Strange scorelines, here we come


Collingwood 8.13.61

Brisbane 0.0.0

Gabba, Round 8 2016, 2nd Qtr 20 mins

I am at the Templestowe Hotel staring with disbelief at the scoreline in the bottom left hand corner of the large plasma screen.  The bloke next to me informs me that if the Pies can win by 151 points their percentage will reach parity. It doesn’t seem out of the question.  21 scoring shots to zero.  I can’t ever recall seeing such a one-sided scoreline.  Maybe in the Doncaster and Districts Junior Football League Under-9s.  But it has got me thinking.  I am now distracted from the present, scouring my memory, trying to come up with more strange scorelines from the (relatively) recent past:



Essendon 15.4.94

Gold Coast 0.1.1

Etihad, Round 6, 2011, Qtr time

This was the game that Kyle Reimers snagged 8 majors with his orange boots.  The infant Suns somewhat regrouped after quarter time and only went down by 139 points.



Western Bulldogs 13.10.88

Hawthorn 0.4.4

Etihad, Round 14, 2009, Halftime

Talk about a Premiership hangover for the Hawkers in 2009.  I seem to recall the Dogs kicking a few more goals early in the third term and hitting the century mark before the Hawks had posted a goal.



Footscray 8.9.57

Carlton 0.10.10

Western Oval, Round 11, 1991, 4th Qtr 25 mins

This of course was the scoreline late in the game before party-pooper Mark Arceri extracted a free kick from Steve MacPherson and kicked the Blues only goal for the game.  It was the lowest score for almost a century.



Essendon 18.8.116

North Melbourne 2.4.16

Windy Hill, Round 18, 1985, Halftime

This was when the Essendon machine was in full throttle.



But the current Brisbane/Collingwood clash has also got me thinking about distortions in accuracy.  Friday night’s Crow-Cat clash is a prime example.



Adelaide 11.3.69

Geelong 9.18.72

Adelaide Oval, Round 8, 2016, 4th Quarter 7 mins

This was the ridiculous scoreline when Eddie Betts was lining up from the pocket to improbably put the Crows in front.  He missed, and later so did Seedsman, before the Cats prevailed quite comfortably in the end.  This is in turn has got me thinking about the very first VFL/AFL game I attended way back in 1980…



Collingwood 7.18.60

Essendon 12.3.75

Victoria Park, Round 15 1980, 3/4 time

There I was perched on my dad’s shoulders in the outer at Vic Park with my Woodsmen staring down the barrel of a loss to the Dons.  Thankfully, the Pies brought home the bacon, coming home with the wind in the final term and getting home by 4 points in spite of their poor kicking for goal.



But what about when poor kicking has been costly? Well, there are two grand examples:



Essendon 7.27.69

Melbourne 10.9.69

MCG, 1948 Grand Final, Final Score

This is one I’ve only ever seen in the record books.  Talk about choking.  Bill Brittingham was the main culprit kicking 2.12.  The Dons lost the replay, although the flags in 1949-50 might have helped ease the pain to some degree.



Adelaide 4.3.27

North Melbourne 6.15.51

MCG, 1998 Grand Final, Halftime

The game should have been over, but the Crows had other ideas and ran all over the wasteful Roos in the second half.  McLeod won the Norm Smith Medal again, but has there ever been a more skilful player than Darren Jarman?



St Kilda 17.4.106

Collingwood 9.18.72

MCG, 2008 Semi-final, Final Score

Nick Riewoldt had his kicking boots on that night, kicking 5 straight.



Strangely in 1976-77, Geelong had two unlikely wins against outrageously inaccurate Collingwood outfits.  I was too young to remember these, but the misery has been passed on by the brethren.  Maybe some of the elder almanac statesmen can elaborate on these two remarkable scorelines.



Geelong 15.9.99

Collingwood 11.27.93

Kardinia Park, 1976, Round 17, Final Score



Geelong 16.6.102

Collingwood 12.25.97

VFL Park, 1977, Round 16, Final Score



To finish off here are a few more strange scorelines, each of which are notable in their own special way.



