2016 AFL Grand Final

The 2016 AFL Grand Final was an Australian rules football match contested between the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 1 October 2016. It was the 120th annual Grand Final of the Australian Football League (formerly the Victorian Football League),[1] staged to determine the premiers of the 2016 AFL season. The match, attended by 99,981 spectators, was won by the Bulldogs by a margin of 22 points, marking the club's second VFL/AFL premiership victory and first since 1954. It was also the first time in VFL/AFL history that a team won the premiership from seventh place on the ladder. Jason Johannisen of the Bulldogs was awarded the Norm Smith Medal as the best player on the ground.

2016 AFL Grand Final
2016 AFL Grand Final logo.png
2016 AFL Grand Final huddles.jpg
The two teams in their huddles prior to the first bounce
AFL Sydney Icon.jpg
AFL Footscray Icon.jpg
Western Bulldogs
10.7 (67) 13.11 (89)
1 2 3 4
SYD 1.2 (8) 7.3 (45) 8.5 (53) 10.7 (67)
WB 2.0 (12) 7.1 (43) 9.7 (61) 13.11 (89)
Date1 October 2016, 2.30 pm
StadiumMelbourne Cricket Ground
UmpiresMatt Stevic, Simon Meredith, Scott Jeffery
Coin toss won byWestern Bulldogs
Kicked towardCity End
Pre-match entertainmentSting, The Living End, Vance Joy, Mike Brady
National anthemVika and Linda Bull
Post-match entertainmentThe Living End, Vance Joy
Norm Smith MedallistJason Johannisen
Jock McHale MedallistLuke Beveridge
Broadcast in Australia
NetworkSeven Network
CommentatorsBruce McAvaney (host and commentator)
Hamish McLachlan (host)
Dennis Cometti (commentator)
Cameron Ling (expert commentator)
Wayne Carey (expert commentator)
Matthew Richardson (boundary rider)
Tim Watson (boundary rider)
Leigh Matthews (analyst)
Luke Hodge (analyst)
← 2015 AFL Grand Final 2017 →


Minor premiers for the ninth time,[2] the Sydney Swans finished the home-and-away season with a 17-5 record. They were defeated by the GWS Giants in the qualifying final by 36 points,[3] but bounced back with a semi-final victory against Adelaide,[4] and then a 37-point preliminary final win against Geelong at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)[5] for their third grand final appearance in five years.

Injuries ended the 2016 season for key Western Bulldogs players: captain Robert Murphy (round 3) and Jack Redpath (round 18) ruptured their anterior cruciate ligament, and midfielder Mitch Wallis (round 18) fractured his left tibia and fibula.[6][7] Jason Johannisen[8] and Matt Suckling also sat out for extended periods.[9] The Bulldogs nevertheless won 15 games to finish 7th on the home-and-away ladder and qualify for the finals for the second consecutive year.[10] Against the odds, they eliminated both 2015's grand finalists, West Coast and Hawthorn, in the elimination and semi-finals respectively.[11][12] The Bulldogs then beat the Giants at Spotless Stadium by six points to qualify for their first grand final appearance since 1961.[13][14] In doing so, the Bulldogs became the first team since Carlton in 1999 to reach a grand final after finishing the home-and-away season outside of the top four and the first team to do so under the current finals format that was introduced in 2000.[15]

Sydney and the Western Bulldogs met in round 15 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Returning from injury and with just four seconds remaining, Bulldogs defender Johannisen kicked a goal to defeat the Swans 11.13 (79) to 13.5 (83).[16]

The AFL had introduced a pre-finals bye in 2016 to discourage teams from resting players en masse in the final round of the home-and-away season.[17] Therefore, rather than on the traditional last Saturday of September, the Grand Final was held on the first Saturday in October.

Media coverageEdit

The match was televised by the Seven Network. The match commentary was conducted by Bruce McAvaney and Dennis Cometti for the Seven Network, marking the duo's eighth grand final appearance together as commentators since 2008 and their twelfth overall. It was Cometti's eighteenth grand final and McAvaney's sixteenth. This was the final match of commentary by Cometti after he announced that 2016 would be the end of his 30-year commentary career.[18]

The sports film Year of the Dogs, which covered the Western Bulldogs' turbulent 1996 season in which they finished second-last, was aired on 7mate the day prior to the Grand Final.[19]

All four radio partners, 1116 SEN, 3AW, ABC Grandstand, and Triple M broadcast the match live,[20] with Triple M simulcasting nationally to their local channels and to 92.5 Gold FM in the Gold Coast and Mix 94.5 in Perth.[21]

