|Date: September 29, 1979||Result: Win by 5 points|
|Umpires: Deller, Smith||Crowd: 113,545|
|Goalkickers: K.Sheldon 3, M.Maclure 2, J.Buckley 2, P. Jones, W.Harmes, M.Young, P.Francis|
|Best: Johnston, Harmes, Doull, Francis, Fitzpatrick, Buckley, Armstrong|
|Reports: Trevor Keogh (jumping into Russell Ohlsen) - Reprimand, Rene Kink (spitting on Alex Jesaulenko) - 6 matches|
|Inaugural Norm Smith Medallist: Wayne Harmes|
This was the Grand Final to make up for the many bitter disappointments of the curiously unproductive mid 70s where we were dubbed "The Professionals" by Lou Richards and almost always had the best team on paper but just couldn't go on and produce the results in the finals or just missed the finals altogher.
This was the Grand Final where as Jesaulenko (the last man to successfully Captain-Coach as side to a Premiership) said in his famous interview with Ron Casey on World of Sport the day after this epic encounter "I gave the boys jobs and they went out and did them".
Jezza had the courage to move himself out of the centre and swing a young pocket battleship in Wayne Harmes into the middle and where it looked like we would finish the first half of that game without a goal he created the spark which created 5 goals from the 19 minute mark of the second quarter for us to actually steal the lead at half-time.
But our man Wayne Harmes was not done there, in the last quarter with the game still in the balance he chased down his errant kick from the half forward line and in the immortal words of Peter Landy "he was almost as quick as the kick" he dived at the ball and according to Eddie McGuire's memory of it slapped it back into play from the foyer of the Hilton Hotel in Wellington Parade, to the waiting arms of Ken Sheldon in the goals square who popped it through.
As I recall the players were so muddy I thought that it was a Collingwood defender who actually rushed it through for a behind until my cousin who was with me yelled into my ear "Sheldon goaled, Sheldon goaled". In fact, this is remembered as one of the most controversial on-field events in our history; a theme explored in a Blueseum exclusive article available here.
Some people (mainly Collingwood supporters) unfairly thought that Harmes was awarded the Norm Smith based on the knock-on to Sheldon, as well as the fact being a descendant of the great man Norm Smith. Harmes was the catalyst in the second quarter that stung the Blues back into action and, if not for this role he played in the second quarter the game may have been well and truly over for Carlton at half time.
There was one last drama to unfold as McConville was not paid a mark late in the game and Allan Edwards (who played for 3 clubs but whose son would be drafted by Carlton 26 years later) swooped on the ball and goaled, with only a kick in it at that stage I was sure we were going to lose it and the misery of those unproductive years through the 70s came back to haunt me. But I needn't have worried as the siren went not long after and I recalled the euphoria which was heightened by the 2 bottles of champagne we managed to smuggle in was something I have never forgotten.
Not bad really a 17 year old getting into the Grand Final at the MCG on an Junior Ticket indulging in a post match bottle of champagne.
It was yet another victory over arch rivals Collingwood by less than a kick, to take them to just one premiership behind. President George Harris remarked during the post-match celebrations that the only thing better than beating Collingwood by 10 goals was beating them by 5 points!
|B:||37 Wayne Harmes||20 Geoff Southby||43 David McKay|
|HB:||33 Peter McConville||11 Bruce Doull||22 Robbert Klomp|
|C:||47 Peter Francis||25 Alex Jesaulenko (cc)||19 Michael Young|
|HF:||7 Wayne Johnston||36 Mark Maclure (dvc)||8 Trevor Keogh|
|F:||3 Mike Fitzpatrick||41 Peter Brown||5 Ken Sheldon|
|Ruck:||28 Peter Jones (vc)||12 Barry Armstrong||16 Jim Buckley|
|Int:||21 Rod Austin||34 Alex Marcou|
Wayne Harmes taps ball back from boundary
Inaugural Norm Smith Medallist: Wayne Harmes
Last game (Retirement): Peter Jones who would retire to become Coach of the Blues in Season 1980
Last game (For Carlton): Alex Jesaulenko
Score Records: This was only the second game all year in which Carlton did not hit 100 points
Rivalries: This was the fifth grand final between these great foes; and Carlton's fourth of 5 consecutive Grand Final wins - to this day - over Collingwood
Listen to 3KZ's call of the 1979 Grand Final
Blues celebrate 1979 Premiership.
Semi Final | 1980