General footy writing: The speccie revisited

By John Harms

You only have to be in a crowd, big or small, at the MCG or way out in the bush, to know the significance of the speccie. We take it for granted. But consider the response of people at the instant the footballer is high on an opponent’s (or teammate’s shoulder). And as he takes the screamer. And as he comes down. Consider the response of footballers as well. I’ve played in a game for Adelaide Lutheran when a Pulteney Old Scholars’s bloke took an Almost Footy Legends speccie that stopped the game while we all just clapped and started talking to each other.  It’s great to be part of; great to have seen such hangers. Memorable.

The speccie stops us. We have chosen to put our ordinary lives on hold to be at the football. But then we are stopped even further by the moment of brilliance, when a player is higher then high, impossibly high; a moment which has us all laugh-clapping and shaking our heads and looking at each other for a reaction.

If we’re just considering the speccies seen live, I’ve been pretty lucky. Having watched much of my footy at the Gabba I saw Daryl White take them routinely. Simply. One day against North there were three species in just a few minutes. White took a stock-standard high mark: knees in the centre of the back, propelled upwards, clutching the pill at the apex. Then Gilbert McAdam took off like a high jumper and grabbed a screamer. And not to be outdone Whitey went up early (at centre half back if you don’t mind – and it may have even been over King Carey), got there too early, wrapped both legs around his opponent’s head, sat there, and plucked the footy. The overwhelming response from people was laughter. We were laughing at the skill, the audacity, the ingenuity, the unlikeliness, the originality. Brilliant.

The Gabba is good for the specie. Firm surface to launch from. Usually dry, except for the occasional evening dew. Rarely much breeze until the westerlies come in mid-August.

Leper loved species, especially when he played up forward. Although he did try to persuade Leigh Matthews of a new kick-in tactic after a behind. Lethal used to ring Leper from time to time to discuss ideas and possibilities. One time Leper had an idea for him. Leper reckons that the specie is impossible to defend. So when he was playing centre half back he suggested to Lethal that Chris Johnson popped the ball up, a 40 metre chip, sitting it right on an opponent’s head. Leper would have the sit. Fly. Speccie. Hit the ground running. Where’s Nige? We’re away.

Lethal wasn’t keen.

But the best mark at the Gabba has its place in folklore. I was there.

I reckon it was a Friday night match. The final round of the 1995 season. The Bears were on the march. They’d won about six out of season and my brother Sparow and I had watched them play brilliant footy against Essendon and Richmond.

We had missed out on tickets to the Melbourne match. It was sold out very quickly on the Monday. Come Friday, after a game of golf and a few beers, I didn’t want to miss out. So we headed off to the Gabba to see whether we could get in.

Sparrow drops me off at the Stanley St entrance. Most people are already inside as the match is just about to start. I walk over to the security zombie at the turnstiles. He tells me the game’s sold out. I ask in a voice which is far too loud, “Mate, what do I need to do to get you to let me in? How ‘bout ten bucks.”

He leans forward and says, “You idiot. That’s my boss standing just there.” He nods towards the general of all security zombies. But then he whispers conspiratorially, “Why don’t you go around to the Main St gate.”

I do. There are two security zombies in the darkness at Main St. There’s no-one else around. I say to one, “Mate, will you let me in for $20?”

He looks at his colleague. “Hey Bruce, is that an unused ticket I can see in the bin over there?”

“Yeah, it is,” Bruce replies.

He lets me through but I tell him I need another ticket for Sparrow who is just wandering up having snagged a lucky park. “Hey Bruce,” he says. “Is that another unused ticket I can see in the bin over there.”

We are in. I just have to pay. I hand the zombie a $50 note. He looks at me and shakes his head, “Do you reckon I’ve got change?”

We look at each other. “This is what we’re doing,” he says. “You go to that van and buy something. Leave the change on the counter.”

The deal is done and I walk away with a carton of chips.

