|Date: Saturday 18 September, 1999||Result: Win by 1 Point|
|Umpires: Coates, Harvey, Allen||Crowd: 80,519|
|Goalkickers: Hamill, Whitnall 3, Brown, Koutoufides, Lappin 2, Allan, Camporeale, Manton, Massie 1|
|Reports: Aaron Hamill for rough conduct (Kneeing Dean Wallis) - Not Guilty on appeal|
Game ReviewThis match was expected to be a cakewalk for the Bombers. After all, with quality on every line – Fletcher, Wellman, Long, Alessio and Lloyd as the goal to goal line, how could you go wrong? Even though several members of Carlton’s great 1995 Premiership Team were still in the navy blue, Essendon – the minor premier – were widely tipped to march into the Grand Final against the Kangaroos. But what transpired on 18 September 1999 will go down in VFL/AFL history as one of the great finals of all time.
Carlton jumped the Bombers with the first two goals – one to Glenn Manton, who had been delisted by the Bombers in 1994 before being drafted by Carlton. Essendon’s Matthew Lloyd – himself the son of former Carlton player John Lloyd – got one back, before Aaron Hamill would kick the Blues further in front. By quarter time, Carlton had 6 different goalkickers, and led by 16 points – Essendon having peppered the Carlton defence for 3 behinds in the last few minutes.
The second quarter was one long stalemate. Hamill goaled after young Bomber Mark Johnson played on from a mark in the defensive 50 and turning it over before some 20 minutes without a goal. The Bombers were throwing away some gettable chances though – Lloyd shanked a shot from 15 metres out, straight in front, Michael Long hit the post and Dustin Fletcher took too little time to settle before kicking. Lance Whitnall kicked Carlton’s second goal of the term nearing halftime, and the Blues went in at the break 4 goals in front – defying all odds.
The third quarter was what most had expected to see from the Bombers. Darren Bewick sparked a quick succession of goals that left the Blues flat and behind only 9 minutes into the term. Essendon streaked to an almost three-goal lead before Carlton hit back. Matthew Allan scouted a pack for one of Carlton’s only two goals for the term – the other to Scott Camporeale two minutes before three quarter time. At the break, the Bombers – with 11 more scoring shots – were only 11 points in front. Stephen Silvagni took it upon himself to rev up the Blues for one big effort to deny their rivals a shot at a record-equalling 16th premiership.
Unfortunately for Carlton, Steven Alessio goaled for the Bombers two minutes in. Some teams may have rolled over and died at this point, but Carlton would not. They were inspired by Anthony Koutoufides, who was everywhere in the final term. Fraser Brown would jink left, jink right, kick a goal to give the Blues heart before Koutoufides took a big mark in the forward 50 and converted. Matthew Lappin added another goal minutes later (thanks to a mistake from his direct opponent Damien Hardwick) and Carlton would take the lead. Minutes later Koutoufides would take a massive mark in the goalsquare and put Carlton 7 points in front. It was at this point that Gerard Healy came up with one of the great pieces of commentary:
“They’ve got to match up Kouta here. He could rip their hearts out.”
It wasn’t over yet…Matthew Lloyd kicked 2 miracle goals in a minute to put Essendon back in front. Enter Matthew Hogg. The ex-Bulldog had spent the first half on the bench before coming on to tag Bewick in the third term. His fresh legs and delivery skills brought the ball to Aaron Hamill 50 metres out. He landed the goal and Carlton were back in front. A few minutes later, a clearence ended with Hogg again who found Lance Whitnall 50 metres out on a tight angle. After almost a minute scouting the options, Whitnall lined up to kick for goal. Drew Morphett rode the ball home:
“It starts right…it Swings Back…WHAT A GOAL!!!”
On ABC radio Tim Lane (a Carlton supporter) chimed in with "Arise Sir Lancelot".
Whitnall’s goal put the Blues 8 points up, 104-96. Koutoufides drove the Blues forward again from the centre bounce, but the Essendon defence held firm. Eventually, Alessio held a juggling mark over Camporeale on the wing, played on quickly and the ball found Mark Johnson, who outmarked Ben Nelson and goaled to bring the margin back to 2 points. Again, Koutoufides got the ball forward for Carlton, but again it was cleared. With 90 seconds left on the clock, Johnson threw the ball to Joe Misiti, who forwarded for Essendon. The ball spilt out of the pack – Mark Mercuri gathered – shot at goal – the ball rolled…rolled…across the goalsquare for one point. One point was the difference.
55 seconds left – the kickout was strongly marked by Bomber Barry Young. He sent the ball back inside 50 to a massive pack. Dean Rice cleared – straight to Dean Wallis, who had knocked Mil Hanna out in the 1993 Grand Final to set the Bombers on their way to victory in that match. Wallis tried to get around Fraser Brown, but couldn’t – Brown dragged him down with a tackle made from sheer determination. Justin Murphy picked up the loose ball, ran away from the Essendon forward line before kicking short to Brett Ratten who marked and passed it back to Murphy with 15 seconds left. Murphy was content to let the clock run down to 0, and there it was – CARLTON WERE IN THE 1999 GRAND FINAL!
Every player had played his part in the win, and the against-all-odds win ranks as one of Carlton’s greatest moments – it is certainly Carlton’s greatest non-Premiership moment. Not one person of the 80,519 present at the MCG that day will ever forget it.
Historical Post-script: At the end of season 2008, the last member of this team would finish up in the AFL, being Kris Massie (noting Fevola was only an emergency for this game). Massie had not been offered a contract by the Crows, Massie's second AFL team.
|B:||23 Dean Rice||1 Stephen Silvagni (vc)||15 Ben Nelson|
|HB:||5 Andrew McKay||43 Anthony Koutoufides||21 Craig Bradley (c)|
|C:||14 Michael Sexton||7 Brett Ratten||3 Kris Massie|
|HF:||36 Aaron Hamill||8 Lance Whitnall||18 Justin Murphy|
|F:||12 Matthew Lappin||22 Glenn Manton||29 Simon Beaumont|
|Ruck:||24 Matthew Allan||20 Fraser Brown||16 Scott Camporeale|
|33 Matthew Hogg, 39 Ang Christou, 30 Adam White, 31 Simon Fletcher|
|Emg:||Brett Backwell||Brendan Fevola||Ron De Iulio|
|Out:||Adrian Hickmott (hamstring)|
Video Clips From The GameFraser Brown's Match Saving Tackle
Kouta Takes Another Saving Mark
Semi Final | Grand Final