1977 VFL Grand Final

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1977 VFL Grand Final
North Melbourne
Collingwood icon.svg
Date24 September 1977
Replay 1 October 1977
StadiumMelbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia
Broadcast in Australia
NetworkSeven Network
← 1976 VFL Grand Final 1978 →

The 1977 VFL Grand Final was an Australian rules football game contested between the North Melbourne Football Club and the Collingwood Football Club, held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne on 24 September 1977. It was the 81st annual Grand Final of the Victorian Football League, to determine the premiers for the 1977 VFL season.

The game ended in a draw, leading to a replay between the two teams one week later, on 1 October 1977 again at the MCG. North Melbourne won the replay by a margin of 27 points, that club's second premiership victory.


Collingwood entered this premiership game after a 7-year absence, having been defeated by Carlton in the 1970 VFL Grand Final. Its last premiership victory was the 1958 VFL Grand Final, 19 years earlier. In contrast, North Melbourne had contested the previous three premiership deciders, winning the 1975 VFL Grand Final but finishing runners-up in the 1974 and 1976 Grand Finals.

After finishing last place at the end of the 1976 season, Collingwood, under former Richmond coach Tom Hafey, had finished first on the ladder with 18 wins and 4 losses in 1977. North Melbourne had finished third (behind Hawthorn), with 15 wins and 7 losses.

In the finals series leading up to the Grand Final, North Melbourne lost to Hawthorn by 38 points in the Qualifying Final before defeating Richmond by 47 points in the First Semi-Final. They then met Hawthorn once again in the Preliminary Final, this time winning comfortably by 67 points to advance to the Grand Final. Collingwood advanced straight to the Grand Final on the back of a thrilling two-point win over Hawthorn in the Second Semi-Final.

The Magpies were without Phil Carman for the Grand Final, who had been suspended for two matches after he was found guilty of striking Hawthorn's Michael Tuck in the Second Semi-Final, and, regular defender Ian Cooper who had played the first 21 matches of the season before chipping an ankle bone.[1] North Melbourne were without captain Keith Greig, who missed two-thirds of the season with a knee injury.

First Grand Final[edit]

Team 1 2 3 Final
North Melbourne 4.4 4.10 4.15 9.22 (76)
Collingwood 1.5 4.8 9.12 10.16 (76)

The game, attended by 108,224 spectators, was only the second Grand Final in VFL/AFL history to end in a draw. The first draw was 1948 VFL Grand Final between Melbourne and Essendon. A third draw in VFL/AFL history occurred in the 2010 AFL Grand Final between Collingwood and St Kilda.

In 1977, Collingwood led by 27 points at three quarter time, helped by North Melbourne's inaccuracy in front of goal which saw them kick 13 successive behinds from the 24-minute mark of the first quarter. North's Arnold Briedis had a game to forget, kicking seven behinds for the match. Amazingly, the Kangaroos did not kick a goal in the second and third quarters.

But the Kangaroos came back in the final period to kick five unanswered goals, helped by coach Ron Barassi's move of defender Darryl Sutton to full-forward, who kicked the first goal of the term. A disastrous handpass by Collingwood's Phil Manassa to North's David Dench in the goal square led to another Kangaroos goal. Then in the dying minutes of the game, two goals to Phil Baker gave North the lead but they couldn't hold on, as Ross Dunne marked directly in front for Collingwood and goaled with just 40 seconds remaining to level the scores.[2]

Barassi said later "We should have won the game. I know that is a brave statement, but we did have five more scoring shots than Collingwood."

Coincidentally, on the same day as this match took place, the grand final replay for the 1977 NSWRFL season was held. The grand final, held the week before, finished in a 9-9 draw between St. George and Parramatta. Thus both major Australian football codes had a drawn grand final followed by a replay in 1977.

Grand Final replay[edit]

Team 1 2 3 Final
North Melbourne 5.5 9.12 15.19 21.25 (151)
Collingwood 3.4 8.7 12.7 19.10 (124)

The replay, attended by 98,491 spectators, was North's fifth consecutive finals match. It saw the Kangaroos leading throughout the match, with Briedis managing to turn things around to kick five goals.

North opened up a six-goal lead before a ten-minute burst by Collingwood reduced their half time lead to just 11 points. The Kangaroos then took a firm grip on the game in the third quarter.

Collingwood's Phil Manassa scored a memorable goal, running down the wing from the half-back line, bouncing the ball four times. He left Brownlow medallist, Malcolm Blight in his wake.[3] This goal has since been commemorated by the AFL by awarding the Phil Manassa Medal to the winner of each year's Goal of the Year.

Peter Moore kicked five goals in this game for the Magpies, following his four goals in the first Grand Final.

This was Collingwood's fifth loss in a Grand Final since their last win in 1958.

Television coverage[edit]

This was the first Grand Final to be televised live in Victoria by the Seven Network, The network paid $500,000 to telecast the game and another $500,000 for the replay. It was a rating winner drawing ca. 1.5 million viewers, the greatest daytime audience in Australian television history at the time.[citation needed]


N. Melbourne
North Melbourne
B: 34 Ross Henshaw 23 David Dench (a/c) 30 Frank Gumbleton
HB: 13 Gary Cowton 5 Darryl Sutton 12 Ken Montgomery
C: 2 Stan Alves 25 Xavier Tanner 20 Wayne Schimmelbusch (a/vc)
HF: 36 Steven Icke 15 Malcolm Blight 6 Arnold Briedis
F: 8 Brent Crosswell 29 Phil Baker 3 John Cassin
Foll: 1 Peter Keenan 21 John Byrne 9 Barry Cable
Res: 16 Stephen McCann 35 Bill Nettlefold
Coach: Ron Barassi
B: 38 Robert Hyde (dvc) 27 Kevin Worthington 34 Doug Gott / 7 Chris Perry*
HB: 24 Andrew Ireland 25 Billy Picken 31 Phil Manassa
C: 43 Ricky Barham 3 Stan Magro 13 Wayne Gordon
HF: 18 Wayne Richardson 12 Ross Dunne 21 Graeme Anderson
F: 30 Peter Moore 36 Rene Kink 23 Ray Shaw
Foll: 2 Len Thompson (vc) 1 Max Richardson (c) 5 Ronald Wearmouth
Res: 11 Gerald Betts 15 Shane Bond
Coach: Tom Hafey

* Chris Perry replaced Doug Gott (knee) for the Grand Final Replay

Goal kickers[edit]

Grand Final[edit]

North Melbourne

  • Baker 6
  • Dench 2
  • Sutton 1


  • Moore 4
  • Kink 2
  • Anderson 1
  • Barham 1
  • Dunne 1
  • Shaw 1

Grand Final Replay[edit]

North Melbourne

  • Briedis 5
  • Baker 3
  • Blight 2
  • Byrne 2
  • Cable 2
  • Crosswell 2
  • Schimmelbusch 2
  • Cassin 1
  • Icke 1
  • Tanner 1


  • Moore 5
  • Manassa 3
  • Barham 2
  • Dunne 2
  • Gordon 2
  • Anderson 1
  • Kink 1
  • Ireland 1
  • W.Richardson 1
  • Wearmouth 1


  1. ^ Collingwood Cult Figures: Ian Cooper
  2. ^ Sheahan, Mike (26 September 1977). "Finally... just Frustration". The Age. Archived from the original on 13 September 2009. Retrieved 21 June 2009.
  3. ^ History's Best Grand Final Goals

External links[edit]

  • Article on the 1977 Grand Final at The Roar

See also[edit]