Great footy matches which have made it into your family mythology

In the Harms family mythology there are many footy matches which are remembered. Not all fondly I might add. Almost all of them involve the Geelong Football Club. Many involve the despised Pies.

Which footy match has made it into your family’s mythology; a story which is told and re-told.

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written 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 (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst four. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. The 1980 North Pilbara grand final.

  2. johnharms says

    and what happened Tony?

  3. Andrew Fithall says

    AFL Rd 8 2006. Also Collingwood Geelong. 102 point win to the Pies. Known in the family as “the vomit match”, but no one is allowed to talk about it. Named as such because my Geelong supporting daughter (then aged 9) had to leave the venue a few minutes before the end. Her (Geelong supporting) mother took her outside where the daughter then vomited, presumably in disgust at what she had witnessed.

  4. John, do you know if I will be able to listen to this online after it goes to air? Won’t be able to listen live. Keep up the good work.

  5. John,

    Final round of the 1996 season at the ‘G’.

    It was the match between Melbourne and my Hawthorn at the height of the ‘Melbourne-Hawks’ merger debate drama. (Today referred to as ‘the merger game’).

    I was there with my Dad and my sister. My Dad introduced me to Hawthorn. I always went to the footy with my Dad. Calling it ‘the family club’ couldn’t be more apt than on that night.

    The match was a nail-biter. The crowd was massive, part of the game. For Hawthorn supporters, it felt like we were on the field with Nick Holland as he scrapped and smothered to prevent the Dees moving forward. I still think of it, the image embedded in my mental hard drive.

    That famous night, the great Jason Dunstall kicked 10 and his tonne for the year. I ran out on the ground. I’m sure I patted him on the back. I hope I did.

    We won by a point! We would play finals football.

    Chris Langford ripped off his guernsey, hoisted it in the air and pointed to it with pride and with passion, reminding us all why we were there.

    As we walked to Jolimont Station after the match, I knew we’d be safe.

    I still regard that night the best football experience of my life, and I’ve been to two Grand Finals to see Hawthorn win the flag.

  6. Sasha – love the Dunstall kicked his “tonne”. You must be under 40 years old!

  7. Only by the skin of my teeth Dips

  8. Andrew Else says

    1993 round 2. Bombers v Blues. Fletcher’s first game, with Rex losing the plot on the radio and calling him Dustin Hoffman. A tight tussle all day. Then, finally, sitting behind Sticks in the Southern Stand and watching that ball sail out on the full. So beautiful. Bomber fans were chanting his name afterwards and was the first win of a magical season.

  9. Andrew Else says

    Well…it was a draw obviously…but it felt like a win!

  10. Alovesupreme says

    I can only respond to the two previous graceless posts by referring to the 1999 Preliminary Final. I also have a very soft spot for the match early in 2001 (Round 3 or 4) when an extremely under-manned Carlton took on the then all-conquering Bombers, and managed an improbable victory.
    From a neutral perspective, I’d have to point to the memorable 1989 Grand Final, and there’s two more recent Grand Finals that will live in the memory – Sydney 2005, Geelong 2009.

  11. Dinahcat says

    I remember a Cats/’Pies match at Kardinia Park in the early 70s. My father always left the game about ten minutes early to ‘beat the traffic’. The ‘Pies had been well in front, but the Cats were storming back. Scores were level as the siren sounded….just as Ken Newland (I think) took a towering mark. Huge uproar on the Melbourne Road, drivers hit their horns, scarves flew out the windows, as Kenny slotted the ball through for a point and a win over Collingwood!

  12. John Butler says

    1999 Preliminary Final. The whole day, not just the match.

    Carlton supporters signing the club song at the Cricketers Arms like I’d never heard them before, preparing for battle.

    The win against the odds. Kouta’s last quarter (have there been any better?). Long goals from Whitnall and Hamill when it counted.

    Proof that there is a God in the fact that Dean Rice’s clearing kick went to Dean Wallis and not Dustin Fletcher, who would have kicked it and not tried to take on Fraser Brown.

    Justin Murphy taking the spill from Brown’s tackle and haring off into the forward line with no one in front of him, keeping the ball until the siren rang.

    Delirium in the minutes after.

    And then back to the pub to see Kennett get rolled in the election that night.

    One of the great days!

  13. Alovesupreme says

    For my numerous crimes and sins, I’m a life member of the benighted “workers” Party. I squibbed making that reference in the original post, as I didn’t want to especially politicise the reference.
    I missed the game to my great distress, as I was actually standing on polling booths for most of the day, and I shared duties (competing?) with a young Liberal, during the final quarter. She was as rabid Essendon as I was Carlton. Voters were few and far between in the late afternoon, so we both went inside, where an underemployed poll clerk was listening to the closing minutes on a very tinny transistor.
    I also have a pronounced hearing disability so I couldn’t make out the words emerging from the radio, but read my colleague/rival’s body language to understand that we’d done it.
    I then spent the next couple of hours scrutineering, and only got the sense of the earth shattering political developments after that.
    So for me, your “one of the great days” is right on, notwithstanding my not participating in the MCG festivities.
    I still felt a chill down my spine watching the replay, despite knowing the how the final moments played out.

