Tiny gap between victory and defeat

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Last updated on July 24th, 2017 at 10:59 am

Ray Kennedy’s remarkable photograph shows just how close the West Coast Eagles may have come to winning this year’s AFL Grand Final:
Television replays don’t show this very clearly, but prior to Leo Barry cutting across in front of the pack at least one West Coast player (Judd?) seems to have been perfectly positioned to mark. He would have taken a kick for goal (after the siren, to win the game) from only 20 metres or so. My, my. Incidentally, Sydney’s total was the lowest winning score since Carlton defeated Essendon in 1968, and the fifth-lowest winning score since the end of WWI. Yet the match was still enthralling. Additional Grand Final images here, here, here, and here.

UPDATE. Jeremy Cooper and Tony the Teacher point out that the Eagle in question is youngster Mark Seaby, who didn’t have a great game. At least he’s got a great “what if” story to tell in twenty years.

UPDATE II. Simon reports: “At the time most the crowd struggled to see what had happened. I was in the Great Southern Stand and there was literally two or three seconds where most of the ground was silent, waiting to see who ended up with it.”

Posted by Tim B. on 09/25/2005 at 01:04 PM
    1. Is Gardiner the worst football player to have ever graced the AFL?  I hear he might be traded – I believe the Dodges Ferry Sharks are looking for a bloke to run ten metres under the ball.

      Posted by Pig Head Sucker on 09/25 at 03:45 PM • permalink


    1. Okay, help an American out here.  I’m guessing the West Coast guys are the ones in red.  Which one’s Leo Barry?  Is Judd the one who appears to almost have the ball in his grasp?  Who’s the guy who seems to be trying to tackle all of the blue-shirt guys?

      Posted by Achillea on 09/25 at 04:06 PM • permalink


    1. West Coast are in blue/yellow – Leo Barry is the guy with the ball.  If he hadn’t caught that the guys in red probably would have lost the game (although I can hardly remember the Eagles taking a contested mark inside 50 in the whole game!!!)

      Posted by Pig Head Sucker on 09/25 at 04:34 PM • permalink


    1. The ones in red and white are the Sydney Swans (who are starting to see a resurgance of their old name, the Bloods).  The blue and yellow are the Eagles.  The one with the ball is ‘Leaping’ Leo Barry

      Judd is the Eagle player who hands are out-stretched – if Leo hadn’t taken the mark, Judd would have and the Eagles would have won the game in the very last second of the game.

      The player you refer to appearing to be tackling all of them is Lewis Roberts-Thompson, a young bloke who all the commentators agree played the game of his life in the Grand Final.

      Posted by corvus on 09/25 at 04:37 PM • permalink


    1. There were about five simple blunders by the Eagles in the last 10 minutes that denied themselves a shot at goal. Still on the other side of the ledger, the Ablettt kick across goal was an unusual gift to the opposition and some of the set shots for goal by the Swans in the third quarter were the worst that I have seen since I was playing in the under 13s.

      Posted by Rafe on 09/25 at 04:54 PM • permalink


    1. And that grab took place with about 3 seconds left to play.

      Posted by gubba on 09/25 at 05:29 PM • permalink


    1. The big bloke with his hands outstretched at the back of the pack is Mark Seaby.

      Chris Judd is in amongst the pack somewhere but definitely not the owner of the hands in question.

      Posted by TruthHandler on 09/25 at 06:13 PM • permalink


    1. What a great photo! That’s the problem with American football. The helmets get in the way.

      Posted by Bill Peschel on 09/25 at 06:24 PM • permalink


    1. Chris Judd is the one having the choke hold applied on him by Lewis Roberts-Thompson.

      Pack marks like these look great in photographs.

      Posted by Sil on 09/25 at 06:35 PM • permalink


    1. If you remove the ball from the picture, and maybe darken the background a bit it looks like a gay disco.

      Posted by Ross on 09/25 at 06:50 PM • permalink


    1. Great photo.

      Reminds me of the game-winning catch by Dwight Clark in the 1982 championship game.



      Posted by SMGalbraith on 09/25 at 07:01 PM • permalink


    1. Ah, good.  The Swans won.  Although I still haven’t the foggiest idea what sport they’ve won the championship for, I nevertheless chose them as “my team”.  My choice was a wise one obviously.

      Two questions though.  Where’s the red V sweaters?  And where’s the badmitton racquets?

      Posted by wronwright on 09/25 at 07:07 PM • permalink


    1. That is cosmological punishment for having Margo speak in WA.

      Posted by captain on 09/25 at 08:25 PM • permalink


    1. You mean something along the lines of this Ross?


      Very steamy indeed.

