|Week 4, Grand Final
Saturday, September 27
|Brisbane Lions strangle
Hat-trick of flags delivers 'champion' tag
|The skies cleared from
persistent morning rain to sunshine as 79,451 packed into the Melbourne Cricket Ground for
the culmination of season 2003. The bounce-down took place at the appointed time of 2.30pm
with no changes to the selected line-ups announced on Thursday night. Only one brief, but
heavy shower in the second quarter, interrupted proceedings. The ground was to a fine
standard with only patches of moisture on the members wing.
The Brisbane Lions were universally acclaimed the greatest team of the modern era when
they obliterated the more-favoured Collingwood to win their third consecutive premiership
the first club to do so since Melbourne 1955-56-57. In a one-sided contest,
Collingwood was suppressed, strangled, overwhelmed and its huge army of supporters
Brisbane physically intimidated the Magpies from the start and never let go. By
half-time, the inscription was on the cup when the Lions led by seven goals.. While
Collingwood marginally improved their position winning the third quarter 5.0 to 3.5
Brisbane rammed home a quality last quarter to lead at one stage by as much as 69
points. The Magpies kicked the last three goals to make an obviously disappointing
scoreboard appear more respectable.
PAUL GOUGH noted for afl.com.au: This was a dreadful performance by a Collingwood side
that was brutally exposed as not having enough top-line players that premiership sides
need and it hardly helped that one of their best players ANTHONY ROCCA was
sitting in the grandstand as a result of his errant elbow in last week's preliminary final
which suspended him.
In fact only five Magpie players could be proud of their performance ruckman JOSH
FRASER, skipper NATHAN BUCKLEY, the gutsy duo SCOTT BURNS and PAUL LICURIA and young
defender BEN JOHNSON. The rest, including star forward CHRIS TARRANT who again
disappointed as he did in the 2002 grand final, were simply humiliated.
CAROLINE WILSON summarised in The Sunday Age: Champions find brilliant and
beautiful and different ways of walking into history, but Brisbane yesterday built a
football dynasty on its wounded but fearsome pride. Michael Voss did it with a cyst the
size of a golf ball on the side of his damaged knee. Nigel Lappin did it with a broken rib
and Jason Akermanis with silly words and handstands but five devastating goals.
And Leigh Matthews did it with a humility that belied his achievement. The greatest player
of them all yesterday coached his football team, to a third straight flag ...
|2003 GRAND FINAL
v Brisbane Lions
September 27, 2003
MCG, 2.30pm EST, crowd: 79,451
Conditions: Slippery from morning rain
Weather: Sunshine generally; heavy shower in second quarter
|Goals: Brisbane Lions: Jason Akermanis 5.2, Alastair Lynch 4, Blake
Caracella 2, Jonathan Brown 2, Daniel Bradshaw, Craig McRae, Richard Hadley, Justin
Leppitsch, Simon Black, Martin Pike, Shaun Hart. Collingwood: Alan Didak
3, Scott Burns 2, Shane Woewodin, Josh Fraser, Nathan Buckley, Chris Tarrant, Heath
Scotland, Leon Davis, Paul Licuria.
Best: Brisbane Lions: Simon Black, Chris Johnson, Shaun Hart, Jason
Akermanis, Alastair Lynch, Nigel Lappin. Collingwood: Nathan Buckley,
Scott Burns, Josh Fraser, Ben Johnson, Paul Licuria, Alan Didak.
Umpires: Scott McBurney, Hayden Kennedy, Brett Allen (gold tops)
Norm Smith Medal: Simon Black (Brisbane Lions).
Report: From video, JONATHAN BROWN (Bri) for striking RHYCE SHAW (Col)
during the second quarter. On October 7, Brown pleaded guilty to the charge and was
suspended for two premiership matches.
3.53 million watched AFL on TV ...
|A record 3.53
million watched the 2003 AFL Grand Final on Saturday September 27 making it the most
watched sporting event of the year. The peak viewing figure increased 108,787 on last
The 3,533,380 people who tuned to Network Ten's coverage were the biggest national
audience of AFL footy since West Coast defeated Geelong in the 1994 Grand Final.
The game on Saturday also set a Melbourne record for the most watched Grand Final, peaking
with an audience of 1.49 million.
In every capital city except Adelaide there were more viewers on average, than in 2002.
Sydney recorded a peak figure of of 483,000 with an average of 352,212 viewers.
In Brisbane, the average audience jumped 200,000 compared with last year's figures.
Figures for the AFL were more than favourable when compared to those for the NRL grand
final on Sunday night October 5.
The Channel Nine NRL telecast peaked at 513,000 in Melbourne, with an average of 489,000,
but paled in comparision with the AFL Grand Final Final's 1,491,000 peak and 1,324,000
The rugby league event peaked at 2,581,000 viewers nationally, compared to the AFL's
3,533,000 nationally. The AFL had a national average of 2,965,000, compared with the NRL's
2,315,000 the difference of 650,000 representing 22 per cent.
THE STATS THAT MATTER ...
<> The Brisbane Lions officially became
the greatest side of the modern era in winning their third consecutive AFL premiership the hat-trick was the first since Melbourne achieved it
in 1955-56-57 ...