  14. Mick Jeffrey says

    The one that stands out from an AFL standpoint is Round 21 2000, the night Terry Wallace employed the Mega Flood to beat Essendon. Grant took mark after mark after mark in the backline, then moved forward to kick the winner. There were 22 heroes wearing Red, White and Blue that night. I managed to pick up bits and pieces of the game through an alarm clock radio through the static before watching the replay, then going out the next day and doing OK in the local comp.

    From a local perspective, the two games that I seem to fondly remember the most were the 1999 Preliminary Final and the final round of the 2002 season. We ended BITS Saints’ drive for 4 flags in a row in the Prelim (and I played in a winning Under 17’s prelim team), and the last game in 2002 was the next time that they lost a game (I was almost a late inclusion, turned out they couldn’t change the teamsheet after it was discovered one of the bench players couldn’t play a full game. Not that I could have done much, I’d busted my knee the week before in a night game in Gladstone).

  15. Peter Flynn says

    Two involving Doug “at the country board” Wade.

    (1) 1962 PF when Wade took a mark directly in front against Peter Barry and then Irving reckoned he’d pulled Barry’s shorts. Hard to do when Wade was in front. Match ended in a draw and Carlton won the replay.

    (2) versus SM at KP in 1970 where Wade’s shot at goal was thrown off-course by an apple thrown by a spectator. SM won the game narrowly, Skilton played in a final and Geelong finished 5th.

    2 skirmishes in the Geelong race.

    (1) Mid 60’s. The Cops booked Alan Aylett, Albert Mantello, Alan Killigrew and Geoff Rosenow after a blue in the player’s race between Geelong and North Melbourne.

    (2) Mid 70’s? Ron Wearmouth accidentally running up the wrong race and being beset upon by all and sundry.

  16. 2007 Preliminary final. Perhaps the greatest game I’ve seen live. Extraordinary crowd, extraordinary game, extraordinary beers post match at the London Tavern where Cats and Pie supporters all mingled shoulder to shoulder with no suggestion of any agro. Marvelous stuff.

  17. Rick Kane says

    I watched the 1991 Grand Final at the Cottesloe Hotel in Perth. There was a hundred Eagles supporters and three Hawks supporters watching the match. This was the year the Eagles went though almost undefeated. Perth was awash with Eagles decorations and noise. It was brave just venturing out of the house to watch the game in public. I had indulged in some Willie Nelson type relaxant to help me engage in the one way Eagles traffic at the Cott. What an afternoon, what a game, what a win. The Hawks last Hurrah of the golden 80s. One of the great last quarter a fan could wish to watch. Dunstall and Dermie turned it on. The Cott was dead quiet save for three cheering Hawkers. What a send off for Tuck. WE went out that night and Perth was as quiet as I have ever seen it. We weren’t.

  18. Rick Kane says

    Re 1999 Prelim Final and JB/alovesupreme posts: I was in Readings in Carlton as the dying minutes of that game was being played out. You couldn’t find any staff. Suddenly there was the most joyous scream and staff piled out from the store’s backroom, most grinning. As they were coming out, Lygon St came alive with carhorns and people singing on the street. Readings played the Blues theme song and the store and street outside became a festival as different people, strangers, passed on the score and news to each other. And you wonder why I love living in this city!

  19. John Butler says


    Great story about Lygon St.

    I was in Adelaide the week of the ’91 GF. They were almost as rabidly pro-Eagles there too. Anyone but a Victorian.

  20. The first GF of the Lions 3 in a row. A season ticket holder with my wife to be for the first time. Remember the end of the game, but took watching a replay to understand what happened. Also the game vs the Bombers (“If it bleeds, we can kill it…”) at the Gabba, where the belief arrived. Awesome feeling in the stands.

    The second of them, on the day of our wedding recception. Possibly the only time I have had an opportunity to speak and took the short route (“I’d like to thank you all for coming along and sharing this day with us. Now, I’ll be downstairs watching the footy!”)

    The third GF of the Lions. My first born son arrived a couple of days later, (named after Simon Black Norm Smith Medallist).

    Significant in our family for more reasons than football I guess!

    Also watching the 2008 GF in Turkey in a deserted sports bar with 3 others. And making the call at half time that the Cats looked like they were in trouble and didn’t have a back up plan to cope with Hawthorn. Had to leave at 3/4 time and had to wait 2 days (of travelling) to find my ‘vibe’ confirmed.

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