      Posted by HC44 on 09/25 at 09:18 PM • permalink


    1. #14

      Good work with that image HC44.

      I still think maybe a disco ball and strobe lights would seal the deal, lol.

      Posted by Mospact on 09/25 at 10:01 PM • permalink


    1. Dear SMGalbraith: – nice catch by Dwight Clark, but there doesn’t seem to be any contest for the ball. Leo Barry had to crash the traffic jam as well as outleap them and grab the ball cleanly.

      Fantastic end to a fantastic contest – not often pretty but great theatre. The Swans deserved to win because they WANTED it more.

      PS: The speed of the Grand Final was awesome. Neither Swans nor Eagles stopped for ad breaks.

      Posted by kywong73 on 09/25 at 11:33 PM • permalink


    1. That basketball is way outa shape.

      Posted by graboy on 09/25 at 11:35 PM • permalink


    1. Challenge met!

      Posted by HC44 on 09/26 at 12:10 AM • permalink


    1. #10

      If you remove the ball from the picture, and maybe darken the background a bit it looks like a gay disco.

      As opposed to what other kind of disco?

      Posted by Stoop Davy Dave on 09/26 at 12:50 AM • permalink


    1. From left to right … Amon Buchanan, Leo Barry, Lewis Roberts-Thompson, Chris Judd, Mark Seaby (with the hands outstretched about to take the grab) and Ashley Sampi is partially obscured in the bottom right. Also in the pack is Tadger Kenelly who is smooshed in the middle of all the bodies; you can just see his nose under Sampi’s arm.

      PS: Kywong73, they DO stop for ad-breaks.

      Posted by Tony.T.Teacher on 09/26 at 12:55 AM • permalink


    1. While this is a great photo, at the time most the crowd struggled to see what had happened.  I was in the Great Southern Stand and there was literally two or three seconds where most of the ground was silent, waiting to see who ended up with it.  Roberts-Thompson started jumping for joy, the siren went and the rest was history.

      And Luke Ablett became the most relieved man in the history of AFL.

      O’Laughlin had a shocker in the last quarter – 4 times he had shots at goal and not one went close.

      It wasn’t a great game in terms of standards, but it was one of the most exciting damn grand finals in a long time.  Roos was graceful in not slagging Demitriou…yet.

      Go the Bloods!

      Posted by Simon on 09/26 at 02:56 AM • permalink


    1. One other interesting bit was the widespread the support for the Swans.  NOt just bandwagonners, but South Melbourners who’ve got over the move and most of those who were disinterested observers (e.g. Collingwood supporters, Tim).

      Posted by Simon on 09/26 at 03:31 AM • permalink


    1. HC44- 🙂

      Posted by Ross on 09/26 at 04:14 AM • permalink


    1. What was a little man liks Sampi doing there? Did he just think it was a great photo opportunity?  (He should have been crumbing). Or was he trying to shepherd for Seaby?

      Posted by Rafe on 09/26 at 05:18 AM • permalink


    1. And here I thought Chris Judd was a dancer.

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 09/26 at 06:32 AM • permalink


    1. HC44-

      I dunno-the shirts could we make them lavender or something?

      Ooooh-how about see thru fishnet, and something sparkly?

      Posted by madawaskan on 09/26 at 08:09 AM • permalink


    1. I hope there’s an icehouse in the Great Southern Stand because it burned you black.

      Posted by Craig Mc on 09/26 at 09:22 AM • permalink


    1. Images like that used to get carved in the walls of temples and palaces.  Some technological advances are sadly lacking in soul.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 09/26 at 01:42 PM • permalink


    1. Yep, Mickey O sure did have the Ian Baker-Finch yips with his kicking in the last quarter, but he did keep presenting and took some lovely marks (catches for foreigners).  The Leaping Leo mark was just one of those moments to savour forever – especially if you are a long-time Swans supporter like me and was lucky enough to be there, also like me – also in the Great Southern stand.  Apart from my wedding day, and the births of my kids, the best day of my life, by far.

      “Cheer, cheer, the red and the white” etc

      Posted by ozpat on 09/26 at 06:37 PM • permalink


    1. Rafe asked – “What was a little man liks Sampi doing there? Did he just think it was a great photo opportunity?  (He should have been crumbing). Or was he trying to shepherd for Seaby?”

      If he didn’t have a Fucking Swans player holding him down you would have seen the awesome vertical leap that he possesses in action (he almost played basketball because of his leaping ability).  He did manage to take the Mark of the Year last year.  That is why he was exactly where he should have been.

      Don’t start me . . .

      Posted by Razor on 09/26 at 09:32 PM • permalink


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