6.5 million in-home viewers watched some part of Seven's telecast across the day. A peak audience at 5.2 million viewers tuned-in at one stage, with an average of 4.1 million across the metro cities and regional homes during the game. It was the most-watched football match since the network attained free-to-air grand final screening rights a decade earlier, and the fourth most-watched match in VFL/AFL history.[22]

International coverageEdit

Region[20][23] Rights holder(s)
Asia Australia Plus, Eurosport
Canada TSN2
Caribbean ESPN
China CCTV5
Europe Eurosport
India Australia Plus
Ireland BT Sport, Eurosport
Latin America Claro Sports
Middle East Orbit Showtime Network
New Zealand Sky Sports, TVNZ
United Kingdom BT Sport, Eurosport
United States Fox Soccer Plus


The respective banners for both sides

Similar to previous grand finals, the 2016 AFL Grand Final provided both pre-match and post-match entertainment. On 31 August 2016, it was announced that Melburnian musicians Vance Joy and the band the Living End would perform.[24] British rocker Sting was then announced as another performer during the pre-match show.[25] It was then announced on 23 September that sister duo Vika and Linda Bull would be performing the national anthem, while Mike Brady would perform a new version of his famous football song "One Day in September".[26]

Match summaryEdit

First quarterEdit

Easton Wood won the coin toss for the Bulldogs and chose to kick towards the city end of the MCG. The Swans had an early injury scare when Lance Franklin was taken off the field with a suspected foot injury after four minutes. The Swans were the first to score after eight minutes with Kieren Jack taking a courageous mark before colliding into the incoming Wood. His subsequent kick on goal went down as a behind.[27] The first goal of the match, which came about half-way through the quarter, was also claimed by the Swans as Luke Parker scored from a distance of 35 m (38 yd). Back on the field, Franklin took another mark and behind for the Swans. The Bulldogs finally made the board after fifteen minutes when Zaine Cordy scored a goal from the boundary line, followed shortly after by another via a mark from Tory Dickson. The Bulldogs led by four points at the end of the quarter.[28]

Second quarterEdit

The second quarter began like the end of the first. Tom Boyd scored a goal for the Bulldogs after two minutes. The rest of the quarter was closely fought with the Bulldogs leading through Dickson, Liam Picken, another from Boyd and Toby McLean, and the Swans fighting back with goals from Nick Smith, Tom Mitchell (2), Gary Rohan and Josh Kennedy (2). At the mid-way point of the match, Sydney led the game by two points.[28]

Third quarterEdit

The third quarter saw several missed shots on goal for both teams. Dickson took the lead for the Bulldogs with a goal after three minutes. Seven minutes later McLean gave away a fifty metre penalty against Kennedy for a late bump in a marking contest. Kennedy converted the kick into a goal. The final goal of the quarter by Clay Smith saw the Bulldogs again lead, for the third and final time, at the end of the quarter, by eight points.[28]

Final quarterEdit

The reaction of the players and supporters moments after the final siren
The Bulldogs team on the podium with the premiership cup

Early in the final quarter, Swans midfielder Dan Hannebery suffered an injury to his left knee when he collided awkwardly with Easton Wood who had gone in low to claim the ball on the ground. He was promptly helped off the field for treatment and attempted to continue playing after having his knee strapped, only to return to the bench after taking a free kick with the injured leg.[29] Franklin's shot on goal to close the gap to a single point was the closest the Swans could get to the Bulldogs in the final quarter. George Hewett scored another for the Swans but goals from Jake Stringer, Picken (2) and Boyd extended the lead for the Bulldogs to ensure that they won the AFL title for the first time in more than 60 years.[28]

Norm Smith MedalEdit

Jason Johannisen was named the Norm Smith Medallist (best on ground) with ten votes, 33 possessions and nine inside 50s. Johannisen won the award ahead of Josh Kennedy with eight votes, Tom Boyd with seven votes and Liam Picken with five.[30]


During the official on-field presentation, Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge invited injured Bulldogs' captain Bob Murphy – a popular Bulldogs' stalwart who had played with the club continuously since 2000, but who had missed all but the first three games of the premiership season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament – onto the podium. Beveridge then gave his own Jock McHale medal to Murphy, and urged Murphy to hoist the premiership trophy alongside acting captain Easton Wood instead of following the tradition of the captain and coach hoisting the cup.[31] Murphy chose to return the medal to Beveridge the following day, and Beveridge then donated the medal to the Western Bulldogs club museum.[32]

Overall reportEdit

Prior to this match, only Matthew Suckling had appeared in a grand final, having played in Hawthorn's premierships in 2014 and 2015 against the Sydney Swans and the West Coast Eagles respectively.