<> Brisbane coach Leigh Matthews enjoyed his eighth premiership
success four as coach, Collingwood 1990, Brisbane 2001-02-03 and four as a player
with Hawthorn 1971, 1976, 1978, 1983 ...
<> previous clubs to win three or more consecutive VFL-AFL premierships
Melbourne 1955-56-57 ...
<> Brisbane achieved its hat-trick without
winning a minor premiership in 2001 and 2002 the Lions finished second on the
ladder, this season they were third behind Port Adelaide and Collingwood ...
<> two Brisbane players added their names to the group who have won
premierships with two League clubs
Martin Pike, Kangaroos 1999, Brisbane 2001-002-03
Blake Caracella, Essendon 2000, Brisbane 2003 ...
<> Brisbane became the 18th VFL-AFL club to win a premiership by 50 points or
more most recent, Essendon in 2000 by 60 points, Carlton by 61 points in 1995, West
Coast by 80 in 1994, Hawthorn by 53 in 1991 ...
<> Since its 1958 premiership Collingwood have
played in 12 grand finals losing 10, a draw in 1977 with one win, the 1990
premiership under coach Leigh Matthews.
<> Brisbane's 50 point margin was its second-biggest against Collingwood
52 points in 1998-R14-BCG is the biggest ...
<> Voting for the Norm Smith Medal resulted in Brisbane's Simon Black
taking the honour with 15 votes from Clark Keating (Bri) 7, Jason
Akermanis (Bri) 6, Mal Michael (Bri) 2. The panel voted
Dennis Cometti (Channel 9) Black 3, Keating 2, Akermanis 1
Bruce Eva (AFL Record) Black 3, Akermanis 2, Keating 1
Gerard Healy (3AW) Black 3, Michael 2, Keating 1
Robt DiPierdomenico (3AW) Black 3, Akermanis 2, Keating 1
Mark Stevens (Herald Sun) Black 3, Keating 2, Akermanis 1
<> for the first time in 107 seasons, umpires were not attired in white
uniforms they wore gold polo shirts and socks, with navy shorts ...
<> no new match records were noted ...
Grand Final crowd
||Collingwood v Brisbane Lions
Reflections on the Grand Final ...
|What a wonderful
result - the first team to win 3 on the trot since Melbourne in 1955-57 - both beating
Collingwood twice and Essendon once.
Some more stats from the Grand Final ...
<> Regarded as one of the greatest players to
play the game, LEIGH MATTHEWS can now be regarded as one of the greatest coaches. In 2001,
he became just the second person to win a premiership at three different clubs as player
or coach (the other being Ron D. Barassi). This year Lethal became the only person to play
300+ games AND coach 300+ games. This weekend he has become the first person to coach 4
premiership sides in his first 4 grand finals. To top it off he now holds the record of
the longest span between first and last premierships - (32 years between 1971 and 2003),
beating greats Kevin Sheedy (31yrs), 'Checker' Hughes (28), Jock McHale (26), Norm Smith
(25), David Parkin (24), Phonse Kyne (23), Malcolm Blight (23), Allan Jeans (23), Ron D.
Barassi (22) and Reg Hickey (21).
With 32 years between his first and last Grand Final,
Leigh Matthews has drawn level with Kevin Sheedy (1969-2001) and trails David Parkin (36 :
1963-1999) and Jock McHale (34: 1905-1939).
<> Brisbane have inflicted Collingwood's 25th
Grand Final loss.
Brisbane have become the second team to win
back-to-back premierships against Collingwood, following Melbourne's effort in 1955-56
when they won 3 in a row.
<> Is it a September Grand Final Curse? Collingwood's
have not won a September Grand Final since 1958 (v Melbourne). Since then they have played
in 10 September Grand Finals for 9 losses (1960, 1964, 1966, 1970, 1979, 1980, 1981, 2002
and 2003) and one draw (1977).
*The 1977 replay and the 1990 Grand Final were played
<> The Grand Final crowd of 79,451 is the lowest
Grand Final crowd in September at the MCG since 1940 (ironically in the middle of
Melbourne's first *three-peat*) (Ed: I prefer *hat-trick)
<> Since the introduction of the Premiership Cup
in 1959, Brisbane are the first to three in a row.
Other interesting 'fast facts' from the Sunday
Herald Sun ...
<> It was the 15th time that two clubs met in
successive grand finals
<> Brisbane joins Carlton, Collingwood and
Melbourne (twice) as clubs to win three flags in a row.
<> Collingwood (31) used one less player than
Brisbane (32) in season 2003.
<> Brisbane and Collingwood both won 17 matches
this year, two less than finals failure Port Adelaide
<> Brisbane's three Grand Final debutants take
the number of VFL-AFL premiership players to 1295.
<> Saturday was Brisbane's 9th win from its past
11 games against Collingwood
<> Incredibly, Hart, Lappin, Leppitsch and White
have played in every final Brisbane have contested.
