JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.



Fans witness a great heist on grand final day

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Epic Grand Final one of the all time greats

Fresh from a heart stopping AFL Grand Final AGE footy writers Rohan Connolly and Martin Flanagan reflect on Sydney's epic 10 point win over Hawthorn.

PT0M0S 620 349

MOST premierships are foregone conclusions by the time living minutes become dying seconds in the twilight of grand final day. Many are anti-climactic and usually the short-priced favourite gets up. Not yesterday. Not when the Swans won their fifth premiership in what history will recall as the football heist of 2012, a classic grand final and one of the most dramatic afternoons ever staged on the MCG.

With less than one minute remaining the ground that had hosted a wildly fluctuating game, it truly resembled a battlefield — a struggle witnessed by 99,683. The forehead of Hawthorn’s spent captain Luke Hodge was bleeding — again — and Adam Goodes and Lewis Jetta were limping and seemingly out of miracles. Shane Mumford had succumbed to the fragile hamstring he had brought into the game.

Sydney led by four points but Hawthorn looked every measure the likely winner. Runners from both teams stood on the ground wildly gesticulating to their warriors. The final quarter had seen young Alex Johnson almost break his hand in a smother on Brad Sewell, the twice rejected Mitch Morton take on two Hawthorn defenders and beat them and Martin Mattner  taking on the dangerous Grant Birchall.

Winning way: Heath Grundy and Ted Richards celebrate the win.

Winning way: Heath Grundy and Ted Richards celebrate the win. Photo: Joe Armao

Then, fittingly for the Swans, from a stoppage in front of goal the brilliant  Daniel Hannebery somehow released a handball to Nick Malceski who in turn kicked across his body for the goal that won the premiership. Sydney led by 10 points, there were 34 seconds left and every statistic barring the scoreboard pointed to a Hawk victory.

The reaction from both teams after final siren sounded seemed more heightened than usual. The vanquished Hawks lay splattered and motionless across the oval with the team’s heroic forward  Lance Franklin seemingly frozen in shock. Franklin is the game’s true rock star and he seemed headed for a Norm Smith medal when he kicked for a goal earlier in the final quarter that would have put Hawthorn 17 points up. Franklin finished with three goals from eight scoring shots.
The medal went not to one of Sydney’s talented quartet of Old Xaverians — although Hannebery came close — but the veteran Ryan O’Keefe from the neighbouring St Kevin’s College. O’Keefe turns 32 in January and was one of four Swans from yesterday’s team who played in the equally heart-stopping but notably dour victorious contest of 2005. O’Keefe was pivotal yesterday, particularly in the second quarter when the Swans came from 19 points down to kick six straight to  Hawthorn’s nil.

O’Keefe plays each week with a black armband in memory of the younger brother he lost early in his AFL career to a car accident. From the premiership dais he instructed: ‘‘To my boys, all my brothers: run amok!’’  Swans captain  Jarrad McVeigh found his brother Mark in the crowd to embrace him before poignantly greeting his wife, Clementine, and their baby daughter in the race.

Up for the cup: Jarrad McVeigh and Jude Bolton celebrate.

Up for the cup: Jarrad McVeigh and Jude Bolton celebrate. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

‘‘This is going to be the best month of our lives,’’ said McVeigh, before holding aloft the premiership cup. Kieren Jack, who boasts a rugby league pedigree but who fell in love with Australian rules, danced around the boundary line in designer sunglasses and threatened: ‘‘Sydney won’t know what has hit it.’’ Only briefly did Hawthorn’s legendary father figure John Kennedy leave his devastated Hawk camp to cross the white line to congratulate his grandson Josh. Between them three generations of Kennedys now boast eight coaching or playing flags.
Seven years ago, Paul Roos dedicated the flag to the South Melbourne supporters who had been waiting for 72 years. Yesterday, the former coach stood grinning behind the players as his apprentice John Longmire acknowledged the losers, as well as both the South Melbourne and Sydney variety of Swans. And to his mother, who lost her battle with cancer midway through the season, Longmire said: ‘‘Mum, I hope you enjoyed the game.’’

Alastair Clarkson  likened the battle to ‘‘Nadal versus Federer — heavyweights having a crack at one another’’, but attempted to make some sense of the havoc wreaked upon his team described by most experts as the best of 2012. ‘‘At the end of the day it still is the theatre of sport and you have to deal with those emotions. It is not anywhere near the loss of something like what happened to Jill Meagher last week or a brother-in-law that I lost this year through cancer ... or what happened to Jarrad McVeigh’s daughter last year. You have to keep these things in perspective.’’

