After The Siren Kicks – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

Relive some of the most memorable moments in AFL history, with The Pinch Hitters The Good The Bad and The Ugly of after the siren kicks.

Siren’s gone. The ball is in your hands with your team needing a goal to win. What schoolboy hasn’t played out the situation? Last year In we saw Robbie Gray and Jack Newnes live out the dream situation and become the 50th and 51st players in the VFL/AFL to win the game with a kick after the siren and this past weekend we saw Zac Bailey join them.

To celebrate their feats we have dug through the archives to find some of the more memorable occasions that players similarly had the result of the game resting on their boot after the siren. The stakes on the line are the reasons these moments live long in footy folklore. But for every Gray and Newnes celebration there are despairing memories for champions like Brad Johnson and Matthew Lloyd.

With that in mind we haven’t just captured the good but also some of the more painful after the siren moments. So we present to you The Pinch Hitters – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Celebration of After the Siren Kicks.

Malcolm Blight, North Melbourne v Carlton – 1976.

“Now Blight would have to kick this, oh, he’d have to kick it 85-90 metres. But he’s going to have a kick all right. It’s not over yet; what drama here at Princes Park!” Is how Michael Williamson, with a little bit of poetic license, set the scene for Malcolm Blight’s iconic after the siren kick at Princes Park in 1976.

With 28-minutes gone in the final quarter, Blight out-positioning Carlton’s Mark Maclure, to mark a hurried Mark Dawson kick on the edge of the centre square. As he quickly made his way back to drive it forward, the siren sounded leaving him to line up for goal from the centre wing.

Opting for a torpedo punt kick to give him the best chance of covering the distance, Blight let rip. While he may not have needed to cover 85-90 metres as Williamson dramatically positioned the kick, it looked likely to do just that from the moment it left his boot.

“It’s a big kick. It’s a MAMMOTH KICK! IT’S A GOAL!!!”

Blight didn’t just merely cover the distance, his shot sailed through at post height or higher. One of the most memorable moments in football history, this is the gold standard by which all after the siren kicks are measured.

Alastair Clarkson, North Melbourne v Melbourne – 1987.

As debuts go, Alastair Clarkson’s for North Melbourne in 1987 is hard to beat. While admitting he wasn’t entirely happy with his performance, Clarkson agreed that he couldn’t have dreamt of a better first game. “Certainly not. No way,” he told Stephen Phillips in the week following North Melbourne’s Round 15 defeat of Melbourne. “I was a bit disappointed with my game earlier. I could have picked up a few more kicks and possessions and I would have been happier [but] the finale to the game was unbelievable.”

The finale he referred to saw the then 19-year old take a diving mark on the half forward flank with his team four points down. As he prepared to make his approach from 40 metres out the siren sounded leaving the result of his debut match in his hands. In a season that his opponents would become far too accustomed with goals after the siren, Clarkson made no mistake and was the hero of his own ‘Boys Annual’ debut game.

Gary Ablett, Geelong v North Melbourne – 1994.

Rohan Connolly believes that the 1994 Preliminary Final between Geelong and North Melbourne is the greatest game of football ever played. Fitting then that it’s final act would see it decided by the man many believe to be the game’s greatest ever player.

Well held by Mick Martyn, Gary Ablett would prove the decisive figure on this day despite the best efforts of a younger champion at the other end of the ground. A 23-year-old Wayne Carey did everything bar get his team across the line in a six goal effort that announced to anybody yet to be convinced of his pending greatness.

Unfortunately for Martyn and Carey, despite their best efforts they could only watch on as the game, and a place in the Grand Final, was ripped away from them. With scores level and seconds on the clock, Martyn had front position as a Leigh Tudor attempted to curl the ball towards the Cats star. The perfectly weighted pass left the defender stranded as it made its way to the waiting Ablett.

As if preordained, the siren sounded almost as soon as the big crowd realised that Ablett would be kicking to win the match. He would make no mistake. For the second time in three weeks, the Cats had prevailed with a kick after the siren. With this one Ablett consigned the Kangaroos to a second of a trio of painful finals exits and booked his team a berth in the Grand Final.

What was your favourite after the siren kick? Be sure to join the conversation online by liking us on Facebook or following us on TwitterBetter yet, why not write for us?

Stephen Kernahan, Carlton v Essendon 1993.

The 1993 early season match-up between Essendon and Carlton, one of the most memorable of modern times, deserved the finish it received. For Stephen Kernahan, who had produced a supreme effort for the Blues, it wasn’t quite the finish he was after.