St Kilda 18.2.110

Essendon 15.10.100

MCG, Round 18, 1994, Final score

Plugger’s 6.1 was most likely the difference here.  Other examples of sharpshooting that spring to mind are St Kilda 23.5.143 vs. North Melbourne in 2010 and Geelong’s 23.4.142 vs. Carlton in 2006.



Hawthorn 25.41.191

St Kilda 16.7.103

Princes Park, Round 6, 1977, Final Score

This is still the most amount of behinds (41) and scoring shots (66) ever recorded for an AFL game.  There was an even spread of behind kickers, though Kelvin and Leigh Matthews were the main culprits kicking 4.6 and 4.5 respectively.



North Melbourne 13.12.90

Sydney 19.6.120

MCG, Round 6, 1991, Halftime

Now look closely at this scoreline.  It is the halftime score.  That’s right; 210 points were scored in a half.  Bizarrely the Roos ran out victors by 54 points with the Swans stopping to a walk after the main break.  Both Longmire and Spargo kicked 5 goals for the winners, while Capper, in his second stint as a Swan, kicked 5 for the losers.

About Damian Balassone

Damian Balassone is a failed half-forward flanker who writes poetry. He is the author of 'Strange Game in a Strange Land'.


  1. Cat from the Country says

    Cannot remember when, but it was Saturday July 5 and Geelong kicked 9.24.78 and defeated Collingwood … somehow!

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Great stuff Damian.

  3. david harms says

    adelaide lutheran won the 1991 adelaide amateur A4s in 1991 v St Michaels old scholars, 17 1 103 to 14 14 98. Kicked a point in the first quarter and didn’t miss after that.

  4. 2015 senior game in EFL score was 0.0.0 each at quarter time.

  5. The Wrap says

    By the time I was collecting Footy cards from the bottom of the Kornies’ packets Bill Brittingham was the Essendon full back.

    I remember one match — it may have even been a final — when the Richmond 2nds were running rampart. The Magoos kicked the dew off the grass in those days and you’d get into position early with your esky of full of Fosters cans. Yes, we drank Fosters and were allowed to take your own esky to the ground in those days. It was deep in the last quarter and The Tiges had kicked 20 odd goals straight. From memory their 25th shot was touched AFTER going through the hi diddle diddle. The goal umpire called it touched. The Cheer Squad irrupted. The siren sounded soon after. What a fantastic scoreline it would have made – 25 straight majors. (It might have been the same goal umpire that had Freddy Swift marking BEFORE the line in the 1967 GF Wrap – Ed)

    Just read your bi-op Damian; Collingwood is poetry & fiction.

    And Darren Jarman was one of the most skilled players I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch too. He had such a great football brain as well.

  6. Wow Damian, a few memories there . I’ll add a few more ,

    In 1970 Fitzroy 5-24-54 defeated North Melbourne 7-7-49

    The following year Footscray 9-12-66 beat Essendon 7-23-65. I think David Starbuck, Essendon, hit the post in the last minute. Earlier that year North Melbourne beat Geelong, 16-28-124 to 16-13-108 . For Geelong Bill ryan and Doug Wade kicked 7 goals each. Was Geelong scoreless in the second term ?

    Keep up the good work Damian, and i’ll try to recall some more intriguing scorelines.


  7. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Nice compilation Damo, Pies kicking poorly in every example. Was there in 1980 too and remember Rene Kink and your mate Brewer being prominent in getting us over the line. Atmosphere at Vic Park electric in the last quarter.
    The worst score line in Collingwood’s history:
    Coll 10.13.73
    Carl 4.5.29 HALF TIME 1970 GF.
    The horror…

  8. Johnny Barnard says

    Some great work there Damian

    I was at Princes Park the day the Hawks kicked 41 behinds. The old man was fuming as he claimed ‘we shoulda kicked a record that would never be broken’. I seem to recall some wag chopping down the behind posts at Glenferrie that week so the players couldn’t score any more behinds at training.