The match is a few minutes old, as we make our way to the Hill which is in its shrinking years as the various stages of redevelopment are implemented. We’re up the back near the Karen Pini Bar (that’s another story) and it’s so packed we can’t see the goal square or the goal umpire or any of the players in that area. Not long after we’re there the ball is lobbed into the square, out of sight. Suddenly a body appears above the crowd. It is Shaun Smith taking one of the greatest marks of all time.

Sensational. The Bears won. And then took it up to Carlton at the MCG the following week.

In the dying minutes of that final, Roger Merrett, in his last game took a speccie himself.

I was there for that one as well.

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and footyalmanac.com.au He has written many columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf’s Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV’s Offsiders.

He can be contacted j.t.h@footyalmanac.com.au

He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids – Theo9, Anna8, Evie6.

He might not be the worst putter in the world but he’s in the worst three.

His ambition is to lunch for Australia.

Comments

  1. As a Saints fan, one mark rises above the pack – Trevor Barker on the wing at the Lakeside Oval v South. It was notable for a few reasons:

    a) the majestic grace and timing of the rise, sit, grab and dismount, surpasses all that came before it and since. Many players these days appear to be in shock in the realisation that they are off the ground, and could be contravening team rules by being spectacular
    b) the single act gave Saints fans hope that we could be daring, brilliant and competitive. It was a ray of light in a darkened corridor that stretched for a decade beyond many closed doors; that we could rise above the mire and succeed
    c) That Channel 7 bothered to send cameras to a Saints game and even used the grab in its promotional footage

    Of all the Bark’s marks, this was the one.

  2. David Enticott says:

    Best Five of All Time.

    1.Jezza: 1970 Grand Final v Collingwood.
    2.Gary Ablett: MCG v Collingwood (1995- I think)
    3.Gary Ablett: MCG v Melbourne 1989 1st Semi Final.
    4.Chris Tarrant: MCG v Melbourne (2002)
    5.Phil Baker: 1978 Grand Final v Hawthorn

    Best mark I’ve seen live . . . difficult to narrow it down to one. Steve Silvagni Carlton v Collingwood 1988 was incredible. But the best was Tarrant’s versus Melbourne 2002 . . . he had one or two blokes holding onto his jumper and still managed to rise above the pack.

  3. I think a beardless Michael Tuck’s effort in sitting on somebody or other’s head in the mid 80s at Waverley should be remembered in bronze. it was a spectacularly high mark, as high and as miraculously twisting as Gazza’s on Pert with the added bonus that he held it. If they do make a Tucky statue next to that wellington road goalsquare, it will distinguish the front yard of one of those god-awful apartment squares from its replicant brothers and sisters.

    The other four in order:

    (2) gazza’s on Pert (particularly becasue it’s good to see anyone involved at Austereo get a knee in the back of the head)

    (3) Jesaulenko, you beauty! (the commentary and circumstnace gave it an extra half yard of height, but who cares)

    (4) Riewoldt diving to his death against Sydney. The bravest non Ken-Hunter-performed act ever produced on a football field.

    (5) Shaun Smith’s skyscraper at the Gabba. I love the reverse angle, which gives you the eerie backdrop of a building site against a guy 17 feet in the air.

  4. I’ll show my bias…

    No.1 for me is Al Lynch’s wonderous one at the MCG against North in 1989, winning Mark of the Year. Rising from the centre of the pack, he perched there, a full half body length above everyone else, then marked the ball on the chest. Enormous, beautifully so. Still have the newspaper photo of it, a bit yellowed but still able to throw me back 20 years to that day and that moment.

    No.2 and No. 3 are Chris Johnson bewdies, one in the ‘Centenary Round’ of 1996 against Carlton at PP on the Hawthorn Stand wing, the other against Port in the centre of the ground in either the 2001 or 2002 Finals (apologies – there were far too many Finals for the Lions around then!)

    No.4 is Shaun Smith’s effort in 1995 at the Gabba. Efforts like this make Aussie Rules so easy to love and adore…

    No.5 is Garry Morcroft’s freakish effort in 2001 at Docklands against the Doggies. The way he twisted back to grab the ball! ‘Mark of the Year’ I think?