Best playersEdit

Among the star players were Tom Boyd (six contested marks, three goals and two points), Picken (25 possessions and three goals) and Jack Macrae (32 possessions). Kennedy was the stand out player for the Swans taking a total of 34 possessions and three goals. Statistically, Dane Rampe was effective in defence (24 possessions and nine rebound 50s), as were Jack (22 possessions) and Mitchell (26 possessions and two goals) in midfield.[33]

Impact of Essendon supplements sagaEdit

Stewart Crameri missed being part of the Western Bulldogs' premiership win after being suspended for twelve months in January for being part of the controversial supplements and sports science program that took place at his former club, Essendon, during the 2012 AFL season.[34] He had only been permitted to return to club training in the week leading to the Grand Final.[35]


The teams were announced on 29 September 2016. Sydney made two changes to its lineup from the preliminary final, with co-captain Jarrad McVeigh and Rising Star winner Callum Mills both returning from injury. They replaced Aliir Aliir, who suffered a knee injury in the preliminary final, and Harrison Marsh, who was omitted. The Bulldogs remained unchanged from its preliminary final.[36]

W. Bulldogs
B: 44 Jake Lloyd 39 Heath Grundy 40 Nick Smith
HB: 14 Callum Mills 11 Jeremy Laidler 24 Dane Rampe
C: 15 Kieren Jack (c) 12 Josh Kennedy 3 Jarrad McVeigh (c)
HF: 6 Tom Mitchell 23 Lance Franklin 26 Luke Parker
F: 41 Tom Papley 8 Kurt Tippett 21 Ben McGlynn
Foll: 35 Sam Naismith 4 Dan Hannebery 5 Isaac Heeney
Int: 16 Gary Rohan 10 Zak Jones 29 George Hewett
42 Xavier Richards
Coach: John Longmire
Western Bulldogs
B: 39 Jason Johannisen 30 Joel Hamling 5 Matthew Boyd
HB: 24 Shane Biggs 38 Dale Morris 10 Easton Wood (c)
C: 7 Lachie Hunter 4 Marcus Bontempelli 42 Liam Picken
HF: 11 Jackson Macrae 12 Zaine Cordy 9 Jake Stringer
F: 29 Tory Dickson 17 Tom Boyd 14 Clay Smith
Foll: 23 Jordan Roughead 6 Luke Dahlhaus 21 Tom Liberatore
Int: 16 Toby McLean 18 Fletcher Roberts 20 Josh Dunkley
35 Caleb Daniel
Coach: Luke Beveridge

The umpiring panel, comprising three field umpires, four boundary umpires, two goal umpires and an emergency in each position is given below. The most notable appointment was field umpire Scott Jeffery's selection for his first grand final.[37]

2016 AFL Grand Final umpires
Position Emergency
Field: 9 Matt Stevic (4) 21 Simon Meredith (4) 29 Scott Jeffery (1) Justin Schmitt
Boundary: Ian Burrows (7) Chris Bull (1) Rob Haala (3) Michael Marantelli (2) Matthew Konetschka
Goal: Chris Appleton (3) Adam Wojcik (3) Chelsea Roffey

Numbers in brackets represent the number of grand finals umpired, including 2016.


Grand Final
Saturday, 1 October (2:30 pm) Sydney def. by Western Bulldogs MCG (crowd: 99,981) Report
1.2 (8)
7.3 (45)
8.5 (53)
 10.7 (67)
2.0 (12)
7.1 (43)
9.7 (61)
 13.11 (89)
Umpires: Matt Stevic, Simon Meredith, Scott Jeffery
Norm Smith Medal: Jason Johannisen
Television broadcast: Seven Network
National anthem: Vika and Linda Bull
Kennedy 3
Mitchell 2
Parker, N. Smith, Rohan, Franklin, Hewett 1
Goals 3 T. Boyd, Dickson, Picken
1 Cordy, McLean, C. Smith, Stringer
Kennedy, Mitchell, Rampe, Heeney, Jones, Hannebery Best Johannisen, Picken, T. Boyd, Macrae, M. Boyd, Dahlhaus
Franklin (right ankle), Hannebery (left knee) Injuries Johannisen (calf)
Nil Reports Nil

