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Rounds Of Our Lives: The greatest moments from Round 23

Champion Hawthorn full-forward Jason Dunstall lines up to kick his 1000th career goal against Brisbane at the Gabba in 1994. Picture: CHANNEL 7

Rounds Of Our Lives: The greatest moments from Round 23

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 23 in years gone by.

This round has seen some impressive goalkicking feats, from Jason Dunstall’s 1000th goal at the Gabba to a stunning off-balance effort from Peter Daicos.

Because, like a dominant display from Adam Goodes, or a crucial dropped mark from Jake Stringer, so are the Rounds of our Lives.

HAWTHORN 15.12 (102) d BRISBANE 13.13 (91) (Gabba, Round 23 1994)

With Lance “Buddy” Franklin closing in on the prestigious 1000-goal club, it is worth remembering the day Hawks’ legend Jason Dunstall reached the milestone, in round 23, 1994.

Dunstall entered the game against Brisbane sitting on 999 goals and keen to reach four figures, but the Hawks already had plenty to play for, with a win needed to thrust them back into the top eight approaching finals.

Fittingly for the born-and-raised Brisbane champion, the game was played at the Gabba on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Dunstall didn’t have to wait long to get to 1000, reaching the milestone with the opening goal of the game within the first few minutes. Shane Crawford took the ball on the wing and delivered a lace-out pass to Dunstall, who copped a hit to the side of his eye for his troubles.

Despite a little trickle of blood on his face, Dunstall had no issue slotting the goal from just inside the 50-metre arc.

Fans streamed on to the ground and swamped Dunstall as per the custom, although being in Brisbane, the on-field turnout was lacklustre by Melbourne standards. As this happened, a stoic Dunstall received on-field treatment for his cut.

Hawthorn rushed to a 31-point advantage at quarter time and led by 27 points at the main break, but the Bears refused to go away.

But the class of Hawthorn prevailed in the end, with the Hawks running out 11-point winners thanks in large part to a six-goal effort from Dunstall.

The performance made Dunstall just the third player after Gordon Coventry and Doug Wade to join the 1000-goal club, a club which Tony Lockett and Gary Ablett Snr would also later join.

COLLINGWOOD 18.18 (126) d RICHMOND 14.9 (93) (Victoria Park, Round 23 1991)
Peter Daicos kicked some incredible goals during his career, but his stunning off-balance effort in round 23, 1991, ranks with his finest work. Playing Richmond at Victoria Park, Daicos was hemmed in in the right forward pocket and corralled by opponent Terry Keays, but was able to find some space and hastily kick a drop punt towards goal. Despite Keays pushing him to the ground as he kicked, Daicos was able to thread the goal from the tightest of angles, sending Collingwood fans into a frenzy. The “Macedonian Marvel” would finish with five goals, as the Pies ran out 33-point winners.

ADELAIDE 24.25 (169) d GEELONG 11.12 (78) (Football Park, Round 23 1992)
Scott Hodges kicked 11.4 against Geelong at Football Park in 1992, willing the Crows to an impressive 91-point victory over the eventual minor premiers. In perhaps the club’s finest performance since entering the league in 1991, Adelaide turned the tables on the dominant Cats – who had thrashed the Crows by 123 points earlier that season. Hodges put on a colossal performance, finishing with a then-club record 11 goals, including seven goals in the first half. Unfortunately for Hodges, he would only manage 38 games (and 100 goals) during his AFL career, as he was eventually overshadowed by the high-flying Tony Modra.

SYDNEY 15.9 (99) d GEELONG 12.14 (86) (Simonds Stadium, Round 23 2011)
The AFL community is currently in awe of Richmond’s 20-match winning streak at the MCG. But leading up to the end of 2011, Geelong held the longest streak of wins at a single venue – with 29 straight victories at Skilled Stadium. Sydney would end that streak in round 23, scoring an upset 13-point win after a dominant 30-disposal, one-goal performance from Adam Goodes. The win was especially emotional, as it came only days after absent co-captain Jarrad McVeigh suffered the tragic death of his infant daughter. The win broke a nine-match losing streak for Sydney against the Cats, and was also the Swans’ first win at Geelong’s fortress since Round 8, 1999.

GWS 18.7 (115) d WESTERN BULLDOGS 15.19 (109) (Etihad Stadium, Round 23 2014)
In a match which sparked a bitter rivalry between the Western Bulldogs and GWS, a crucial dropped mark from the Dogs in the dying seconds led to a last-gasp Giants victory in the final round of 2014. The two young, struggling sides entered round 23 near the bottom of the ladder, but with club favourite Daniel Giansiracusa playing his farewell game, the Dogs were desperate for a win. In a tense final quarter, scores were tied with 40 seconds remaining when the ball was kicked towards Jake Stringer in the Dogs’ forward 50. Stringer dropped an easy mark, allowing GWS to whisk the ball forward to Devon Smith, who kicked a classy running goal from outside 50 to secure victory in the dying seconds. Weeks later, Bulldogs’ captain Ryan Griffen was traded to GWS for No.1 draft pick Tom Boyd, setting up a bitter rivalry between the clubs which culminated in the classic 2016 preliminary final.

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