2009 AFL Grand Final

2009 AFL Grand Final
2009 AFL Grand Final
Grand Final
Result Geelong 12.8 (80) def St Kilda 9.14 (68)
Date 26 September 2009
Norm Smith Medallist Paul Chapman
Jock McHale Medallist Mark Thompson
Crowd 99,251
Stadium Melbourne Cricket Ground
City Melbourne
TV in Australia
Network Network Ten
 < 2008  AFL Grand Final  2010 > 

The 2009 AFL Grand Final was an Australian rules football game contested between the St Kilda Football Club and the Geelong Football Club at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 26 September 2009. It was the 113th annual Grand Final of the Victorian Football League/Australian Football League,[1] staged to determine the premiers for the 2009 AFL season.

The match, attended by 99,251 spectators, was won by Geelong by a margin of 12 points, marking that club's eighth premiership victory.[2] It is remembered as one of the great Grand Finals' in recent memory, due to how close and physical the game was and the sheer brilliance of individual efforts from some of the game's superstars.[3]



St Kilda entered the 2009 premiership season after having lost its preliminary final in 2008 against eventual premiers Hawthorn. The Saints' home-and-away season was outstanding and they won their first 19 games (the longest winning streak in the club's history) before losing consecutive close games in Rounds 20 and 21 against Essendon and North Melbourne. They won their final game and earned the McClelland Trophy for the first time since 1997. Their record of 20-2 is the equal-third most wins of all time, behind the 2008 Cats and the 2000 Bombers. They accounted for fourth-placed Collingwood by 28 points in their qualifying final and won a hard-fought and low scoring preliminary final against the Western Bulldogs by seven points to earn their place in the Grand Final.

Geelong entered the 2009 season after two consecutive minor premierships and two consecutive grand final appearances: a victory against Port Adelaide in the 2007 AFL Grand Final and a loss against Hawthorn in the 2008 AFL Grand Final. They won their four pre-season games to win the NAB Cup and their first 13 home-and-away games. Their first loss came in Round 14 against St Kilda (who at that stage were also undefeated) by six points, with Michael Gardiner kicking the winning goal in the dying minutes for the Saints. Following that loss the Cats entered a form slump, caused in part by several key injuries; their eight games from Rounds 14 to 21 yielded four wins and four losses, but only one of those wins (a 46-point victory against eventual wooden spooners Melbourne) was by a margin greater than one goal. Geelong won their final game comfortably to finish with a record of 18-4. They defeated a fast-finishing Bulldogs team by 14 points in their qualifying final and then comfortably beat Collingwood by 73 points in their preliminary final to advance to the Grand Final.

In the week leading up to the Grand Final, Geelong's Gary Ablett was awarded the Brownlow Medal.

This Grand Final appearance was the sixteenth in Geelong's history and the third in succession, with the club attempting to win its eighth premiership and second in three years. It was sixth Grand Final appearance in St Kilda's history and the first since the 1997 Grand Final, with the club attempting to win its second premiership. Its only flag to date was won 43 years earlier in the 1966 Grand Final.

This was the first time that St Kilda and Geelong had met in a Grand Final. In spite of their respective ladder positions, Geelong entered the game as the favourite team to win amongst most bookmakers.

It was also the first Grand Final to be played since the death of cartoonist William Ellis Green (better known as WEG), who had been drawing victory posters after VFL/AFL Grand Finals since 1954. The posters had been sold after each Grand Final with the proceeds going to the Royal Children's Hospital. Beginning in 2009, the posters were drawn by cartoonist Mark Knight of the Herald Sun.

Pre-match entertainment

Mark Seymour from Australian rock band Hunters and Collectors performed "Holy Grail" on stage, followed by Jimmy Barnes singing "No Second Prize". John Farnham then sang "You're the Voice", joined later by Seymour and Barnes. The premiership cup was brought onto the field twice: once by captains and administrators from football clubs affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires, then later via zip-line by Adelaide Crows champion Mark Ricciuto. The Qantas choir performed "I Still Call Australia Home", and the national anthem was performed a cappella by the cast of Jersey Boys.

