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Rounds Of Our Lives: The greatest moments from Round 11

Jason McCartney is chaired from the field by North Melbourne teammates after his comeback game and post-game retirement at Telstra Dome in 2003.

Rounds Of Our Lives: The greatest moments from Round 11

Luke Michael    

If you need a break from the constant speculation and analysis accompanying the 2018 AFL season, take a step back and enjoy some of the greatest moments from round 11 in years gone by.

This round has seen everything from a miraculous player comeback, to weather conditions of which most AFL players nowadays would shudder at the thought.

Because like Koutoufides magic at Princes Park or a hailstorm at Waverley, so are the Rounds of our Lives.

NORTH MELBOURNE 13.14 (92) d RICHMOND 13.11 (89) (Telstra Dome, Round 11 2003)
In one of football’s most inspirational moments, Jason McCartney – who suffered severe burns to more than half his body in the Bali bombings – made a miraculous AFL comeback in round 11, 2003.

McCartney was a victim of the devastating Bali bombings on 12 October 2002, heroically trying to save others around him despite suffering horrific second degree burns in the blast.

After a long and arduous rehabilitation process, McCartney played seven games in the VFL before gaining senior selection for the Kangaroos in round 11, just eight months after the bombings.

A heavily-bandaged McCartney walked onto Telstra Dome wearing a long-sleeved top and protective gloves.

Etched on his back were the numbers 88 and 202 – representing the number of Australians who died in the bombings and the total number of deaths.

The match against Richmond was a thriller, with the Roos up by three points up at three-quarter time.

McCartney, who was barely sighted in the first three quarters, took a strong mark early in the fourth quarter and kicked a goal to put the Kangaroos nine points up.

But the Tigers would not wilt and led by three points with only two minutes remaining.

As the game hung in the balance, McCartney would prove to be the hero, dishing off a frantic toe-poke inside 50 which Leigh Harding picked up to kick the match-winning goal.

It sealed a three-point victory for the Kangaroos in front of 43,200 fans, many of whom held signs reading “Bali 88/202”.

Before he could be chaired off the ground, McCartney announced his immediate AFL retirement in a post-match interview, admitting the effort just to return to the field had left him “spent”.

It was a fairytale end to McCartney’s career, and one of most memorable moments in the league’s history.

FITZROY 13.14 (92) d COLLINGWOOD 13.11 (89) (Princes Park, Round 11 1992)
Fitzroy defeated Collingwood in a thriller at Princes Park in 1992, after some final quarter magic from Paul Roos. In Fitzroy team of the century member Gary Pert’s first game against his old club, the Lions looked in control against the Pies to lead by 27 points at three-quarter time. But a seven goal final term from Collingwood saw the Pies take the lead with two minutes remaining, after Pert was moved into the forward line and scored what looked to be the winning goal. Fitzroy captain Roos would eventually save the day, bursting through a pack and snapping a crafty goal from the forward pocket with 11 seconds remaining. His goal ensured a famous three-point victory for the Roys.

ST KILDA 20.10 (130) d BRISBANE 11.9 (75) (Waverley Park, Round 11 1993)
AFL players these days are used to playing on pristine surfaces under a roof, but on a miserable June afternoon at Waverley Park, St Kilda and Brisbane were subjected to not only significant rain but also a hailstorm. Many fans will remember the image of Bears’ forward Paul Peos, who had to protect his face with his hands as hail stones pelted him as he lined up for goal. Many said it was the biggest hailstorm to hit football since the first semi-final in 1957 between Hawthorn and Carlton. In the end, the Saints were too far strong for Brisbane, recording a 55-point victory thanks to an 11-goal haul from Tony Lockett.

CARLTON 20.9 (129) d NORTH MELBOURNE 15.9 (99) (Princes Park, round 11 2000)
Anthony Koutoufides proved just how dominant a force he could be in a mesmerising display at Princes Park in 2000. In a rematch of the 1999 Grand Final, the Blues were desperate for revenge, and Koutoufides stepped up in what he later described as the best game he ever played. Initially lining up to start the game on none other than Wayne Carey, Koutoufides dominated in the midfield and up forward to lead Carlton to an impressive 30-point victory. Koutoufides himself ended up with 38 disposals and 5 goals.

WEST COAST 19.10 (124) drew WESTERN BULLDOGS 19.10 (124) (Subiaco, round 11 2003)
The Western Bulldogs may have ended up with the wooden spoon in 2003, but they put in an impressive performance against West Coast in this drawn game at Subiaco. The Eagles led by 11-points at half time, but a seven-goal third term by the Dogs put them 14-points up heading into the final quarter. The Dogs lead by six points in the dying stages, when Ashley Sampi floated across and took a mark deep inside forward 50. Kicking after the siren, Sampi kicked truly to draw the game and prevent the Dogs from causing a major upset.

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