  5. Steve Healy says:

    These are my 5 favourites:

    1. Shaun Smith, 1995 (Great timing, clean grab and as high as any player has ever risen.)

    2. Gary Moorcroft, 2001

    3. Ashley Sampi, 2004

    4. Brett Allison, 1991

    5. Adem Yze, 2006

  6. Pamela Sherpa says:

    1. Jezza’s beauty

    2. Winston Abraham at Manuka Oval

    3 .Carey- any/all of his great pack marks

    4. Ablett senior- his one handers

    5. Gary Morecroft

  7. I think I could come back every day with a different top 5 but off the top of my head:

    1. Shaun Smith’s. In addition to Tony’s comment above, I also remember that the reverse angle Channel 7 shot had camera flash going off right behind the ball at the moment he took the mark. It made it almost angelic.

    2. Brett Allison’s classic on the shoulders of Gavin Crosisca at the ‘G in ’91.

    3. Billy Picken in the ’79 Grand Final. I was in the old concrete standing room area at the Western end (U section I think the ticket said!) and he took a beauty over the pack right in front of us. From memory it was in the last quarter too and almost saved the game for Collingwood. Not sure if it was before or after the Harmes moment though.

    4. One they used to show going to (or coming back from) the ad break on the Sunday Footy show years ago. It was John Longmire rising above a big pack at full forward, and smashing side-on into the goal post as he took it.

    5. Trevor Barker’s at the Lake Oval. The Channel 7 cameras that were there were the ground level ones which gave this one a better angle. (Remember how 7 used to cover three games for Saturday’s Big League and have crappy footage of the other three games on World of Sport the next day?)

    6. Sorry, can’t count. And can’t leave out Matthew Robbins one-hander while riding a pack at Telstra Dome against the Lions a few years back.

    There have been some great “hospital” marks too. Heaps by Riewoldt, a couple of beauties just this year by Ben Hudson against North and I remember Blake Caracella (I think) camped under one for ages for Essendon against Geelong. He got absolutely pole-axed but did not flinch in taking the mark.

  8. tonyreed says:

    The one that stands out in my lifetime is Jezza’s ‘you beauty’ grandfinal mark in 1970. I think the blues could use him now.

    Second, is Ablett snr’s mark over Pert on Mother’s day 1994. Nice form that.

    3. Steve Silvagni against collingwood at a huge game at the MCG in the 1990s.

    4. Michael Roach’s huge chest mark of the year in the 1980s

    5. Anything from Plugger at Moorrabin.

  9. Top 5. Who is this? Nick Hornby?
    Not many saw my favs and my memory stencil is probably not accurate anyway.
    I went to the SANFL and, at the Bay, Cornesy took at least on graceful speccy every week as we drooled from our illegal ledge on the edge of the new-ish stand. But I do remember one day (and it must have been later as my focus now is from the scoreboard pocket looking back to the Stand) when G. Cornes leapt as usual and Norwood’s No 9 (?) jumped straight over the top of him, landing on his feet. I loved Fabulous Phil Carman from then onwards!
    Also, a prolific goalkicker called Ken Whelan used to take regular hangers for Sturt. SANFL “Seconds” footy was televised live ( a great “taster” for youngsters) and he kicked bagsful before succeeding Malcolm Greenslade (of VFL speccy trivia) as spearhead.
    Before I fled Adelaide, Westies’ Roger Luders, good bloke and ordinary punter, was capitalising on the slower pace and smaller grounds to make outrageous leaps and kick bounties.

  10. Some I saw.
    “Long Bombs to the Snake” was a great grab.
    Jezza for VFL v WAFL @ Adelaide Oval in ’69 Carnival (over Eakins?).
    Never rated Gazza’s strangulation. Illegal and clumsy.
    Similarly thought Essendon’s bloke’s reverse pike over a Doggy was dramatic more than notable.
    I still shudder at Duck and Browny’s repeated grabs running blindly against the flow.