After three even quarters, the Blues led by one point entering the final term. While his final act is what is remembered from this match, he was the central player in the epic fourth quarter. With his fourth goal for the match he extended the lead to 13-points on its way to 17 with six minutes to play.

Remarkably, despite taking this advantage, they would actually trail the Bombers by seven points with two minutes to play. After a Jon Dorotich behind brought the margin to six points, Kernahan levelled the scores with his fifth goal. Moments later he would outmark three Bombers to have a chance to win the match after the siren.

Instead, he hit the behind post from forty metres out and the game was drawn. The highest scoring draw in the history of the competition. We doubt that was or ever has been consolation to Kernahan who went so close to dragging his to a remarkable victory.

Daniel Motlop, Port Adelaide v St Kilda – 2006

Poor Daniel Motlop. With the Power trailing by five points against St Kilda in Launceston, he took a spectacular mark 20 metres out from goal on a slight angle. With the siren sounding as he prepared to take his shot, he had the opportunity to win the game off his own boot. Never before, or since, has a player appeared less excited about the prospect.

As the siren sounded, Motlop winced as he became aware of the situation he had found himself in. Rather than excited by the prospect of winning the game, he was clearly dreading the prospect of losing it. There was little surprise then, despite the relatively easy nature of his shot, that his kick never looked on target and he was lucky to register a behind.

Isaac Smith, Hawthorn v Geelong – 2016

Acts and deeds on a football field are never more scrutinised or glorified than when they are performed in September. As a member of Hawthorn’s three-peat winning teams of 2014-16, this was something Isaac Smith knew only too well. Unfortunately, in 2016 he would end up on the wrong side of the spotlight.

Against Geelong, their most bitter modern day rival, Hawthorn had the opportunity to advance to a fifth consecutive Preliminary Final. After a see-sawing encounter, a third behind of the quarter for Stephen Motlop handed Hawthorn possession and one last chance for victory with 35 seconds on the clock.

With the ball passing through the hands of Birchall, Lewis, Burgoyne, Duryea and Breust, the Hawks willed the ball forward. Despite initially fluffing his lines, Breust recovered and drilled a pass to Smith inside forward fifty. It was too much for retiring Cat Corey Enright. As Smith prepared to take the kick after the siren, Enright was prone on the ground and unable to watch. His mood was considerably different when Smith’s after the siren shot missed to the right.

Which after the siren kick sticks out in your memory for all the wrong reasons? Be sure to join the conversation online by liking us on Facebook or following us on TwitterBetter yet, why not write for us?

Steven Baker, St Kilda v Fremantle – 2006

Remembered for all the wrong reasons, despite Steven Baker twice levelling the scores against Fremantle in Launceston, the result would be overturned in the days following the match. To the consternation of the Dockers players who had heard it, play continued after the siren was sounded by time keepers.

Felled after taking a running shot, Baker was given the opportunity to have the score nullified and retake his kick. With the siren now acknowledged by the umpires, he missed his second attempt too and the match was drawn – or so we thought. Fremantle had other ideas and, after challenging the result were awarded the win.

Simon Beasley, Footscray v Brisbane – 1988

AS bad as it must have been for Steven Baker to have had his game tying score revoked after the fact, at least he didn’t have to contend with a ground invasion while taking his shot. Unfortunately for Simon Beasley he wasn’t so lucky when he lined up for a difficult chance after the siren at Carrara in 1988.

While it might be surprising for young fans today who are not accustomed to the once traditional post game kick to kick on the arena, after the siren sounded on this day the ground was flooded with fans eager to have their moment in the middle. To their great delight, as they prepared for their own post siren kicks, Beasley missed his.

Malcolm Blight, North Melbourne v Hawthorn – 1977.

Running into an open goal at Arden, Malcolm Blight was infringed by a desperate Hawthorn defender. The impact enough to see his kick spray wide and register one behind. With the siren sounding behind them umpires Bill Deller and Neville Nash explained to Blight that he had the option of allowing the behind to stand or have it annulled and retake his kick.

The Kangaroo star took little time to make up his mind with the chance to win the game on offer from the edge of the goal square. Unfortunately for the mercurial Blight, he missed everything and his team lost the match by one point.

Which after the siren kick sticks out in your memory for all the wrong reasons? Be sure to join the conversation online by liking us on Facebook or following us on TwitterBetter yet, why not write for us?

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