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Rounds Of Our Lives: The greatest moments from Round 17

Gary Ablett lines up for his 100th goal with fans already streaming on to the ground. He missed and the process would be repeated. Picture: CHANNEL 7

Rounds Of Our Lives: The greatest moments from Round 17

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 17 in years gone by.

This round has seen some impressive records broken, from the highest ever VFL/AFL winning margin to Ted Whitten’s Footscray games record.

Because, like fans streaming on to the field after a spearhead kicks his 100th goal or a courageous mark from Jonathan Brown, so are the Rounds of our Lives.

GEELONG 23.13 (151) d SYDNEY 11.8 (74) (Kardinia Park, Round 17 1995)
It has become football tradition for fans to run out on to the ground when a player kicks his 100th goal for the season.

But it is not often that fans stream on to the field to celebrate a point. However, that was indeed the case in round 17, 1995.

Gary Ablett senior entered the match at Kardinia Park needing three goals to celebrate his 100th goal – his third 100-goal season in a row.

As was expected from a parochial Geelong home crowd, anticipation was high every time Ablett went near the ball.

In the second quarter, he took a mark inside 50 and lined up for what would have been his 100th goal. Excited fans had already started steaming on to the ground expecting a goal, meaning Ablett was surrounded by fans as he took his kick.

In breezy conditions, Ablett’s shot faded late and was signalled a behind, but fans thought it was a goal and entered the field en masse.

As the crowd swarmed Ablett, an exasperated ground announcer urged fans to leave the field. But his pleas fell on deaf ears. After a lengthy delay, spectators (including Alastair Clarkson and a young Brendon Fevola) exited the field and the game continued.

Ablett’s actual 100th goal would take place in the third quarter, and fans again charged out in what some players later described as a bit of an anti-climax.

The Geelong legend became the oldest player to kick 100 goals in a season and remains the only player in league history to kick a century and win the Coleman Medal in three successive seasons.
In the end, Ablett finished with seven goals as Geelong ran out convincing 77-point winners.

FITZROY 36.22 (238) d MELBOURNE 6.12 (48) (Waverley, Round 17 1979)
In a record-breaking display at Waverley, Fitzroy demolished Melbourne to record what remains the biggest winning margin in VFL/AFL history of 190 points. The Roys dominated the hapless Demons from start to finish, and piled on 22 goals to four after half time. Fitzroy’s score of 238 points remained the highest ever league score until Geelong scored 239 points against the Brisbane Bears in 1992. Bob Beecroft starred for Fitzroy with 10 goals, while Garry Wilson recorded 42 disposals.

FOOTSCRAY 14.12 (96) d COLLINGWOOD 12.21 (93) (MCG, Round 17 1990)
Collingwood was a formidable side in 1990 and would go on to win a drought-breaking flag later that year. But in round 17, Footscray produced a memorable upset thanks to some Steven Kolyniuk magic. The Bulldogs were in control for much of the match, leading by 28 points at three-quarter time. But the Pies fought back and stole the lead after Denis Banks kicked a goal with less than two-and-a-half minutes remaining. In the dying stages, Kolyniuk marked about 70 metres out. Deciding to take the game on, he wrong-footed Collingwood opponent Graham Wright, sprinted inside 50 and kicked a spectacular running goal. His fancy footwork helped Footscray record an impressive three-point victory.

FOOTSCRAY 17.11 (113) d GEELONG 13.7 (85) (Western Oval, Round 17 1994)
Doug Hawkins was one of the most talented players to ever don the red, white and blue, so it was only fitting he would be the player to break Ted Whitten’s Footscray games record of 321 matches in 1994. While Hawkins never achieved the game’s ultimate success, the Dogs ensured he went out a winner in his 322nd match against the Cats at Western Oval. They led by only one point at three-quarter time, but ran away with the game to win by 28 points. Hawkins produced a fine performance, recording 23 disposals and winning a Brownlow vote. To top it off, Whitten himself – a fellow Braybrook product – was on hand to congratulate Hawkins as he entered the field.

BRISBANE 18.16 (124) d HAWTHORN 10.8 (68) (MCG, Round 17 2002)
Jonathan Brown was renowned as one of the most courageous players in the AFL, and his reputation was built on the back of acts such as his kamikaze Mark of the Year in 2002. Facing Hawthorn at the MCG, Brisbane kicked the ball inside 50, where Brown courageously sprinted back with the flight of the ball towards a pack of players. Showing little regard for his wellbeing, Brown kept his eyes on the ball and took the mark, knocking over Hawk Jade Rawlings in the process. The mark was emblematic of the bravery Brown showed throughout his career, and helped the Lions record a convincing 56-point victory over the Hawks.

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