  11. Peter Flynn says:

    Not an easy task this.
    I have excluded photographs (e.g. J Dugdale, M Hobbs, J Coleman, B Pratt etc) from my considerations.

    (1) Shaun Smith v Brisbane. Scary to think and almost impossible to believe how high he got.

    (2) Brad Ottens v Sydney at Homebush. Amazing lift and impressive hang time.

    (3) Ashley Sampi v Melbourne. Classical mark. Great ride and a well-balanced soft landing.

    (4) Michael Mitchell v Subiaco. Amazing leap and took the mark standing vertical on his Subiaco stepladder.

    (5) Alex Jesaulenko v Collingwood in the 1970 GF. Mention must be made of Williamson’s commentary and Jerker’s underrated role as the perfect stepladder. Taken late in the 2nd quarter.

    Honourable mentions:
    M Roach, B Allison, G Moorcroft, A Modra, Snake Baker, D Wade, R Hart, N Winmar, Steve Silvagni and T Barker

    Hard to assess:
    L Barry

    Best compilation album:
    Ablett Snr taking umpteen speccies as part of a compilation tape that used to be shown before every home game at the Sawyer’s Arms.

  12. johnharms says:

    Peter

    At a share house in Toowong, Brisbane, we had a cat called Ablett, inherited May 3, 1989, aged about 6 weeks. We taught her to leap by hanging a bow-tie shaped piece of newspaper off a high door handle. It would flutter in the breeze as she walked past and her instinct would take over. She would just leap, ridiculously high, and grab it in her front paws. It was de rigueur that at this point you yelled “Ablett”. However one of the residents would always yell “Allison”. The same (wonderful) woman would hum-sing “we’re a happy team at Hawthorn” all through that summer even though I’m not sure she knew who Hawthorn were.

    JTH

  13. Anne Fed says:

    How about Nick Gill’s screamer last year against the Bulldogs? Was clearly robbed of MOTY….

    “Gill absolutely charged over the back of Bulldog Brad Johnson, and managed to get his knees up around Johnson’s ears. His football instincts then kicked in as he pushed off with his knees to propel himself even higher to the heavens, his hands reaching all the way above his head, to claim a magnificent mark in testing conditions. ”

    “I love the fact that when someone takes a screamer, not matter how far away you are sitting, you see a body rise above everyone else, on a whole other level and it’s even better when they finish off with a goal. Perhaps Gill will work on that factor next time!”

    Brett ‘Birdman’ Burton’s mark last year against the Dees in Round 8 is another favourite of mine. He finished behind Lloyd and Gill for MOTY.

    “You could tell it was going to happen. Luke Jericho marked just outside fifty on the member’s side of AAMI Stadium. My eyes quickly adverted to the goal face to see who was there, to see who was going to make the lead. Burton circled like a bird eyeing off his prey; he ran behind his opponent and directed Jericho to the top of the goal square. Jericho sent the ball high in the air, a perfect kick for the ‘Birdman’. Burton’s eyes found it in the air, he propelled himself forward, leaping onto the shoulders of his stepladder, I mean, opponent. The crowd rose with him. ‘Burton!!’ Came the cry, he got it alright and finished up with a goal.”

  14. Crio, I think you’re a bit hard on Moorcroft. That mark was right in front of us and was incredible.

    Peter F, I do remember seeing the Michael Mitchell one on TV – it WAS amazing.

  15. I don’t want to try to rank them as I don’t think it’s possible for me. Five of the best:

    Gary Ablett – 1989 Semi Final
    Tony Modra, 1993 at AAMI Stadium
    Gary Ablett – 1994 v Collingwood over Pert
    Shaun Smith Melbourne, 1995 (or 1996) against Bears (‘member them?) at GABBA
    Paul Chapman, 2007 Grand Final

    Ablett Senior.. too many others to mention, he took a great grab in 1993 v Essendon (when he kicked 14), and many others in that same season
    Gary Ablett Jnr, Round 22, 2005 v Richmond at Skilled [http://www.thecattery.com.au/Images/GaryAblettR222005_4.jpg]
    Billy Brownless in the 1994 Grand Final
    Brad Ottens’ in 2006 was great; made amusing for the fact he won ‘the use of’ a crappy Toyota Avalon for a year, and he’d just lost his licence for drink driving.