Match summary

The Grand Final was played in cold and wet conditions. It had rained heavily the previous night in Melbourne such that the ground was particularly wet around the boundary, and there were also several heavy showers during the game. The highest ambient temperature for the game was only 11.3 °C, the coldest on record for a Grand Final.

First quarter

Geelong started strongly, earning a two-goal advantage after eight minutes, with Max Rooke scoring the opening goal of the game after catching an unaware Raphael Clarke holding the ball. St Kilda then gained the ascendancy in the middle part of the quarter, asserting an advantage in the midfield (partly through the influence of Lenny Hayes who tallied 11 touches and a goal in the first term) and stopping Geelong's rebound. St Kilda failed to convert on the scoreboard due to inaccurate kicking: despite entering the forward 50-metres arc on 14 occasions to Geelong's two during a sustained period of midfield dominance, they scored only 3.2 (20), with Andrew McQualter, Adam Schneider and Stephen Milne all missing easy shots at goal. Joel Selwood scored a late goal to bring the margin back to less than a goal at quarter time.

Second quarter

St Kilda opened the second quarter better, but again missed relatively easy shots at goal from Schneider and Milne. In the middle stages of the quarter, Geelong kicked to a two-goal lead with four consecutive goals, including two goals in just over a minute; the first of these two was a controversial goal scored by Tom Hawkins after a Zac Dawson turnover in the goal-square, which television replays confirmed hit the post. However, the Saints scored three goals in the final two minutes of the quarter to take a six-point lead into half time: Clinton Jones roved a pack to snap a goal from the pocket with about ninety seconds remaining; Justin Koschitzke got his boot to a broken marking contest in the goal square to score a goal with only twelve seconds left; and an angry Darren Milburn, believing (incorrectly, according to replays) that he had touched Koschitzke's kick off the boot, gave away an additional free kick on the goal-line for abusing the goal umpire. This free kick gifted Schneider an easy goal with just five seconds remaining in the half.

Third quarter

The third quarter was an even and lower-scoring contest. There were many stoppages, much congestion and very little opportunity for scoring by either side. Geelong's Cameron Mooney goaled seven minutes into the quarter, while Saints' captain Nick Riewoldt answered with a goal from a close set shot only two minutes later. After a goal to Paul Chapman in the nineteenth minute, the scores were tied at 58 apiece, and remained tied for more than ten minutes. The deadlock was broken by the Saints' Leigh Montagna, who goaled with less than ninety seconds left in the quarter from a Steven King hit-out from a boundary throw-in in the Saints' forward pocket. St Kilda entered the three quarter time break with a seven point lead.

Fourth quarter

Geelong scored a goal through Hawkins in the second minute of the final quarter to bring the margin back to a single point. The 21 minutes that followed would yield only five behinds: the first two to St Kilda, and the next three to Geelong, tying the scores at 67 apiece.

At the 24 minute mark of the final quarter,[4] with less than five minutes of play remaining,[5][6] Geelong's Steve Johnson had the ball in defense and kicked the ball towards Ablett, who had found space in the midfield.[6] St Kilda's Zac Dawson had left his opponent Cameron Mooney and run a considerable distance from his own defense[7] and managed to spoil the kick, and the ball fell to Scarlett, who had also run a long way from his own defensive area.[8] Scarlett, with his right foot, kicked the ball out of midair to Ablett,[6][9] who had continued to run forward.[10] Ablett then kicked the ball long to Geelong's goal square, where several players contested for the ball.[10] After receiving the ball from teammate Shannon Byrnes, Geelong forward Travis Varcoe managed to handball to Chapman, who kicked a left-foot goal past St Kilda's Jason Blake's outstretched hands.[6][9]