  9. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I received the following Twitter feedback from Damien Berry (@strauchanside) last night

    @swishtter He’s not quite right on the WB/Haw one, they led 14.10 to 0.4 before Roughy goaled 5 min in the 3rd for the Hawks 1st goal.

    @swishtter and the myth of Bill Brittingham kicking 2.12 in the ’48 GF, is also incorrect too.

  10. Very enjoyable stuff Damo. It’s amazing how psychologically either good or bad kicking for goal can be contagious through a team.

    I’d be interested to see the all time accuracy stats for Etihad v all other grounds.

    Also accuracy by the decade. I’d suggest there’s a number of factors at play.

  11. DBalassone says

    Cat from the Country, I can’t recall that Geelong/Collingwood game, though I do recall Collingwood kicking 9.24.78 in a Grand Final. The only problem was Richmond kicked 23.21.159.
    The Pies also kicked 9.28.82 vs. Nth Melb in the ’79 Qualifying Final but managed to get over the Roos two weeks later in the Preliminary Final.
    Cheers David & Noel, strange scorelines indeed.
    They are some rippers Glen! Keep ’em coming. Do you recall the Geelong/Collingwood clashes of 1976/77?
    Wrapster 25.1.151 has to take the cake, albeit for a Reserves match. Not sure what’s harder to believe, that scoreline or that Fosters was the drink of choice.
    Phil, ah yes that great unheralded, underrated, misunderstood sharpshooter Ross Brewer. Incredible when you consider his older brother played in the ’58 flag and Ross almost emulated the feat 23 years later. Must have been a big age gap between the two.
    Johnny, I reckon you’re old man was right. No one has ever come close to the 66 scoring shots the Hawks had that day.
    Cheers Swish, re ’48 if that’s the case, it certainly is a much-repeated myth – it’s part of VFL/AFL folklore.
    Another score that warrants mention is Hawthorn’s 15.4.94 in last year’s Prelim. The lethal accuracy of the Hawks that night was surely the difference.
    Some other strange scores involved Collingwood/Carlton in 1979 and 1981. In the ’79 Grand Final, Carlton 11.16.82 defeated Collingwood 11.11.77. In Round 16, 1981 Collingwood 11.11.77 defeated Carlton 10.16. 76….the difference being Carlton weren’t given an extra goal by a blind boundary umpire.
    Also, while we’re at it: halftime score ’79 GF Carlton 5.8 to Collingwood 5.7. Halftime score ’81 GF Carlton 5.7 to Collingwood 5.6.

    I will take my pills now.

  12. I realise that because it happened in the SANFL it either did not happen or does not matter, but the 1989 Grand Final stands out in the memory. Port Adelaide 15.18 (108) defeated North Adelaide 1.8 (14). North coach Mick Nunan, surely remembered by all Fitzroy supporters, said before the game “we have one goal in mind”.

  13. damian i recall Collingwood Kicking 11 20 something at Kardinai Park in 1976 when Geelong won by 6 points. I have a vague memory of the kardinia Park clash in 1977 when Geelong won by 5 points as Collingwood had a touch of the kicking yips.

    The ‘Cat from the country’ score line is vaguely familiar. I t need some more prompts. Was it between 1996 and 2005 ? Jog my memory.

    Another gam is from a very wet R 12in 1971. In the slush of arctic park, aka VFL park,Melbourne kicked 6-13-49 to defeat South Melbourne 2-6-18. Stevie Hoffman kicked both of South Melbourne’s goals in the firs term. Throughout the following decades there were a few very low scoring clashes at Arctic Parkl


  14. DBalassone says

    Swish, I think you’re mate on twitter is right re Bill Brittingham. Great article on ’48 draw by Daff:

    I recall Buddy kicking 2.11 a few years ago. Michael Byrne kicked 0.8 for the Hawks in the mid-80s. Arnold Briedis kicked 0.7 in the ’77 draw.