The shattered but eloquent Hodge described life as a footballer as a rollercoaster existence — an existence symbolised in the drama of yesterday’s clash. ‘‘I know the group we’ve got and we’ll be back next year,’’ he promised his equally stunned supporters. ‘‘We’ll be back bigger than ever.’’ Just as Collingwood one year earlier had qualified for a grand final in heart-stopping circumstances and then lost, Hawthorn did the same. The result was eerily reminiscent, too, of the Hawks’ 2008 win over Geelong, a win which seemed wrong on every statistical level.
But inside 50s and centre clearances could not match what Longmire summed up as his side’s ‘‘never-say-die’’ attitude. ‘‘It’s a great attitude to have boys, and you did it today. Well done.’’ In an historic context, perhaps this clash deserves a place beside the 1970 grand final — a classic also decided by 10 points.’’

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson with Andrew Demetriou after the loss to Sydney.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson with Andrew Demetriou after the loss to Sydney. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

In a wider context it is worth noting that the octogenarian Rupert Murdoch yesterday witnessed his first VFL or AFL grand final, the country’s first woman Prime Minster (on her birthday) congratulated the game’s first woman grand final umpire. In his pre-match address the game’s chairman, Mike Fitzpatrick — aside from taking a pot shot  at his CEO Andrew Demetriou for his lengthy absence this year — acknowledged the ABC chief Mark Scott and the pain his organisation had suffered in recent days.

The vanquished Clarkson also attempted to place yesterday’s upset in the context of true tragedy. But in the context of sport his club will believe it blew an opportunity to become perhaps the greatest of the modern era.

Deep down, too, the Hawks will rue those six  missed shots at goal from 40 metres or less. And even deeper they might just resent the AFL a little for a botched set of stadium agreements that forced the competition’s top home-and-away team to enter a grand final at a one-day disadvantage.

Not that the Hawks would say that publicly because few could deny the magnificent story of the ugly ducklings of South Melbourne who limped away from their lakeside home in 1982 and somehow became one of the competition’s most admired and successful teams.

Related Coverage

Epic Grand Final one for the ages (Thumbnail) Epic Grand Final one of the all time greats

Fresh from a heart stopping AFL Grand Final AGE footy writers Rohan Connolly and Martin Flanagan reflect on Sydney's epic 10 point win over Hawthorn.

Front & Centre: Celebrations in Sydney, recriminations at Hawthorn (Thumbnail) Front & Centre: Celebrations in Sydney, recriminations at Hawthorn

AGE footy writers Caroline Wilson and Martin Blake cast their eyes over the epic Grand Final victory by Sydney over Hawthorn.

Spirit of the Bloods leads to premiership

The Sydney Swans will never know how they won this premiership, except that it is the way they always win.

Gutsiest win was a true epic

Has there been a better grand final? Arguably not. Has there been a gutsier win than Sydney's 10-point triumph over a warm favourite? While we're still smitten in the afterglow of an absolute epic, it's hard to think of one.

Celebrations continue for Swans

The celebrations are continuing for AFL premiers Sydney, with the team meeting fans in Melbourne before flying home.

