Crio’s Question: Finals Performers

Brent “Tiger” Crosswell, finals champion, is alleged once to have said,

“Give me 80,000 people at the MCG and I was Hercules. Give me a grey day at the Western Oval and I wasn’t worth a cracker.”

Reputations are made and broken over the next month of footy.

Davis and Milne are under the microscope.  Stevie J, we just assume, will shine.

What names have been made and destroyed under the September spotlight?


  1. John Butler says

    The Dominator.


  2. Clark Keating – Brisbane. The “September Specialist”
    Snake Baker – North Melb. in the 70s.

  3. John Butler says

    Andrew McLeod

  4. John Butler says

    Simon Black

  5. Names made: Mario Bortolotto and Teddy Hopkins

    Name destroyed: Collingwood

  6. Peter Flynn says

    It is my understanding that Kevin Bartlett was named in Richmond’s best players in the following GFs:

    1967, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1980 (Norm Smith Medallist) and 1982

  7. Leon Davis slips into the same hole at the MCG in every final.

  8. We might have to ask MO’C, our Collingwood man, for an explanation of what makes finals success. He may, however, be a little jaded himself from the weekend. The mail is that not only did his Pies put in a “short one” after The Age 16 page liftout, but that both of his sons lost GFs over the weekend! Ouch! A nervous month lies ahead.

  9. Though highly regarded, i only remember Leon Baker for his September with the Dons.

  10. Hodge 2008 … spitting blood against St Kilda and carrying on regardless … Bomber Thompson playing Stokes on Hodge in that year’s GF remains one of the most inexplicable and or worst coaching decisions/tactics ever.

  11. Rick,
    It is slightly off topic but I am happy to go with you, because you’ve reopened another wound from the Doggies’ Prelim catastrophes….this time when the genius (Wallace) decided to start Bubba Smith at centre half back in ’98 (as I recall, anyway). The theory, I guess, was that he’d run off Robran. He never got the chance. MacLeod got all of the clearances and Robran could at least stand tall and give Smithy no hope. That year, we were annihialated before quarter time. We left very early, a mate shaking his head and I think muttering something about when Leon Cameron stood the Duck! Maybe I’m confused. Those Prelims are hard to exorcise!

  12. What about the Almanac introducing a “Ted Hopkins Medal” awarded to the player who most exceeds his normal ability on footy’s big day?

    A few nominations from past years will illustrate what I’m on about. Others can probably fill in the gaps.

    1979 Peter Francis
    1980 Stephen Mount
    1982 Mario Bortolotto
    1983 Colin Robertson (a rare Norm Smith/Ted Hopkins double!)
    1988 Paul Abbott
    1989 Darren Flanagan (and any number of other gallant Geelong triers that day)
    1992 Tony Evans
    1997 Shane Ellen
    2005 Lewis Roberts-Thomson

  13. Damian Watson says

    Michael Cooke 1975.

  14. Brad Ottens is a month fro being a September icon. They’ll need him too.

  15. John Butler says


    I reckon that’s a great idea. Must put it to management.

  16. Slightly off track again (unlike me) but Mario Bortolotto used to be in my team of Geelong players who had played in premierships with other teams.

    I was getting so desperate I thought that would be my lot in life and that was as close as I would get to seeing a flag associated with Geelong..

    I think he played in two flags at the Blues.

    We did eventually get our payback JB. The draft pick that got us Chapman for an aged Michael Mansfield. I love stories with happy endings.

  17. Peter Flynn says

    Last quarter specialists:

    Bob Keddie and Darren Jarman

  18. Last kick specialist:

    Barry Breen

  19. Peter Flynn says

    Telling late in the last quarter mark specialists:

    Leo Barry, Harry Taylor and Bob Murray

    Back on topic: Gary Ayres

  20. Dave Nadel says

    Ted Hopkins Medal – 1958 (12 years before Ted’s moment) – Barry “Hooker” Harrison

  21. Spose you have to give some credit to young Gavin particularly in the Port GF victory over the Lions. Still can’t bring myself to give him any credit for his Browlow. Deisel You’se was robbed

  22. I actually don’t want to talk about current players too much – i could jinx the catters….but in the past how about

    how about Josh Carr 04 ? Stuart Dew 08?

    i hope – travis varcoe 10…..

