Round 14 – Greater Western Sydney v Carlton: Giants on my mind

GWS 18.19.127 def CARLTON 9.11.65

I didn’t watch this game. The numbers say that the Giants cruised to victory with almost 40 scoring shots. Falling away in the second half, Carlton were lucky the scoreboard wasn’t uglier. Coniglio and Shiel seem to have run-a-muck. The Giants really have something going on here, peppering their young list with some savvy vets has solidified the makings of a very skilled unit with the grunt and confidence needed to go to the next level. Good on them. The reboot (or revival!) at Carlton continues.


The bye week for Carlton has, at least for me, been dominated by the deeds of another giant.


In bringing a championship to his hometown Cleveland, LeBron James entered a new level of sporting folklore. He now stands among giants. LeBron’s gigantic figure is defined not by championships (he now has 3), statistics (incredible), or even the comeback he led against the history making Golden State Warriors (unprecedented). No, LeBron has entered the realm of mythology. He has his own iconic moment that changed history and will become legend. A story to be told from one generation to the next. Of course, I’m talking about that beautiful, thunderous, chase-down block.


Reading, watching and talking to people about Lebron’s title-changing chase down block (The Block) has got me thinking about Jezza’s mark in the 1970 VFL Grand Final. Not the mark you watch every year in the lead up to the Grand Final. But the one my dad told stories about when we were kids.


It’s goes something like this:


“It’s was the biggest Grand Final crowd in history, 125,000 of us crammed into the MCG. Your mum and I were there, right under the scoreboard at the City End. It was so crowded we couldn’t move, even to go to the toilet!


Collingwood had finished top and beaten us 3 times that year. As the game got going we could see this wasn’t going to be our day. It was a disaster. Collingwood players bumped and clawed their Carlton opponents, booting goal after goal. It’s was like a training drill. We were getting killed! Collingwood supporters were pouring the victory champagne and your mum and I were starting to think leaving at half time would be a good chance to beat the crowds home.


We were down by eight goals. With all hope lost, David McKay kicked long and high from our defence. The ball sailed through the sky and Collingwood players gathered underneath it, ready to run it back toward their goals. And then, from out of nowhere, came Jezza! He rose above the pack! He must have jumped 25 feet in the air! As if he was stealing the ball from the clouds themselves! We knew right then and there he had taken the mark of the century. The game changed. Carlton players grew 6 inches taller. Our boys began to run and play on at every opportunity, and a young Ted Hopkins kicked four miracle goals! Collingwood players didn’t know what to do with themselves and when the siren rang, we had won. We couldn’t believe it! We were the champions, and we danced all night long!”


Nevermind Dad skipping over a few details (sorry Barassi), or slight exaggeration (for a long time my brother and I were convinced Jezza really could jump 25 feet high). Without instant replay, or PTI or Bill Simmons, Dad created an image that whipped our little brains into a Carlton frenzy. A memory we would both carry on as our own, even if we weren’t there.


So times have changed. But I really hope one day, that somewhere between watching videos of The Block on my phone and reading a few Internet links, I can sit down with my son Gus, and tell him about the day the skies opened up and Lebron The Giant descended onto the court and stopped the ball on its way to a game winning basket to steal a championship for his home town.


GWS 18.19 (127)
CARLTON 9.11 (65)


GWS: Stevie J 4, Cameron 3, others (too many to name)
CARLTON: Walker 3, Wright 2, others (not enough)


GWS: Shiel, Coniglio, Stevie J
CARLTON: Docherty, Gibbs, Curnow


  1. Imagine LeBron playing AFL – he’d be a turbo-charged, even-more-athletic, supersized version of Buddy. He very well could jump 25 feet high if he wanted to!

  2. A very tantalising prospect, Sam! I’m picturing him streaming off half back with tacklers bouncing off him. His vision and decision making would do a lot of damage.

Leave a Comment