Had Dawson's spoil not gone directly to Scarlett, St Kilda would have been able to gain possession and go forward into attack themselves.[7] After the game, Matthew Scarlett stated that his toe poke was a lucky kick.[11]

A subsequent behind to Rooke in the 27th minute put the Cats seven points ahead, and a rushed behind to the Saints in the 29th minute brought the margin back to one goal. Kicking in from the behind, the Cats went to a contest 50m from goal where a strong mark was taken by Harry Taylor. From there, the Cats were in the process of moving the ball forward when the final siren sounded. An after-the-siren goal from Rooke extended the margin to twelve points.[10] Most crucially, St Kilda was held goalless during the final quarter.

St Kilda became the first team to lose a Grand Final from a three-quarter time lead since Hawthorn in 1984. Geelong became the first team to ever win a Grand Final after losing the first three quarters.

Norm Smith Medal

Paul Chapman was awarded the Norm Smith Medal for his three goals and 26 possessions, despite sustaining a slight hamstring injury in the first quarter. Chapman received nine of a possible fifteen votes to win the medal. St Kilda's Jason Gram finished second for the medal, also polling nine votes, but losing to Chapman on a countback (Chapman received three votes from three of the five judges, while Gram received three votes from only one judge). Geelong's Taylor (who received three votes from the fifth judge) finished third, while Rooke, Gary Ablett, Jr., Jimmy Bartel, Milburn and Joel Corey also polled votes.

General summary

Chapman, Rooke, Milburn, Ablett, Bartel and Taylor were all excellent for Geelong. Taylor, in particular, was lauded for restricting dangerous Saints forward Riewoldt to just one goal. Contributing strongly for the Saints were Hayes, Gram, Luke Ball, Jones, Montagna, Steven Baker and Brendon Goddard; Goddard continued playing with a broken nose and a fractured collarbone, sustained in separate incidents during the game.

It was an extremely close game throughout: twelve points was the greatest margin at any stage of the game (Geelong's lead late in the second quarter, and the final margin). There was a very high number of tackles laid during the game, although it should be noted that wet conditions are always conducive to high tackle counts: St Kilda's 118 tackles is the highest on record for any team in any game, the combined total of 214 tackles is the second highest on record, and Bartel's 16 tackles represented the equal-highest personal tally on record.

In general play, St Kilda throughout the first half earned 31 inside-50s to Geelong's 15, and was consistently able to stop Geelong's rebound through the middle. However, as noted above, they did waste many of their inside-50s by missing relatively easy shots on goal and were unable to defend the fewer entries by Geelong. In the second half, general play was much more even but Geelong had the better of the inside-50s and clearances, and were better able to break through St Kilda's rebound defense. This attribute ultimately accounted for Geelong's triumph.[12] Geelong also became the first side since Essendon in 2000 to win both the pre-season premiership and the regular season premiership in the same season.


Grand Final
26 September, 2:30pm St Kilda def. by Geelong MCG (Crowd: 99,251)
3.2 (20)
7.7 (49)
9.11 (65)
9.14 (68)
3.0 (18)
7.1 (43)
9.4 (58)
12.8 (80)
Umpires: Stephen McBurney (3), Brett Rosebury (8), Shaun Ryan (25)
Norm Smith Medal: Paul Chapman (Geelong)
Television broadcast: Network Ten
National Anthem: Jersey Boys
Schneider 2, Goddard, Hayes, Dempster, Jones, Koschitzke, Riewoldt, Montagna Goals Chapman 3, Mooney 2, Hawkins 2, Rooke 2, Selwood, Byrnes, Ablett
Gram, Hayes, Ball, Jones, Montagna, Baker, Goddard Best Chapman, Rooke, Milburn, Taylor, Selwood, Ablett, Corey, Bartel, Ling, Scarlett
Goddard (broken nose/collarbone), Riewoldt (Torn adductor muscle) Injuries Paul Chapman (hamstring), Harry Taylor (broken hand)
Nil Reports Nil.
  • Geelong won the toss and chose to kick to the City End.