<> Brisbane is the first team to lose a final yet
still win the premiership since Adelaide in 1998
<> Seven Pies played every game - Johnson, Didak,
Woewodin, O'Bree, Lokan, Lonie and Tarrant
<> Collingwood is the first team to lose
back-to-back Grand Finals since Geelong in 1994-95 (Collingwood were the last to lose
three in a row in 1980-81-82)
<> With the oldest player in the competition
(Alastair Lynch), the average age of Brisbane's list is 23.6
<> Nathan Buckley led the AFL in kicks and inside
50s this year.
<> Buckley and Voss played one season together
with the Brisbane Bears in 1993.
<> In each of the past four years that season's
Brownlow medallist played in the Grand Final.
<> Blake Caracella is the 21st player to play in
a premiership side with two different clubs (Martin Pike was the 20th on the list last
<> Martin Pike is one of 59 players to play in 4
or more premiership sides.
<> Brisbane has won 58 of its 76 matches since
<> It was Leigh Matthew's 11th Grand Final as a
player or coach; it was Mick Malthouse's sixth.
<> December marks the start of Scot Palmer's 50th
year in journalism.
ROBERT WALLS, The Age, September 29, 2003
I feel let down. Ive been short-changed, fooled, duped and embarrassed. And I
dont even barrack for Collingwood. But I did tip it. And it did not give a yelp.
Never, not once at any stage in the game, did the team that I put my faith in show some
This team took us for a ride. It had so
much going for it. Twenty-two fit players, fine form, the all-important week off during
the finals, and a travel schedule that was almost non-existent.
If ever a team was poised to perform on the big day,
Collingwood was it. But grand finals are something else. You cannot pick and choose what
you do on "the" day.
Quite simply, the Brisbane Lions did not and Collingwood
There is no point in beating around the bush. Brisbane did
not flinch. Not once. Each and every Brisbane player put his body on the line when it was
his turn to go. Im talking supreme courage.
Last year in the big one, Mick Malthouses men were brave. They were entitled to shed
a few tears after a narrow defeat. There were no tears shed late Saturday afternoon, and
nor should there have been, because the team effort was disgraceful.
PATRICK SMITH, The Australian, September 29, 2003
Collingwood were not courageous enough on Saturday. They were big-headed and
bloated by their own importance. They presumed they would win. They presumed Brisbane were
tired and sore. They presumed Brisbane were there for the taking. At 2.30pm, Collingwood
thought they were part of a fairytale and the last chapter just a four-quarter jig.
But the Lions were nothing like they expected. They came to dance wearing knuckle-dusters
and hobnail boots. Their tackles didn't stop Collingwood players, they blunted them. They
either gathered in the loose balls or killed them on the spot. The Pies were shocked and
took fright. Not one or two but too many.
Brisbane are the greatest team in AFL history. It is now a 16-team competition, with
salary caps and drafts in place to squeeze the competition flat. Brisbane play out of
Queensland, a developing football state and criss-cross the country every second week. And
they have won three premierships in a row.
Collingwood were not courageous because they were unprepared, not because they were
Collingwood baulked at the unknown. Brisbane won because they claimed what they knew
belonged to them and not something that would have been nice to have.
MIKE SHEAHAN, Herald Sun, September 29, 2003
The Brisbane Lions FC has the best football team in almost 50 years, perhaps ever.
With due respect to the sensitivities of Collingwood and its supporters, we have been
privileged to be able to watch Brisbane of 2001-03.
It's not just the three premierships. It's the awesome way the Lions play the game.
In three years, Brisbane has won 48 of 66 home-and-away games (plus one draw),
representing a winning rate of better than 72 per cent.
Yet the real measure of this group is its finals record: nine out of 10 finals in that
The third flag has to be the most cherished of all. It proves the rare quality and
durability of a team beautifully managed by Leigh Matthews, whose record is Barassi-esque,
with four premierships as a player and now four as a coach (Barassi has 10).
The Lions have won three premierships with just 27 players.
PATRICK FITZGERALD, *Crikey*, September 29, 2003
For Collingwood it must
live with the shame of a final it gave away all too easily. But worse for some of them,
they must learn to live with the fact that they will probably never get such a chance
again. While also in the cold hard light of day, those who run the Magpies would do better
to worry about them actually winning something as a football club and learn some humility
where it isnt about whos got the biggest membership or makes the most money or
pulls in the most sponsorship dollars.
has none of those things going for it, but I will guarantee it touches more hearts in
Queensland than Collingwood does in Victoria, and its football team has greater respect
across the whole world of AFL than the Magpies can possibly lay claim to. So just what is
it that is so great about the Collingwood Football Club that they must bore the socks off
the rest of us telling us how great they really are?
to the Footystats website for the following info relating to Collingwoods 12 day
grand finals played since it won the 1958 premiership.
1 1960 v Melbourne (Lost)
2 1964 v Melbourne (Lost)
3 1966 v St Kilda (Lost)
4 1970 v Carlton (Lost)
5 1977 v North Melb (Draw)
6 1977 v North Melb (replay - Lost)
7 1979 v Carlton (Lost)
8 1980 v Richmond (Lost)
9 1981 v Carlton (Lost)
10 1990 v Essendon (WON)
11 2002 v Brisbane (Lost)
12 2003 v Brisbane (Lost)