  15. Dave Brown says

    The Brittingham one is interesting. The newspapers of the time did not report who kicked how many behinds, not even identifying who was responsible for the poor kicking. It’s almost as if behinds were considered a team problem rather than an individual’s. Under such circumstances it’s understandable that such a legend can flourish.

  16. Damian those Geelong Collingwood games 1976-77 are a few years ago. My automatic recall is that Geelong won both 1976 encounters by 6 points. The match at Kardinia Park Geelong had a big first half lead, there was huge blue near the players race at half time, then the Pies came right back but couldn’t kick straight. Geelong finished fourth that year, it wa sthe Pies first wooden spoon..

    In 1977 Geelong were really struggling, Collingwood were top of the table. I;m struggling to recall much at all about the encounter.

    Likewise the winning scoreline of geelong, 9-24-78, i’m trying to put it in context. Can some one help me?


  17. DBalassone says

    Agreed Dave – I’d like the Brittingham myth to continue to flourish. It’s a beauty.

    Love the Mick Nunan story Bucko. I do recall being very impressed with him at Fitzroy. He had next to nothing to work with.

    Thanks for the info re 1976-77 Glen. I can’t think of how debilitating those losses must have been for pies. Re the “9.24.78 on July 5” mystery, I think I have discovered the connection:

    I think you (Cat from the Country) are referring to July 5, 1997 when Geelong 9.26.80 defeated Collingwood 10.12.72 at the MCG – a game which, coincidentally, I attended. A very frustrating day; poor old Sav Rocca was dragged by Tony Shaw when the game was up for grabs – a common occurrence in Shawry’s tenure as a coach.

  18. Damian i was at the G that day in 1997, though, yep once again, i have scant memories pf the game.


  19. Some remarkable scores DB.

    Still recall saying at half time of the ’98 GF, ” I reckon we’re a chance if we get the first couple.”

    But the Hawks- 25.41. Bloody hell!

    Really enjoyed this. There must be some astonishing country footy scores worth sharing too- both famous and infamous.

  20. Mic Rees says

    Saturday May 26 1973 – Arden Street Oval

    North Melbourne 8.8-56 drew with Footscray 8.8-56.
    Thorpie’s late goal gave the Dogs a share of the points in Ian “Mocca” Dunstan’s senior VFL debut. North proceeded to win the next 10 meetings between the two clubs.

    Earlier that day in Reserve Grade
    North Melbourne 16.7-103 drew with Footscray 15.13-103

    Keep ’em coming Damian, great stuff indeed!

    MCR – KT4HoF2016

  21. The Wrap says

    You’ve certainly started something here Damian. It renews your faith in The Football Gods, eh?. David Starbuck hitting the post for The Don’s 23rd behind to lose by a point in a match where 66 points earned the win illustrates the point perfectly.

    You forget that Fosters was THE lager before Black Jack Elliot trashed the brand by taking it around the world. Wanna hear a funny story? A visiting team if sub-continental IT engineers & designers wanted to know why they couldn’t get Fosters in Australia. I told them that we only exported the very best beer and we drank VB & Carlton Draught as substitutes. They were impressed with our approach. I hope they see the cultural side of Aussie humour where they find out the truth.

    On the Bill Brittingham issue, I reckon I can get to the bottom of it. I know a bloke who watch John Coleman play his first game. He may have watched Bill play his last game in the attacking goal-square. BTW, Justin Fletcher was a doppelgänger for Bill Brittingham. In looks & build.

  22. DBalassone says

    Someone also mentioned to me Geelong’s losing score of 11.23.89 in 2008 Grand Final – I didn’t include it because 11 of those behinds were rushed by Brett Guerra.