    Special mention to Gary Moorcroft, who I used to think was a moron. Probably isn’t just my impression at the time, and I was glad he got injured. Also to Some dude called Jughead on The Footy Show’s Almost Footy Legends

    Capper’s marks in the late 1980’s were amusing for the fact he used to put his hands into the back of opponants all the time.

  16. Peter Schumacher says:

    Shaun Smith, (already mentioned by many) couldn’t believe how high he flew.
    Long time ago, late fifties or early sixties SANFL chap by the name of Ray (I think) Button playing for Glenelg , on the shoulder’s of an opponent. A photograph of this was highlighted in the next day’s “Sunday Mail”, I imagine that it would hold a place of honour at the Glenelg Football Club.
    I am ashamed to admit that I simply can’t think off the top of my head another three that jump out at me. In general terms Burton, Barrie Robran, Lloyd and Modra and of course Jezza evoke some sort of memories, Jezza during the ten goals goals he kicked when playing for the Vics against S.A. a million years ago. I obviously should attend more games rather than listening to the radio!

  17. Steve Fahey says:

    Top 5:
    1) Shaun Smith – incredible elevation
    2) Trevor Barker at the Lakeside Oval – fantastic hang
    3) Jezza – one of THE moments in AFL/VFL history, I still hear kids call out “Jesaulenko, you beauty”
    4)Ashley Sampi
    5) Stephen Michael playing in the WAFL.

    For what it’s worth, while I reckon these are the best speccies, I reckon that Leaping Leo’s mark is the best ever mark given the circumstances, timing and importance.

    There you go, I didn’t even mention a Collingwood player (although Jerker Jenkin performed the greatest assist in footy history long before such stats were even thought of, incredibly ironically by Ted Hopkins !!!)

  18. haiku bob says:

    agree about trevor barker, medium. i had a mop of white, blonde hair as a kid and grew up trying to emulate him and knights. which reminds me – that game between essendon and hawthorn at windy hill when knights and van der haar went screamer for screamer all afternoon. wow.

    top 5.

    1. tarrant vs. melbourne (2002) – was living in holland at the time, keeping tabs on the season over the web. watched that grab maybe 200 times, enough to feel like i took it myself!

    2. ablett vs. collingwood (over gary pert) – was right in front of me. cats were on top and going away – the roar was the biggest i’ve ever heard for a speccie.

    3. silvagni vs. collingwood – think he got a ride on graham wright. helluva ride. but we won the game!

    4. bosustow vs. cats at princes park – fantastic ride. and his reaction, pure buzz.
    ken hunter & the buzz seemed to take it in turns for MOTD there for a while. hunter taking some death-defying rippers.

    5. can’t go past phil ‘snake’ baker in the gf vs. hawks (1976?) – great leap. great photo.

    hb.

  19. No one has mentioned Van Der Har (Van Deeee Aarrrrr as Jack Dyer used to call him). He took some of the best grabs of all time on the bottom oval at Whitefriars college during the early 70s – usually during lunch time kick to kicks. As a youngster I used to sit on the side and watch him.

    And what about Peter Knights in the Grand Final 1976 (?).

    Hard to go past Ablett over the whole Melbourne defence 1989, and the grab over Pert in 1994. That grab needs to be judged in the context of the game at that moment. I watched all Gazza’s team mates watch the replay on the scoreboard big screen – they were all shaking their heads in amazement.

    Also enjoyed Bosustow at Princess Park over Cat defenders, Morcroft’s and Snake Bakers many grabs.

  20. My best five from games I actually attended are as follows:

    1. Bill Ryan over Ian Synman and a big pack in the 1968 1st semi. Ryan stood on Synman’s shoulder and was so high he was reaching down to take a chestmark well above the outstretched hands of some big blokes below. Highest mark I’ve ever seen live.