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ In 1897 and 1924 there were no grand finals and instead the premier was decided by a finals play-off. In 1948, 1977 and 2010, there were grand final replays after initial draws.
  2. ^ "Sydney Swans embarrass Richmond Tigers by 113 points to cement AFL minor premiership". ABC Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 27 August 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  3. ^ Hinds, Richard (10 September 2016). "GWS Giants come of age to upset Sydney Swans in first qualifying final". The Daily Telegraph. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  4. ^ Buckley, James (18 September 2016). "Sydney Swans advance in 2016 AFL finals after overcoming Adelaide Crows at SCG". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  5. ^ Bilton, Dean (24 September 2016). "AFL Finals: Sydney Swans thump Geelong by 37 to book grand final ticket". ABC Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  6. ^ Pierik, Jon (11 April 2016). "'I felt the pop,' says Bob Murphy". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  7. ^ Swersky, Tiarne (25 July 2016). "Western Bulldogs' injury curse eerily similar to past finals-bound AFL sides". Fox Sports (Australia). News Corp Australia. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  8. ^ Ralph, Jon (17 April 2016). "Jason Johannisen could be out for at least eight weeks as Western Bulldogs sweat on scan results". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  9. ^ Cherny, Daniel (28 July 2016). "Western Bulldogs v Geelong: Dogs hurt by injuries to Matt Suckling and Matthew Boyd". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  10. ^ Elborough, Brad (29 August 2016). "Pavlich farewelled as Fremantle show Bulldogs new tricks". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  11. ^ Australian Associated Press (9 September 2016). "AFL finals: Western Bulldogs shock West Coast with 47-point elimination final win". ABC Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  12. ^ Edmund, Sam (17 September 2016). "Western Bulldogs eliminate Hawthorn with stunning semi-final win, Hawks' four-peat hopes dashed". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Grand Finals". AFL Tables. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  14. ^ Sygall, David (24 September 2016). "Match report: Dogs become Giant killers to advance to Grand Final". AFL.com.au. Telstra Media. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  15. ^ Connolly, Rohan (25 September 2016). "Western Bulldogs v Sydney Swans in the 2016 grand final: A romance we had to have". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  16. ^ Curley, Adam (2 July 2016). "Match report: Bulldogs sink Swans in thriller". AFL.com.au. Telstra Media. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  17. ^ Vaughan, Roger (29 October 2015). "AFL introduces pre-finals bye". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  18. ^ Australian Associated Press (10 February 2016). "Dennis Cometti to retire from AFL commentary after 2016 season". ABC Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  19. ^ Perry, Kevin (29 September 2016). "Grand Final Friday Night Special: Bulldogs Road to Glory on Seven". Decider TV. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  20. ^ a b "2016 AFL Broadcast Guide". AFL.com.au. Telstra Media. Archived from the original on 30 September 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  21. ^ "Triple M Rocks Footy!". Triple M. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  22. ^ Styles, Aja (2 October 2016). "AFL Grand Final 2016 has highest footy ratings for Channel 7 in a decade", The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  23. ^ "2016 AFL Grand Final – International Broadcast Schedule". World Footy News. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  24. ^ King, Travis (31 August 2016). "Homegrown acts to headline Grand Final entertainment". AFL.com.au. Telstra Media. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  25. ^ Navaratnam, Dinny (9 September 2016). "Sting to rock the 'G on Grand Final day". AFL.com.au. Telstra Media. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  26. ^ Thompson, Matt (23 September 2016). "Sister act confirmed for national anthem at Grand Final". AFL.com.au. Telstra Media. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  27. ^ "As it happened: Bulldogs prevail over Swans in grand final classic". ABC. 1 October 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  28. ^ a b c d Jackson, Russell (1 October 2016). "Western Bulldogs beat Sydney for first AFL premiership in 62 years – as it happened". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  29. ^ Wu, Andrew (3 October 2016). "AFL grand final 2016: Banged up Sydney Swans await news on Dan Hannebery's knee injury".
  30. ^ "Norm Smith: Bulldog Jason Johannisen springs a medal surprise – AFL.com.au". AFL. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  31. ^ Larissa Nicholson (2 October 2016). "AFL grand final 2016: Luke Beveridge gives Bob Murphy his premiership medal". The Sunday Age. Melbourne, VIC. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  32. ^ "Bob Murphy returns premiership medal handed to him by coach Luke Beveridge on Grand Final day". Herald Sun. Melbourne, VIC. 6 October 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  33. ^ "Match report: Dogs dust Swans to snap 62-year drought – AFL.com.au". AFL. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  34. ^ Travis King (12 January 2016). "Guilty: court bans the Essendon 34 for 2016". Australian Football League. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  35. ^ Quayle, Emma (10 February 2017). "Western Bulldog Stewart Crameri opens up on emotion-charged AFL grand final weekend". The Age. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  36. ^ "AFL Grand Final teams: All of the ins and outs for Sydney Swans v Western Bulldogs 2016 decider". Fox Sports (Australia). News Corp Australia. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  37. ^ Guthrie, Ben (27 September 2016). "Veteran gets his turn as Grand Final umpires named". AFL.com.au. Telstra Media. Retrieved 27 September 2016.

External linksEdit