    Ah, Wrapster, I think you’re referring to 1971 when Essendon 7.23.65 went down by a point to Footscray 9.12.66 (thank you google). What a way to lose a game.

    Great stuff Mic. Two back-to-back draws in one day – remarkable.

    Mickey, ’98 was almost as stunning as ’97. I have a theory that when Modra went down in ’97 Prelim that it indirectly led to two Crow flags. No disrespect to Modra (the Coleman Medalist that year), but he’d only kicked 6 goals in his previous 7 games. His injury caused a Blight-inspired reshuffle, with the magician Jarman forced to play deep in the forward line, and we all know what happened in the last quarter of that Prelim and the next two Grand Finals (in ’98 poor Modra was dropped after the Qualifying Final loss).

  23. the irony of dropping anyone after that QF loss was the the loss didn’t really amke any difference, even if hey had won the Crows would have been on the road the next week under the then silly rules.

    I always assumed they played dead – their form either side of it suggested so. Vardy at the SCG; the colossus Robran at the MCG; that great day at the MCG against the hapless Roos… probably my favourite non-Richmond finals run.

  24. Peter Fuller says

    Your reference to Ian and Ross in one of the comments reminded me that I was always intrigued by the extraordinary gap in the brothers’ finals exploits. When you jogged my memory, it was sufficient motivation for me to consult the Encyclopedia of VFL/AFL players (Holmesby/Main). It records Ian as born in June 1936 and Ross in August 1953. The significance of those two years would be apparent to you and other Almanac Collingwood partisans. It’s certainly a significant gap for siblings, though probably not unique in an era when family planning was at best haphazard.

  25. Stainless says

    Round 13, 1944
    North Melbourne 11.21 (87) def. Richmond 14.2 (86)
    According to my battered old copy of “Every Game Ever Played” 1897-1991 North Melbourne’s one point win at Arden St is the only occasion in VFL/AFL history when a side has scored three goals less than their opponent and still won.
    Not sure if this record has been matched since 1991?

  26. Luke Reynolds says

    Brilliant Damian.
    Hoping for an accurate Pies performance today rather than the frustrating inaccuracy in front of goal we’ve sadly become accustomed to.

  27. DBalassone says

    Pete, I hear you. Crows were lucky to get to week 2 in 1998 after finishing 5th and getting smashed in first final. But they were good enough to keep winning and when you think about all the poor hands interstate sides have been dealt over the years, it’s prob a bit of poetic justice.
    Peter, thanks for checking out the Brewer conundrum 17 years is a long time between drinks, though I imagine there’s a few Brewers in between.
    Stainless, I reckon that score takes the cake. We have a winner. Unbelievable.
    Luke, I hope we’re on target today. Here’s a few of our 2010 scores that spring to mind:
    4.17 vs St K (rd 3) lost
    17.21 vs Haw (rd 4) won
    9.22 vs Melb (rd 11) drew
    14.23 vs Geel (rd 19) won
    6.18 vs Ade (rd 21) won
    17.22 vs WB (QF) won
    9.14 vs St K (GF) drew

  28. The Wrap says

    That Bill Brittingham controversy — it looks like it was 2-12. Source? History of the Essendon FC: 1872-1994, page 150. In a paragraph recording some of the criticism of Dick Reynolds’ coaching on the day, when he failed to move BB from the goal square, it mentions that the aforesaid BB slewed through 2-12. That’s 24 points in a low scoring game. But the bottom line is that BKIBF. And it cost them a Pennant. Furthermore, just as the bell rang, Norm Smith (MELB) was streaming towards an open goal. A couple more strides and he would have let fly. ……like flies to wanton boys.

    The part I found most interesting was the public criticism of the coach on coaching matters, not just that he should be hung, cremated & buried.

  29. What about round 4, 2012 Eagles 5:21 to Hawks 5:16

  30. Picking up on the ’97 GF when the Crows kicked eight straight in the last quarter. Can’t imagine this type of accuracy has happened too often in a season decider. DB? Others?

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