    2. Jesaulenko you beauty!(GF 1970). Everyone’s seen it on the tele but I was lucky enough to be among the 121,696 at the ‘G. An unforgettable mark on an unforgettable day.

    3. Doug Wade’s mark at Geelong against the Hawks in August 1969. It was a tight game with the Cats a few points down in the last quarter. Wade hurled himself into the air above his opponent (who I think was Terry Gay) pulled in a screamer, went back and banged it through. Narrow win to Geelong which put them into the finals. Trivia: it was the same day Lionel Rose was knocked out by Ruben Olivares in Mexico and lost his world title. You could just about hear a pin drop at the footy when we heard the news, during what was an exciting game. Eerie.

    4. Ablett over Pert. A jaw-dropper! He just jumped onto Pert’s shoulder, stuck out his hand and pulled the ball towards his chest. It only came out when he hit the ground at 100 miles an hour and he could barely take his kick. The umpy paid it and so did I. Enough said.

    5. Royce Hart’s mark over Peter Walker in the 1967 Grand Final. Vintage Royce – came in from the side, hooked his foot over Walker’s shoulder and took a screamer in front of the pack. Inspirational! It was always going to be the Tigers’ day after that.

    Honourable mention. Paul Chapman’s screamer in the 2007 Grand Final. Take a bow Warren Tredrea.

    Yes I’m a Cats fan!

  21. Schuey,
    Ray Button, left-footed number 17 for the Bays, was late 60s I reckon, a classic graceful mark and totally unaccountable.Think I saw a Button (Lachlan) on their list last year. Hope he is related.

  22. What about those who did it consistently over a number of years, say, Peter Knights on any given Saturday in the ’70s / early ’80s? (Yes, I’m a Hawthorn supporter). OK, to show I recognise when one of our own has been on the receiving end of a speccie, I recall Warwick Capper taking a mark while lying horizonal on the back of Chris Langford some time in the late ’80s.

  23. Matt Cowan says:

    The one Alistair Lynch took way back in the day was a beauty, steaming out from FF I think…from memory it won mark of the year…Roach took some rippers too…

  24. Matt Cowan says:

    Oh yeah, and don’t forget Trevor Barker..wow!

  25. Matt Quartermaine says:

    Top 5 Marks of all time:

    1. Marky Mark (Most number of Marks)
    2. Mark Hamill (A Mark with the force)
    3. Marc Antony (Because I couldn’t think of many Marks)
    4. Marks and Spenser (Where you can buy Marks)
    5. Mark Of Zorro (Top Mark with a sword)

  26. What a reMARKable list from Matt Quartermaine…

  27. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    1. Garry Moorecroft 2001. First saw it on CNN while in Greece at the time. For a moment I was beamed to Melbourne Great feeling.

    2.Silvagni over Starcevich in 1988. Many Pies fans applauded this effort.

    3.Picken over MacLure in 1979 GF. In the mud an outstanding Mark.

    4. Ricky Barham v Essendon 1981, first Sunday game at the G. He landed on his head and missed the goal ten metres out. Typical.

    5.Brett Allison over Crosisca 1991. Incredible hang time!

  28. Peter Flynn says:

    Given the Birdman’s latest grab, anybody prepared to reconsider their speccie list?

  29. bill hopkins says:

    You young fellas are at an obvious disadvantage – not one of you can go back further than Bill Ryan’s great mark in the ’60s.
    I was privileged, as an 11 yr. old, in the early 1950s, at Hawthorn’ Glenferrie oval, to see the greatest speccy taker of all time – bar none. The mark he took, at the top of the goal-square was not over one opponent – but three! Kennedy, Crane and Fletcher, all sizeable, and committed to stopping Essendon’ wonder boy. They stood in a line, intent on preventing Coleman from getting near the incoming ball. Coleman, with about three steps from the boundary fence, launched himself vertically over the three Hawks, took the ball in front of the pack, and landed, with the sherrin. I regard myself as an expert on speccies, but the hair on my neck has never stood up for as long, since that day.

