2019 AFL Grand Final
The 2019 AFL Grand Final was an Australian rules football game contested at the Melbourne Cricket Ground between the Richmond Football Club and Greater Western Sydney Giants on 28 September 2019. It was the 123rd annual grand final of the Australian Football League (formerly Victorian Football League), staged to determine the premiers for the 2019 AFL season. The match, attended by 100,014 spectators, was won by Richmond by a margin of 89 points, marking the club's twelfth premiership and their second in three seasons. Richmond's Dustin Martin won the Norm Smith Medal as the player judged best on ground.
|2019 AFL Grand Final|
The teams line up for the National Anthem at the 2019 AFL Grand Final
|Date||28 September 2019, 2:30 pm|
|Stadium||Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|Umpires||Matt Stevic, Shaun Ryan, Ray Chamberlain|
|Coin toss won by||Richmond|
|Kicked toward||City End|
|Pre-match entertainment||Paul Kelly, Dean Lewis, Tones and I, John Williamson, Mike Brady|
|National anthem||Conrad Sewell|
|Post-match entertainment||Dean Lewis|
|Norm Smith Medallist||Dustin Martin|
|Jock McHale Medallist||Damien Hardwick|
|Broadcast in Australia|
|Commentators||Bruce McAvaney (host)|
Hamish McLachlan (host)
Brian Taylor (commentator)
Wayne Carey (expert commentator)
Cameron Ling (expert commentator)
Daisy Pearce (boundary rider)
Matthew Richardson (boundary rider)
It was the eighth consecutive grand final which featured one Victorian team and one non-Victorian team, and it was only the second grand final in VFL/AFL history (and the first since 1980) that did not feature either team that finished first or second on the ladder at the conclusion of the home-and-away season.
After ending a 37-year premiership drought in 2017 against Adelaide, Richmond entered the 2019 season after a stunning 39-point defeat to Collingwood in the 2018 first preliminary final but tipped to challenge for a second flag in three years after retaining the core of their 2017 premiers and adding Tom Lynch from Gold Coast. However, the Tigers suffered misfortune during the first half of the season, with several of their star players sidelined due to injury, including star defender Alex Rance lost for the rest of the year after their Round 1 win against Carlton, and ultimately went into the Grand Final missing Rance and three young stars in Jack Higgins, Sydney Stack and Jack Graham, who had been the leading goalkicker in the 2017 Grand Final despite only playing in his fifth game. At the conclusion of Round 14, the Tigers were ninth on the ladder with an average 7–6 win-loss record. However, they did not lose again in the home-and-away season, winning their last nine games to finish in the top four for a third straight year. Richmond qualified for the finals in third place with a 16–6 win-loss record, behind minor premiers Geelong and second-placed Brisbane on percentage. The Tigers advanced directly to the preliminary final after an impressive 47-point victory over Brisbane in the second qualifying final at the Gabba, which marked their first interstate finals victory, before reaching their second grand final in three seasons after a stirring 19-point comeback victory over Geelong in the second preliminary final at the MCG, including Lynch kicking five goals.
Greater Western Sydney started season 2019 after a 10-point loss to Collingwood in the 2018 second semi-final. Despite losing inspirational co-captain Callan Ward to an ACL injury early in the season, a season-ending injury to star midfielder Stephen Coniglio and some indifferent form in the second half of the year, the Giants qualified for the finals for the fourth straight year. They finished sixth with a 13–9 win-loss record. The Giants thrashed the Western Bulldogs by 58 points in the second elimination final before two heart-stopping victories – a three-point win over Brisbane in the second semi-final at the Gabba and a four-point win over last season's runner-up Collingwood in the first preliminary final at the MCG after a touched ball was incorrectly ruled as a goal – catapulted the club into its first ever grand final appearance. It was just the second time since the introduction of the AFL final eight system in 2000 that a team reached the grand final without finishing inside the top four, after the Bulldogs' 2016 victory.
Both teams met twice during the home-and-away season; they first met in Round 3 at Giants Stadium when the Giants thrashed Richmond by 49 points, and then again in Round 17 at the MCG when the Tigers won by 27 points. They had also met once in a final before in a 2017 preliminary final at the MCG, which Richmond had won by 36 en route to the flag.
It was announced during the week that Richmond, as the higher-ranked team, would wear its full home kit, while the Giants would wear their predominantly white clash guernsey with white shorts.
|Station||Region||Play-by-play commentators||Analysts and boundary riders (If known)|
|AFL Nation||National||Peter Donegan, Stephen Quartermain||Terry Wallace, Nick Dal Santo, Jo Wotton|
|Triple M||National||James Brayshaw, Luke Darcy||Chris Judd, Nathan Brown|
|1116 SEN||Melbourne, Victoria||Anthony Hudson, Gerard Whateley||Garry Lyon, Kane Cornes, Mitch Cleary|
|3AW||Melbourne, Victoria||Tim Lane, Tony Leonard||Leigh Matthews|
|K rock 95.5||Geelong, Victoria||Tom King, Darren Berry||Shaun Higgins, Ben Casanelia, Heath Buck, Leigh Brown|
Richmond chose Maureen Hafey – the widow of legendary Richmond coach Tom Hafey – as their ambassador to carry the premiership cup onto the field, while GWS chose Kevin Sheedy – their first ever coach. Hafey also presented the trophy to Trent Cotchin and Damien Hardwick during the on-field award ceremony.
