|Date: Saturday September 26, 1987||Result: Win by 33 points|
|Umpires: I.Robinson & R.Sawers||Crowd: 92,754|
|Goalkickers: C.Bradley 3, S.Kernahan 3, W.Johnston 2, J.Dorotich 1, A.Gleeson 1, K.Hunter 1, W.McKenzie 1, P.Meldrum 1, F.Murphy 1, M.Naley 1.|
|Best: D.Rhys-Jones, W.Johnston, J.Madden, D.Glascott, S.Silvagni, M.Naley, T.Alvin.|
|Reports: Wayne Johnston (Striking Robert Dipierdomenico), Justin Madden (Striking Michael Tuck) - 2 Matches each.|
David Rhys-Jones against Hawk Champ Dermott Brereton, and finally – it was bloody hot.
To this day, the 1987 Grand Final remains the hottest Grand Final on record. It was one of those hot and blowy Melbourne days, often attributed to February but actually in September. It was so hot not only did the perenially sleeved Stephen Silvagni bare his arms, but so too did Hawk Michael Tuck. The top temperature was 30.7 degrees, breaking the previous record heat for the 1944 Grand Final which was just a shade under 30 degrees. Incidentally, on that day Fitzroy won their last ever stand-alone Premiership, this one at Princes Park. Some 52 years later the ‘Roys would merge, or perhaps more correctly be merged, with the Brisbane Bears. But more importantly back to Carlton…
The 20 Blues that would take the 1987 Flag were as follows:
|B:||43 Mick Kennedy||1 Stephen Silvagni||35 Peter Dean|
|HB:||22 Ian Aitken||26 David Rhys-Jones||31 Tom Alvin|
|C:||38 Shane Robertson||21 Craig Bradley||32 David Glascott|
|HF:||23 Paul Meldrum||4 Stephen Kernahan (c)||3 Richard Dennis|
|F:||9 Ken Hunter||6 Jon Dorotich||30 Fraser Murphy|
|Ruck:||44 Justin Madden (vc)||7 Wayne Johnston||17 Mark Naley|
|Int:||12 Adrian Gleeson||45 Warren McKenzie|
Alan Jones (Australia's national rugby coach) spoke to the players during the week leading up to the Grand Final and urged them to take the game minute-by-minute, to not be frustrated by previous events in the match, but to focus on how they could best help the team for the rest of the game. After Daryl Somers had sung the National Anthem, 1987 Wimbledon champion and Hawk fan Pat Cash tossed the coin. Hawthorn won and kicked to the scoreboard end (also known at the time as the Richmond or Railway End). As far as omens go, some of the more fanatic fans may have viewed this as a positive – for Olivia Newton John, a Carlton fan, was involved in the pre-game festivities in 1986 and we ended up losing.
Perhaps a better omen was at the opening bounce of the first quarter; a bounce that never really took place. Blue Wayne Johnston correctly pointed out to umpire Robinson that Hawthorn had five players in the square immediately preceding the bounce. Although the resulting free kick was marked by Ken Hunter up forward and his shot on goal drifted wide, the Blues appeared on their mettle and set for revenge.
About two minutes in, The Dominator scored our first goal after a trip against Andy Collins (Johnno also scored our opening goal in the 1982 Grand Final win against Richmond). Minutes later, Johnston was reported for elbowing Dipierdomenico in what was an eventful quarter for the 4-time Premiership player - Johnston sent out a clear message that the Blues were going to be hard at the ball and the man. In between and shortly after, both teams seemed to be gearing up but missing shots on goal, with behinds to Meldrum, Dorotich and Naley matched by Hawk minors to Curran and Schwab. Johnston’s amazing opening continued with his second goal, after Madden tackled Schwab and the ball spilled out to be collected by the Dominator, who launched from inside 50 and split the big sticks. Two minutes later Kenny Hunter converted a another mark inside 50 for a goal. We could have jumped further ahead if not for some contentious umpiring; the goal umpire said the Kernahan had marked over the line and a behind was paid, and then field umpire Robertson refused to pay a holding the man free to Dorra in our forward line. In anger, Dorra gave a free kick away and in the ensuing few minutes, Kennedy (after stealing Ian Aitken's mark), Platten and Dipper all scored majors and Madden was reported. A further goal after the siren to the Hawks and after a brilliant start, the Blues were down at quarter time.
The Hawks didn't have the lead for long as the Blues came out of the break with gusto, scoring majors through Craig Bradley after a handpass from Ken Hunter and one to Dorra after an uncharacteristic fumble from Hawk great Garry Ayres. A succession of behinds and tight play characterised the next 20 minutes, before Stephen Kernahan slotted the next major; the captain didn't take the ball in his hands but soccered it through instead. After being down at quarter time, our three goals to the Hawks 0.7 saw us in front at the main break. Viewers at the ground were treated to the annual Grand Final Sprint, although many at the day only remember the Speedo models accompanying the race.
The third quarter was a rather even affair but the Blues maintained their ascendancy. Goals to the captain (after a mark), Braddles (on the run) and Paul Meldrum (after a lucky bounce at the top of the goal square) were matched by Hawthorn goals to Curran and Greg Dear. It was still hot, the Blues had had a week off in the finals and now we were 17 points up going into the last break.
Some games are won and lost well before the last quarter. Others are won and lost in small periods of time where one team flexes their muscles and pounces. The 1987 Grand Final was the latter, with the Blues taking the game early in the last quarter with a spectacular run of goals to boil our Blue coloured Blood to fever pitch. First, 'Bear' Gleeson roved the pack and kicked a goal; next fellow mosquito Mark Naley roved the pack, completed a dodge, took a bounce and roosted a major. The third of four heart-pounding goals in succession went to Kernahan with a massive long kick and finally Warren McKenzie with his third mark, successfully converted. The Blues were romping away and a few late goals to the Hawks would not pull us back. Our final goal of the day went to Fraser Murphy after a deft tap by Adrian Gleeson, and as the siren sounded at 29 minutes 27 seconds, the Blues had won their 15th Premiership.
And one final footnote...the press of the time was full of praise for coach Robert Walls and his move to put David Rhys-Jones on to Derm the Germ Brereton. Rhys-Jones led Brereton to the ball and matched him for strength and was a key player to the game. In the end it was no surprise that 'Rhys' won the Norm Smith for 1987.
For the full statistics of this game, click here.
Semi Final | 1988