For the past few weeks I’ve been involved in the latest craze sweeping the interwebs, NBA Topshot. Essentially, it’s like you took trading cards, made them digital and serialised. It’s interesting as it’s a new blockchain based technology, a sporting interest and also everyone is seemingly making bank whilst doing it through the marketplace buying/selling feature on the site. However, instead of a static image like on the front of a trading card, you’re buying a ‘moment’, a GIF-style, short video commemorating a passage of play such as a three pointer, dunk, assist, whatever. I wondered what the AFL equivalent moments would look like and thought I’d put down a top ten of my favourite moments from our fabulous league.
Keep in mind, these are just the ones that spring to my mind from when I’ve been watching football, so there’s no old black and white vids. If they’re the best for you, cool man, be sure to let me know.
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10. Karmichael Hunt game winning goal
It’s about ten years ago now and it’s easy to forget how big of a deal Karmichael Hunt crossing from the NRL to the AFL was. The papers had all sorts of headlines about the experience, from the AFL trying to ruin the NRL to questions of Hunt’s integrity. His time at the Suns probably won’t be remembered in the annals of time, but his game winning goal against the Tigers in 2012 was a pretty cool moment in a pretty poor year for the Draft Doctors club.
9. Warwick Capper horizontal mark on Chris Langford
I’ll show my age here, but anytime you saw a group of kids in kicking a footy in a park (trust me it used to happen) in the 80s, there was only one name they all screamed as they jumped into each other’s backs. “CAPPER” was the name heard everywhere, it was the footy card you wanted to trade off your mate as you shoved that dusty pink stick of Stimerol gum in your mouth. The mark on Langford was just obscene, an obvious free kick and an enduring memory.
8. Boyd from 50
His time in the top league was short, filled with headlines and unfortunately short. However, it will be hard to forget him with the iconic moment that sealed the Dogs first premiership (or maybe since this is compared to a US league, world championship). We also got to hear BT say fuck. Interesting that the tackle that spilled the ball loose was laid on Buddy Franklin, who would usually be the star of a moment.
7. Gary Moorcroft’s hanger
I mean, it’s amazing, it’s iconic and it beat out a mark for mark of the year that I thought couldn’t be topped (Chris Tarrant). The perfect sit, the extension, the audacity. The greatest spectacle in Australian Rules Football.
6. Michael Long’s Grand Final goal
An amazing talent on the field and a positive agent of change for Indigenous Australians, Michael Long’s long running goal in the 1993 Grand Final was an amazing moment. The big stage, the bounces before the baulk and a mop haired Stephen Silvagni going apeshit to the umpire about the ball being touched made the moment.
5. Leo Barry’s mark
It was a great day for the bandwagon Sydney fans, and the nailbiting Grand Final was sealed with a Leo Barry mark. It’s amazing less than a goal separated these teams in consecutive Grand Finals and there was genuine tension between the Swans, the Eagles and the fans. Michael O’Loughlin (one of my favourite players) screaming into the faces on the boundary is an unshakable memory. But Leo Barry was the star as the Sydney players piled onto him as though their lives depended on it.
4. Heath Shaw’s smother
‘He came up behind him like a librarian’ was the quote Dennis Cometti immortalized this moment with. The famous smother in the goal square set the stage for Collingwood’s 2010 premiership in the last ever Grand Final replay. The fact it wasn’t a goal or a mark really sets this moment apart from other iconic ones.
3. Buddy Franklin owns Cale Hooker’s soul
We’re getting down to the nitty gritty here, and this is about as iconic of a goal that didn’t win a final as you’ll see. The bounces from the wing, the hard chase, the goal pressed up against the boundary line. Hard to believe it happened twice in the same game, but Franklin is just that sort of a player. If AFL were Topshop, there’d be the 100 goal celebration, the 12 second goal, the elimination final goal and probably 20 others. Whether he’s the best player of the last twenty years or not, he gets the player who gets the compliment – ‘he’s the one you buy the ticket to watch’.
2. Dom Sheed’s goal
The pressure. The angle. The biggest stage. Sinking Collingwood in this manner would be many footy fan’s dream come true, and Dom Sheed got to live it. The camera tells the story – Collingwood were the better team for most of the day, but being great when it matters is all history will remember. If Dom Sheed has to buy a beer in Western Australia for as long as he lives, it’s a crime.
Honorable mentions: there’s going to be a million mentions about what should/could/would be in, Nick Davis’ pack busting fourth goal to send Sydney to a final, the old ones that are in black and white, Shaun Smith’s mark, Stephen Silvagni’s mark, Mick McGuane’s 7 bounce goal, the Velvet Sledgehammer running through Brad Sewell, etc.
The moment that didn’t make the list that stands out for me is Darren Millane throwing the ball up after the siren sounds in the 1990 Grand Final. Not much to say about it, dude paid the ultimate price but the memory holds.
- Nicky Winmar points
The fact there isn’t video footage of this moment is amazing. A statue is in place, for one of the bravest stands against racism in our game. Australia, in my time (and opinion), is a late adopter to social change. Nicky Winmar’s stand in a St Kilda victory at Victoria Park would spark conversation that would ultimately lead to better practices and social change down the line. It would also be remiss not to mention the performance of Gilbert McAdam on that day, who had the ball on a string that day. However, the Winmar image should be seared into the memories of footy fans.