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Rounds Of Our Lives: The greatest moments from Round 7

Mayhem erupts at the Essendon-Richmond clash at Windy Hill in 1974 in a brawl involving players and officials. Photo: FAIRFAX SYNDICATION

Rounds Of Our Lives: The greatest moments from Round 7

Luke Michael    

The AFL news cycle can be draining to follow at times, given the constant speculation about the future of out-of-contract stars, the meaningless clichés offered by coaches in press conferences and rumours abounding about “player unrest” at certain clubs.

So why not forget about your team’s fortunes heading into round seven, and instead reminisce on some of this round’s greatest moments from previous decades.

Because like an on-field brawl at Windy Hill or a lazy 17-goal haul at Waverley, so are the Rounds of our Lives.

RICHMOND 16.19 (115) d ESSENDON 15.15 (105) (Windy Hill, Round 7 1974)
This is a match famous not so much for the game itself, but for an infamous half-time brawl which shocked the football world.

Windy Hill descended into chaos when Richmond’s Mal Brown tangled with Bombers player Graeme Jenkin moments before the first half ended. After the players separated and headed towards the race, Essendon runner Laurie Ashley confronted Brown – and within seconds a wild all-in brawl had broken out.

Players, officials, spectators, police – and at one stage even a six-year-old boy – were all involved in the violent skirmish. As the dust settled and the fighting came to a halt, one spectator and an Essendon player were left unconscious, Richmond ruckman Brian “Whale” Roberts was gifted a broken nose, while Essendon fitness adviser Jim Bradley suffered a broken jaw. Richmond players then endured the fury of Bombers’ fans as they walked up the unguarded race, dodging beer cans and pies thrown their way.

The extensive ramifications of the “battle of Windy Hill” were felt both in the tribunal and in the courts. Essendon defender Ron Andrews copped a six-game ban for striking Roberts, while Bradley copped the same punishment for striking Brown. Young Richmond player Stephen Parsons received a four-week ban for striking Bradley and would later have assault charges laid by police dismissed in the Magistrates’ Court. For instigating the brawl, Ashley received a six-week ban, while Brown himself only received one week.

After the incident, the VFL reduced the number of team staff allowed on the ground and forced clubs to provide greater protection for teams as they left the playing field. The league also, not for the last time, reviewed alcohol laws at football venues.

But the inglorious saga didn’t end there. Seven months after the incident, Tigers official Graeme Richmond returned from suspension and successfully overturned a $2000 fine imposed upon him by the VFL. He consequently dropped a Supreme Court writ against the league.

The Windy Hill brawl overshadowed what was a gripping, tight encounter between these long-time rivals. Richmond would eventually run out 10-point winners as Ian Stewart starred with five goals.

BRISBANE 10.12 (72) d FOOTSCRAY 9.17 (71) (Carrara, Round 7 1988)
In this thrilling contest at Carrara, Footscray sharpshooter Simon Beasley missed a set shot after the siren to win the game against the fledgling Bears. With three seconds left on the clock, Beasley took a strong contested mark in the right forward pocket. But not only did Beasley have to contend with an incredibly tight angle – he also was confronted with fans swarming the ground as he went to kick. In farcical scenes, the goal umpire struggled to get a clear view of the ball as Beasley took his shot but missed, condemning to a Dogs to a one-point defeat.

HAWTHORN 25.22 (172) d RICHMOND 14.9 (93) (Waverley, Round 7 1992)
Jason Dunstall certainly enjoyed playing Richmond in 1992. During the season, the Hawthorn legend kicked an incredible 29 goals in two matches against the Tigers. This included an incredible 17-goal performance in round seven, just one goal shy of Fred Fanning’s all-time VFL/AFL record in 1947. In a 79-point demolition at Waverley, Dunstall’s 17 goals beat the previous Hawthorn record of 16 kicked by Peter Hudson in 1969. His return of 17.5 – including 11 goals in the first half – easily accounted for Richmond’s tally of 14.9 (93).

COLLINGWOOD 18.6 (114) d ADELAIDE 16.13 (109) (AAMI Stadium, Round 7 2003)
Chris Tarrant proved a hero in Collingwood’s comeback victory against the Crows at AAMI Stadium, kicking truly after the siren to steer the Pies to a five-point victory. Adelaide led by 23 points nine minutes into the final quarter before the Pies made a spirited comeback, reducing the deficit to only one point. Tarrant then marked 30 metres out on a slight angle as the final siren rang. Against the backdrop of boos from the parochial Adelaide crowd, Tarrant kicked his fourth goal to secure a memorable win.

MELBOURNE 18.14 (122) d WEST COAST 11.7 (73) (MCG, Round 7 2004)
Ashley Sampi reached for the skies and took an absolute screamer against Melbourne in this round seven clash at the MCG.
Brent Staker kicked the ball high into West Coast’s forward 50 when Sampi jumped on the shoulders of Melbourne’s Paul Wheatley and teammate Andrew Embley to take an incredible mark. Sampi used the shoulders below him to catapult himself up so that he was basically standing in mid-air when he took the famous grab.
These theatrics were not enough to prevent West Coast suffering a 49-point defeat, but Sampi was later rewarded with the 2004 Mark of the Year.

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