  30. 1 John Coleman v Hawthorn 1949

    2 John Coleman v South Melbourne 1949

    3 John Coleman v Collingwood 1950

    4 John Coleman v St Kilda 1950

    5 John Coleman v Melbourne 1951

    6 John Coleman v Geelong 1952

  31. Is Goddard’s GF mark better than any of the aforementioned grabs?

  32. Steve Healy says:

    No.

  33. Ok.

  34. Pamela Sherpa says:

    Bill and Rod, how lucky you were to have seen Coleman play. Bill, your description of Coleman’s marking prowess is just as I have heard told many times. Apparently his vertical leap without a run up was phenomenal, and he consistently did it- as you described, against numbers trying to stop him.

  35. Ian “General” Paton has been involved in two beauties.

    The Snake Baker one in the goal square in the GF and the Michael Roach one.

    If you don’t believe me have a look, not up, but at who is playing a support role.

  36. John Mosig says:

    Come on folks – cast your mind back – to yellow & black.

    1. Royce Hart in the closing stages of the 1967 GF. Cats behind and going down the guts. West to Walker with a paddock behind him. Hart comes from nowhere to mark standing on West’s shoulders.

    2. Disco Roach taking a chest mark in the goal square over a pack of Hawks.

    2. Jack Riewoldt marking on the wing this season – should have been mark of the year.

    4. Keith Warburton came to Carlton from Brighton (VFA) in the 1950s. He was a regular freak and seemed to time his leap so as to appear to have no hope, yet would twist in mid-air and take some of the most spectacular – read unorthodox – grabs that you’d ever want to see.

    5. The Late Great John Coleman used to have the fans moving from one end of the ground to the other as the teams changed ends for each stanza of play.

  37. In ’67 the Ryan one was a hanger but the Peter Walker one wasn’t.

  38. Andrew Starkie says:

    NMFC premiership player, Winston Abraham took the greatest mark of all time a few years back at the art deco public pool end, Manuka. Goal square; in from the side; unassisted leap on top of opponent; caught it in front of the eyes; effortless glide to Earth. Only physical contact came with the opponent’s head. Of course, he slotted it.

    Naturally, you don’t hear much of this one. All part of the conspiracy.

    To prove I’m not biased, I was there when Fruity Allison took his over Crossica at the G in ’91. Yes, he was very high, but it lacked a certain ‘wow’ factor.

  39. Pamela Sherpa says:

    Andre. I saw Winston’s mark and rated it as one of the best I had seen after a previous article someone wrote on this site. It was a beauty- Understand what you mean- re not as many people were at Manuka as say the G so therefore less probably rate it .It was fabulous-

  40. Pamela Sherpa says:

    Oops! I meant Andrew. You know who you are. Excuse my clumsy fingers and poor eyesight.

  41. “Long time ago, late fifties or early sixties SANFL chap by the name of Ray (I think) Button playing for Glenelg , on the shoulder’s of an opponent. A photograph of this was highlighted in the next day’s “Sunday Mail”
    Responding four years later but who cares….I was there….Ray wasn’t on the shoulders of the opponent, he was standing on Bob Elix’s shoulders, feet wrapped around his head. No time for Glenelg, but that’s the best I ever saw (Russell Ebert included)

  42. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Great Stuff Harmsy yep you can’t beat the hangar or the mark running were and els fear to tread 1 Modra v North Melbourne Twice
    2 Phil Carman at the Bay in 74
    3 Sir Barry Robran v Norwood at Footy Park 80 I reckon
    4 Keith Thomas for Guts running with the flight of the ball v Port 84 SANFL GF
    5 Greg Turbill v South Adelaide at Adelaide Oval 82 Turbs for sheer courage was amazing even the Late Great Fos Williams ranked Turbs 1 re Courage
    Enjoyable Piece Harmsy

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