The final siren of an AFL Grand Final is one of the most profoundly quintessential moments in footy – capturing shock, elation, devastation, and everything in between in a brief period that feels like forever. The fondest memories of many footy fans include the final sirens of victorious Grand Finals for their beloved clubs, but some stick out more than others – producing classic scenes that are etched in our memories long after the last fan trickles out of the stadium.
2005 – Sydney vs. West Coast
You absolutely can’t talk about memorable Grand Final moments without the name Leo Barry being uttered. His courageous defensive pack mark at the death of the game broke West Coast fans’ hearts while simultaneously causing the biggest sigh of relief of all time in the red and white camp. But there were a few things that made this such an iconic moment. The mark itself was brilliant – a good old-fashioned front of the pack mark leaving everyone sprawled on the grass. The thing that comes to mind for most is the commentary though, with “LEO BARRY YOU STAR!” becoming unforgettable in its sporadic nature that echoed what everyone was thinking. Pair that with Channel 10’s good old 5-minute warning and the 1-point margin, and you’ve got yourself more than a thrilling moment.
2017 – Richmond vs. Adelaide
It seemed like most were rooting for the Tigers to bring it home in 2017, and there came the moment in time with seconds left on the clock that everyone knew they’d broken the 37-year premiership drought. The camera focused on the Norm Smith medalist with seeming anticipation before the siren finally sounded, capturing Dusty running across the ground in euphoria following an emphatic victory to celebrate with his elated teammates who proceeded to fall to the ground in a jubilant embrace.
1990 – Collingwood vs. Essendon
This was a day that went down in Magpie history, seeing them break a 32-year premiership drought after dominating all day. Darren Millane was commonly described as the heart of the club and was a talented player who was revered by many kids growing up, and was in the team’s best that day – so it seemed fitting that the final siren sounded with the ball in his hands. That momentary scene of Darren tossing up the ball in victory lives on for many, especially since his tragic passing just a short year later.
2010 – Collingwood vs. St Kilda
Everyone remembers where they were when the final siren sounded on the 25th of September, 2010. After an arm wrestle all day, it looked like it could have gone either way as nothing separated the Pies and the Saints. The final siren sounded at the MCG as the ball found itself firmly on the grass under a pack, which is where many stayed upon realization that their efforts were futile and they were coming back next week– creating an iconic scene that we can all remember so clearly.
2006 – West Coast vs. Sydney
You couldn’t have written the script for the 2005 and 2006 premierships. Same teams, same margin. Different victors. And it was the latter that inspired one of the most iconic commentary calls on the final siren of West Coast’s 1-point victory over Sydney, as Anthony Hudson proclaimed the classic “who would have thought the sequel would be just as a good as the original?” line. Dean Cox is the first thing that comes to mind on screen, with his bent back double fist pump amidst his deflated opponents scattered on the ground a scene for the ages.
2004 – Port Adelaide vs. Brisbane
The final siren of this Grand Final was iconic more due to the coach, Mark Williams, rather than the players themselves. On his way down to the ground, realising that his team was about to make the breakthrough they’d been looking for, he was surrounded by security guards as he unapologetically started celebrating before the siren had sounded. And it was his next course of action that everyone remembers – standing on the side of the ground pulling his tie above his head in a choking gesture towards the crowd that was a direct response to everyone calling them chokers after the previous couple of years – a classic ‘up yours’ that brings a smile to the face no matter who you support.
1966 – St Kilda vs. Collingwood
A string of fateful factors came together to create iconic final siren scenes in 1966. The Saints managed to scrape a 1-point win over Collingwood to snare their very first (and only, to date) flag after a thriller, and pandemonium erupted in the stands and on the grounds after the timekeeper, who was an avid St Kilda fan, sounded the siren for a good 10 seconds.
2009 – Geelong vs. St Kilda
Just before the final siren sounded to finish off a tight contest against the Saints, the camera doesn’t even bother to stay on Max Rooke, who was lining up for a set shot. Instead, it cuts to the coaches’ box, where pandemonium erupts after the siren does sound. The glass of the window shakes as Mark Thompson gets on the table and jumps on top of his fellow staff, who have very little room to move amid the chaos.
2012 – Sydney vs. Hawthorn
After a hard fought contest, the Swans were up by 10 points when the final siren sounded, and not many Sydney fans will forget the iconic vision of Adam Goodes falling to his knees in a cascade of victorious emotion, enveloped by Bruce McAvaney’s majestic closing words.
1968 – Carlton vs. Essendon
After a high intensity battle, the Bombers’ captain, Don McKenzie, finds himself trapped on the ground with Carlton’s Adrian Gallagher on top of him and the ball. The final siren sounds to mark a 3-point win to the Blues, and Gallagher gets off to look for his teammates, leaving the defeated skipper lying on the ground, deflated. In a classic scene, the umpire comes over to console him as everyone celebrates around them.