St Kilda
B: 27 Jason Blake 43 Zac Dawson 10 Steven Baker
HB: 18 Brendon Goddard 25 Samuel Fisher 19 Sam Gilbert
C: 22 Farren Ray 7 Lenny Hayes 26 Nick Dal Santo
HF: 32 Andrew McQualter 23 Justin Koschitzke 38 Clinton Jones
F: 44 Stephen Milne 12Nick Riewoldt (c) 1 Jason Gram
Foll: 2 Steven King 11 Leigh Montagna 13 Adam Schneider
Int: 14 Luke Ball 16 Raphael Clarke 24 Sean Dempster
15 Michael Gardiner
Coach: Ross Lyon

B: 39 Darren Milburn 30 Matthew Scarlett 44 Corey Enright
HB: 4 Andrew Mackie 7 Harry Taylor 2 Tom Harley (c)
C: 11 Joel Corey 45 Cameron Ling 9 James Kelly
HF: 3 Jimmy Bartel 21 Cameron Mooney 5 Travis Varcoe
F: 20 Steve Johnson 26 Tom Hawkins 35 Paul Chapman
Foll: 24 Mark Blake 14 Joel Selwood 29 Gary Ablett
Int: 6 Brad Ottens 17 Shannon Byrnes 33 Max Rooke
40 David Wojcinski
Coach: Mark Thompson


See also

  • 2009 AFL finals series
  • 2009 AFL season


  1. ^ In 1897 and 1924 there were no Grand Finals and instead the premier was decided by a finals play-off. In 1948 and 1977 there were Grand Final replays after initial draws.
  2. ^ "Geelong wins second AFL flag in three years". The Australian. 2009-09-26. Archived from the original on 19 October 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/62YP2Dxbf. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  3. ^ Geelong defeat St Kilda by 12 points in thrilling AFL grand final
  4. ^ McAsey, Jenny (2009-09-28). "Mid-year summit that landed Geelong a flag". The Australian. Archived from the original on 19 October 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/62YOynI48. Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  5. ^ Broad, Ben (2009-09-26). "Scarlett's lucky toe-poke". AFL.com. http://www.afl.com.au/tabid/208/default.aspx?newsid=85381. Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  6. ^ a b c d Connolly, Rohan (2009-09-27). "Stab of brilliance decides thriller". The Age. http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2009/09/26/1253813654657.html. Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  7. ^ a b Ralph, Jon (2010-09-18). "Zac Dawson and forth". The Daily Telegraph. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/afl/zac-dawson-and-forth/story-e6frexx0-1225925578116. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  8. ^ "Great grand final - and an even better fence". Sydney Morning Herald. 2009-09-27. http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/blogs/episodes/great-grand-final--and-an-even-better-fence/20090927-g7sp.html. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  9. ^ a b Niall, Jake (2010-06-25). "'You can't replicate the pain of losing a grand final until you've lost one'". Sydney Morning Herald. http://www.smh.com.au/afl/afl-news/you-cant-replicate-the-pain-of-losing-a-grand-final-until-youve-lost-one-20100624-z3le.html. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  10. ^ a b c Barrett, Damian (2009-12-30). "Year of the super poke". Herald Sun. http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sport/afl/year-of-the-super-poke/story-e6freck3-1225814814790. Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  11. ^ Brodie, Will (2009-09-28). "Scarlett goes blonde in celebration". The Age. http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2009/09/28/1253989861799.html. Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  12. ^ "Cats the last ones standing in epic battle". AFL.com. 2009-09-26. Archived from the original on 2009-10-01. http://www.afl.com.au/news/newsarticle/tabid/208/newsid/85368/default.aspx. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 
  13. ^ a b Pos'ns stands for Possessions.

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