Related Coverage

HuffPost Australia

AFL 2016

Round 1
Thu, 24 MarTimes shown AEDT
RIC vs CAR 19:20MCG
Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
MEL vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
NTH vs ADE 19:25ES
SYD vs COL 19:25ANZ
Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
PTA vs STK 15:20Adelaide Oval
WCE vs BRI 19:40Domain Stadium
Mon, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
GEE vs HAW 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
COL vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs PTA 13:45Adelaide Oval
ESS vs MEL 14:10MCG
BRI vs NTH 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:25ES
FRE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:10SO
HAW vs WCE 15:20MCG
CAR vs SYD 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
PTA vs ESS 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs COL 13:45MCG
RIC vs ADE 14:10ES
SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
GCF vs CAR 19:25MS
WCE vs FRE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
NTH vs MEL 13:10BA
WBU vs HAW 15:20ES
GEE vs BRI 16:40SS
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
ESS vs GEE 13:45MCG
HAW vs STK 14:10AS
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
CAR vs WBU 19:25ES
ADE vs SYD 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS vs PTA 13:10SO
COL vs MEL 15:20MCG
NTH vs FRE 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ADE 19:50MCG
Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD vs WCE 13:40SCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs BRI 19:25ES
PTA vs GEE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs GWS 13:10ES
FRE vs CAR 16:10Domain Stadium
MEL vs RIC 19:10MCG
Mon, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
NTH vs WBU 19:50ES
Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
MEL vs STK 13:45ES
ADE vs FRE 14:10Adelaide Oval
GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
RIC vs PTA 19:25MCG
GEE vs GCF 19:25SS
Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs SYD 13:10G
CAR vs ESS 15:20MCG
WCE vs COL 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
GEE vs WCE 14:10SS
SYD vs ESS 16:35ANZ
GCF vs MEL 17:10MS
WBU vs ADE 19:40ES
FRE vs GWS 20:10Domain Stadium
Sun, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
STK vs NTH 15:20ES
PTA vs BRI 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs NTH 13:45ES
HAW vs FRE 14:10AS
GWS vs GCF 16:35Spotless Stadium
BRI vs COL 19:25G
RIC vs SYD 19:25MCG
Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs PTA 13:10ES
MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
WCE vs STK 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW vs SYD 19:50MCG
Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs GEE 13:45MCG
GCF vs ADE 14:10MS
PTA vs WCE 16:35Adelaide Oval
NTH vs CAR 19:25ES
FRE vs RIC 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
GWS vs WBU 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK vs ESS 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD vs NTH 19:50SCG
Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs HAW 13:45G
MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
STK vs FRE 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:25MCG
ADE vs GWS 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs GEE 13:10ES
COL vs WBU 15:20MCG
WCE vs GCF 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
NTH vs RIC 19:50BA
Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs MEL 13:45MCG
CAR vs BRI 14:10ES
GEE vs GWS 16:35SS
GCF vs SYD 19:25MS
FRE vs ESS 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs PTA 13:10MCG
WBU vs WCE 15:20ES
ADE vs STK 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
ESS vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs WBU 13:40Adelaide Oval
BRI vs FRE 16:35G
GEE vs NTH 19:25ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
STK vs CAR 13:10ES
RIC vs GCF 15:20MCG
GWS vs SYD 16:40Spotless Stadium
Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 17 JunTimes shown AEST
NTH vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs WCE 13:40G
FRE vs PTA 16:35Domain Stadium
WBU vs GEE 19:25ES
Sun, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs MEL 13:10SCG
ESS vs GWS 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs NTH 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 24 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs FRE 19:50MCG
Sat, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC vs BRI 13:40MCG
GWS vs CAR 16:35Spotless Stadium
STK vs GEE 19:25ES
Sun, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GCF 15:20AS
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
WCE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
GCF vs STK 13:40MS
SYD vs WBU 16:35SCG
CAR vs COL 19:25MCG
Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs ADE 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Thu, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs SYD 19:50SS
Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs COL 13:40Spotless Stadium
GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
WBU vs RIC 19:25ES
MEL vs FRE 19:40TIO
Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:10MCG
WCE vs NTH 15:20Domain Stadium
ESS vs STK 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Thu, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs HAW 19:20SCG
Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
FRE vs GEE 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs ESS 13:40MCG
NTH vs PTA 16:35ES
WBU vs GCF 19:25CAZ
ADE vs COL 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs WCE 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 15:20ES
BRI vs GWS 16:40G
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs NTH 19:50ES
Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CAR 13:45ANZ
GCF vs FRE 14:10MS
WCE vs MEL 16:35Domain Stadium
WBU vs STK 19:25ES
GEE vs ADE 19:25SS
Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
HAW vs RIC 15:20MCG
PTA vs GWS 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 19:50SS
Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs RIC 13:45SO
HAW vs CAR 14:10AS
COL vs WCE 16:35MCG
BRI vs PTA 19:25G
NTH vs STK 19:25ES
Sun, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs GCF 13:10MCG
FRE vs SYD 15:20Domain Stadium
ADE vs ESS 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 05 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 13:45SCG
MEL vs HAW 14:10MCG
GCF vs GWS 16:35MS
WBU vs NTH 19:25ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR vs STK 13:10MCG
GEE vs ESS 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 12 AugTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 19:50ES
Sat, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CAR 13:45G
HAW vs NTH 14:10MCG
GWS vs WCE 16:35Spotless Stadium
STK vs SYD 19:25ES
PTA vs MEL 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs GCF 13:10ES
RIC vs GEE 15:20MCG
FRE vs ADE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
WCE vs HAW 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs SYD 13:45BA
RIC vs STK 14:10MCG
GWS vs FRE 16:35Spotless Stadium
COL vs GCF 19:25ES
PTA vs ADE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR vs MEL 13:10MCG
BRI vs GEE 15:20G
ESS vs WBU 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Sat, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs COL 12:00MCG
STK vs BRI 12:00ES
ESS vs CAR 12:00MCG
GCF vs PTA 12:00MS
SYD vs RIC 12:00SCG
NTH vs GWS 12:00ES
GEE vs MEL 12:00SS
ADE vs WCE 12:30Adelaide Oval
FRE vs WBU 14:00Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Adelaide Crows 0 0 0 0 - 0
Brisbane Lions 0 0 0 0 - 0
Carlton 0 0 0 0 - 0
Collingwood 0 0 0 0 - 0
Essendon 0 0 0 0 - 0
Fremantle 0 0 0 0 - 0
Geelong Cats 0 0 0 0 - 0
Gold Coast Suns 0 0 0 0 - 0
View all
 

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers