Kilda's 118 tackles set a new record as the highest by any team in any game, the combined total of 214 tackles set a new mark as the second highest on record, and Bartel's 16 tackles matched the equal-highest personal tally on record – these tallies have all since been surpassed.
In general play, St Kilda throughout the first half earned 31 inside-50s to Geelong's 15, and was consistently able to stop Geelong's rebound through the middle. However, as noted above, they did waste many of their inside-50s by missing relatively easy shots on goal and were unable to defend the fewer entries by Geelong. In the second half, general play was much more even but Geelong had the better of the inside-50s and clearances, and were better able to break through St Kilda's rebound defense. This attribute ultimately accounted for Geelong's triumph. Geelong also became the first side since Essendon in 2000 to win both the pre-season premiership and the regular season premiership in the same season.
|26 September, 2:30pm||St Kilda||def. by||Geelong||MCG (crowd: 99,251)|
|Umpires: Stephen McBurney (3), Brett Rosebury (8), Shaun Ryan (25)|
Norm Smith Medal: Paul Chapman (Geelong)
Television broadcast: Network Ten
National anthem: Jersey Boys
|Schneider 2, Goddard, Hayes, Dempster, Jones, Koschitzke, Riewoldt, Montagna||Goals||Chapman 3, Mooney 2, Hawkins 2, Rooke 2, Selwood, Byrnes, Ablett|
|Gram, Hayes, Ball, Jones, Montagna, Baker, Goddard||Best||Chapman, Rooke, Milburn, Taylor, Selwood, Ablett, Corey, Bartel, Ling, Scarlett|
|Goddard (broken nose/collarbone), Riewoldt (Torn adductor muscle)||Injuries||Paul Chapman (hamstring), Harry Taylor (broken hand)|
- In 1897 and 1924 there were no grand finals and instead the premier was decided by a finals play-off. In 1948 and 1977 there were grand final replays after initial draws.
- "Geelong wins second AFL flag in three years". The Australian. 26 September 2009. Archived from the original on 19 October 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2009.
- Geelong defeat St Kilda by 12 points in thrilling AFL grand final
- McAsey, Jenny (28 September 2009). "Mid-year summit that landed Geelong a flag". The Australian. Archived from the original on 19 October 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
- Broad, Ben (26 September 2009). "Scarlett's lucky toe-poke". AFL.com. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
- Connolly, Rohan (27 September 2009). "Stab of brilliance decides thriller". The Age. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
- Ralph, Jon (18 September 2010). "Zac Dawson and forth". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
- "Great grand final - and an even better fence". Sydney Morning Herald. 27 September 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
- Niall, Jake (25 June 2010). "'You can't replicate the pain of losing a grand final until you've lost one'". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
- Barrett, Damian (30 December 2009). "Year of the super poke". Herald Sun. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
- Brodie, Will (28 September 2009). "Scarlett goes blonde in celebration". The Age. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
- "Cats the last ones standing in epic battle". AFL.com. 26 September 2009. Archived from the original on 2 October 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2009.
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