The opening term of the grand final was a tough and low-scoring battle of attrition, with neither team scoring a goal in the first twenty minutes of the match. Giants spearhead Jeremy Cameron scored the opening goal of the grand final at the 20-minute mark before two late goals—from Dustin Martin at the 24-minute mark and Daniel Rioli right on the quarter-time siren—saw the Tigers take a seven-point lead at the first break.
Richmond began to pull away from the Giants in the second quarter. They scored five unanswered goals in a dominant quarter; Jack Riewoldt goaled at the four-minute mark of the term, followed by Martin's second goal at the seven-and-a-half minute mark. Tom Lynch scored two minutes later before Riewoldt finished the half with another two majors. Greater Western Sydney were held to just four behinds in the second term, and the Tigers headed to the halftime break with an ominous 35-point lead.
Richmond sealed the premiership with an equally uncompromising third quarter. They scored five goals to one in the term; Lynch kicked his second goal at the five-minute mark before Martin slotted his third seven-and-a-half minutes into the term. Marlion Pickett, the first Grand Final debutant since Keith Batchelor for Collingwood in 1952, scored his only goal of the afternoon at the 11th minute, and Kane Lambert scored two minutes after. The Giants finally broke a run of 11 consecutive Richmond goals with a Jacob Hopper major at the 25-minute mark of the quarter, but Ivan Soldo goaled right on the three-quarter-time siren. The margin was 62 points in favour of the Tigers at the final break, and the premiership was now beyond doubt.
With the flag under lock and key, the final quarter was a celebration for the Tigers. It was practically a carbon copy of the second and third quarters, with Richmond again scoring five goals and conceding only one. The Giants scored their third and final goal of the game early in the final quarter, with Harry Himmelberg saluting before the second minute, but the Tigers did not allow them to save face and ran away with their most lopsided premiership victory in club history. Shai Bolton scored his first major of the day at the ninth minute, followed by Riewoldt's fourth goal. Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin goaled at the 23-minute mark and was followed soon after by Martin, who also scored his fourth goal of the Grand Final. Riewoldt put the exclamation mark on a supremely emphatic victory, goaling only moments before the siren to increase the final margin to 89 points, the third-highest margin in a Grand Final. It was Richmond's most lopsided Grand Final victory of all time, surpassing their 81-point victory against Collingwood in 1980 that had included Kevin Bartlett kicking 7 goals.
Norm Smith MedalEdit
By unanimous selection – 15 out of 15 possible votes – Dustin Martin was awarded his second Norm Smith Medal after having won it in 2017 (when he had become the first to win the premiership/Brownlow Medal/Norm Smith Medal treble), making him the fourth player to win multiple Norm Smith Medals after Gary Ayres, Andrew McLeod and Luke Hodge. No other player garnered more than 6 votes, but Bachar Houli finished second as he did in 2017. Chaired by Alastair Lynch, the voters and their choices were as follows:
|Voter||3 Votes||2 Votes||1 Vote|
|Alastair Lynch||Dustin Martin||Bachar Houli||Jack Riewoldt|
|Chris Johnson||Dustin Martin||Dion Prestia||Jack Riewoldt|
|Bruce McAvaney||Dustin Martin||Bachar Houli||Marlion Pickett|
|Matthew Lloyd||Dustin Martin||Bachar Houli||Marlion Pickett|
|Angela Pippos||Dustin Martin||Marlion Pickett||Jack Riewoldt|
The teams were announced on 26 September 2019. Richmond made one change to the side, with Jack Graham dropping out of the side due to a shoulder injury he suffered in the preliminary final victory over Geelong. Pickett was announced to be taking his spot; having previously been picked up from South Fremantle in the WAFL during the midseason draft following the retirement of 2017 Premiership player Shaun Grigg, he had won the Norm Goss Medal in Richmond's VFL Grand Final victory over Williamstown. Ultimately, Pickett, Tom Lynch, Shai Bolton, Ivan Soldo, Jayden Short and Liam Baker in for Rance, Grigg, Graham, Jacob Townsend, Dan Butler and Kamdyn McIntosh were the six changes from the Richmond team that beat Adelaide two years beforehand.
Greater Western Sydney, meantime, recalled Toby Greene and Lachie Whitfield, who both missed their preliminary final win over Collingwood due to suspension and injury respectively, into their side, with Lachie Keeffe and Ian Hill both making way. GWS also was missing former Richmond Rising Star Brett Deledio after he had been injured earlier in the finals.
Greater Western Sydney
The umpiring panel, comprising three field umpires, four boundary umpires, two goal umpires and an emergency in each position is given below.
|Field:||9 Matt Stevic (7)||18 Ray Chamberlain (3)||25 Shaun Ryan (8)||21 Simon Meredith|
|Boundary:||Matthew Tomkins (3)||Chris Gordon (4)||Ian Burrows (8)||Matthew Konetschka (2)||Joshua Mather|
|Goal:||Steven Piperno (2)||Michael Craig (1)||Angus McKenzie-Wills|
Numbers in brackets represent the number of grand finals umpired, including 2019.
|28 September (2:30 pm)||Richmond||def.||Greater Western Sydney||Melbourne Cricket Ground (crowd: 100,014)||Report|
|Umpires: Stevic, Chamberlain, Ryan|
Norm Smith Medal: Dustin Martin
Television broadcast: Seven Network
National anthem: Conrad Sewell
1: Rioli, Pickett, Lambert, Soldo, Bolton, Cotchin
|Goals||1: Cameron, Hopper, Himmelberg|
|Martin, Riewoldt, Prestia, Pickett, Edwards, Vlastuin, Houli||Best||Taranto, Shaw, Haynes, Hopper, Williams|
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