  23. Dan., Stuart BOOOOOOOOOO!

  24. Damian Watson says

    Has Glen Freeborn been mentioned yet?

  25. Shags Grant could be an interesting dual nominee. Worst for Sydney in ’96 and Norm Smith with the Kangas in ’99.

  26. Neil Compton

  27. Crio
    Re #11. It was worse than that. Libba lined up on the point of the square on McLeod. Bubba was looking at Robrams armpit. The centre square was entirely rolled mud and it glistened in the afternoon spring sunshine. I took a big sip and declared it then and there “we’re gone”. Was the easiest 2 and a half hours of footy i’ve ever watched.

  28. …and I do recall Leon standing the Duck one grey day at Barkly St. It was not pretty..imagine Buddy playing on Bob Murphy.

    Back on theme..Shane Ellen [you know how much it hurts me to say it] kicking 5 in a granny which makes his career tally 11

  29. Cam Mooney got 0,0,0 in a GF for North I think?

  30. Peter Flynn says

    Did Derek Shaw touch it in ’79?

  31. Dunno Flynny, but Tony Shaw certainly smashed a big family hoodoo in 1990.
    I’d like, somehow, for Liam Picken to do same this September, although it should be noted that his old man, Billy, was a finals stalwart despite the ‘Wobble results, and his cousin, big Jonno Brown, has serious big game cred.

  32. Dave Nadel says

    Derek Shaw wasn’t actually related to Ray, Tony and Neville. Around the late 70s and early 80s Collingwood seemed to have a monopoly on Shaws. Apart from the brilliant brothers they also picked up dud Shaws. Not only Derek but also Gary. And Peter, you are right. Derek didn’t get a touch in the ’79 Grand Final

  33. Liam Picken is lucky to be playing in the first week of the finals

  34. Like Andrew Dunkley?!

  35. Neville Crowe never got a chance in ’67 after his ‘airy’ at Big Nick was deemed to be worth 4 weeks.

    Thanks Dave #32.

    Leigh Matthews and Royce Hart (obvious ones).

  36. Brent “Tiger” Crosswell.
    I think he said something like: “Give me a grey, windy day with ten thousand people at the Western Oval and I was a nobody…give a final at the MCG with eighty thousand and I was superman!”

  37. Doh!
    Sorry Crio,
    Computer issues meant I was unable to read the first
    couple of lines of your intro until just now !

  38. John Butler says


    I wouldn’t worry. It’s such a classic line, I reckon it bears repeating a few times.

  39. It’s the essence of the whole thing. Same game, same rules etc….but the occasion makes or breaks reputations.

  40. Speaking of classic lines and finals performers – as Crio said, you’d expect something from Stevie J. After all, the man himself said in 2007:

    “I’m not worried about this game. This is my stage, this is where I do it: a full MCG on Grand Final day. Why do you think they put air in my lungs?”

    (it’s not only playing ability that is enhanced in the finals – I think that is the most eloquent Stevie J has been in his whole life!)

  41. And, Susie, it is only hot air unless it is backed up.
    Stevie J. delivers again this September and the Cats have another Flag in the bag.

  42. I think we need more than just Stevie J, Crio. The competition is just too good.

    Mackie is another one who’s always good in finals, especially the Big One. In both 07 and 09, he seemed in serious contention for the Normie at quarter time. As the game wore on, others were flashier, but his efforts are always stellar.

  43. Didn’t know that Susie. I think I backed him for the Normie last year. He’s a Glenelg boy and we certainly need some finals performers!

  44. Matty Scarlett has been sensational in September. 2007 couldn’t have played better, 2008 got the better of Buddy in a losing team, 2009 made Kosi look stupid. He tends to fly under the radar. Not sure why.

  45. Lots of our backs do, Dips. There are too many shiny things forward of defence (Ablett’s and Chappy’s chrome domes, for instance), but that suits me just fine. We catch the oppoisition unaware.

    Look at the job HT did on Riewoldt last year! And with a broken hand to boot! So much for being the “weak link” in our back line (Sheahan and co. must be feeling pretty embarassed these days). My brother and I (and most Cats fans at the ground) honestly thought he should’ve got the Normie. Chappy was definitely a deserving winner, but I do think Harry had a more solid, impacting game. Just not flashy enough; too sensible is young Harry :P

  46. Rhys Jones

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