1999 AFL Grand Final
|1999 AFL Grand Final|
The Melbourne Cricket Ground, where the 1999 AFL Grand Final took place.
|Date||25 September 1999|
|Stadium||Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|Umpires||Scott McLaren, Andrew Coates, Brett Allen|
|Coin toss won by||Kangaroos|
|Kicked toward||Punt Road end|
|Pre-match entertainment||Human Nature|
|National anthem||Human Nature|
|Norm Smith Medallist||Shannon Grant (Kangaroos)|
|Jock McHale Medallist||Denis Pagan|
|Broadcast in Australia|
|Commentators||Bruce McAvaney, Sandy Roberts and Ian Robertson|
The 1999 AFL Grand Final was an Australian rules football game contested between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Carlton Blues at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 25 September 1999. It was the 103rd annual Grand Final of the Australian Football League (formerly the Victorian Football League), staged to determine the premiers for the 1999 AFL season. The match, attended by 94,228 spectators, was won by North Melbourne by a margin of 35 points (the second consecutive year in which the premiership decider was determined by that margin). It was North Melbourne's fourth and (as of 2017) most recent premiership victory.
It was not a Grand Final matchup that was widely anticipated prior to the finals, with the top placed Essendon Bombers clearly the standout team of the home & away season and heavily backed to reach the Grand Final against another top four aspirant. While the second placed Kangaroos filled its end of the bargain to qualify for the premiership playoff, the sixth placed Carlton Blues upset the Bombers to qualify as their Grand Final opponents in one of the biggest boilovers in finals history.
The Kangaroos finished the 1999 home and away season in second position with 17 wins and 5 losses, a game behind Essendon, with the Western Bulldogs, West Coast, Carlton, Port Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney making up the final eight. Carlton had finished with a record of 12 wins and ten losses, becoming only the second club (after Melbourne in 1900) to reach the Grand Final after finishing sixth on the ladder.
The Kangaroos progressed to the Grand Final after a 45-point win over Brisbane in the Preliminary Final. Carlton's unexpected Preliminary Final win against Essendon meant that the Kangaroos went into the Grand Final as heavy favourites.
|B:||28 Byron Pickett||12 John Blakey||4 Mick Martyn|
|HB:||15 Winston Abraham||11 Glenn Archer||13 Martin Pike|
|C:||7 Adam Simpson||26 Peter Bell||6 Shannon Grant|
|HF:||33 Brett Allison||18 Wayne Carey (c)||29 Brent Harvey|
|F:||24 Craig Sholl||31 Corey McKernan||19 Cameron Mooney|
|Foll:||16 Matthew Capuano||34 David King||10 Anthony Stevens|
|Int:||44 Shannon Motlop||23 Shane Clayton||35 John Longmire|
|30 Scott Welsh|
|B:||14 Michael Sexton||43 Anthony Koutoufides||39 Ang Christou|
|HB:||21 Craig Bradley (c)||1 Stephen Silvagni||23 Dean Rice|
|C:||15 Ben Nelson||7 Brett Ratten||18 Justin Murphy|
|HF:||29 Simon Beaumont||8 Lance Whitnall||5 Andrew McKay|
|F:||36 Aaron Hamill||22 Glenn Manton||12 Matthew Lappin|
|Foll:||24 Matthew Allan||20 Fraser Brown||16 Scott Camporeale|
|Int:||3 Kris Massie||9 Adrian Hickmott||33 Matthew Hogg|
|45 Anthony Franchina|
Carlton scored the first goal through Brett Ratten, and the large contingent of Carlton supporters in the crowd erupted sensing their team was on the verge of another upset - but North Melbourne, who were without suspended defender Jason McCartney, also started well and soon steadied to lead by 12 points at quarter time. Carlton fought back in the second quarter to regain the lead with goals by Fraser Brown, Scott Camporeale and Matthew Lappin, and it looked like the Blues had the momentum until Kangaroos ruckman Corey McKernan booted two inspirational goals, the first from 65 metres out and the second from a tight angle just a minute later. The Kangaroos had regained control and went into half time with a 20-point lead.
North Melbourne extended their lead in the third quarter when Winston Abraham kicked an easy goal and Carlton midfielder Justin Murphy injured his knee. The Blues managed to reduce the deficite to just 13 points, but that was as close as they could get, as the Kangaroos added goals through McKernan and Shannon Motlop which regained their control of the match. It seemed that whatever Carlton tried was failing when Lappin turned it over running towards goal, which resulted in a Peter Bell goal to the Kangaroos and an eventual 43 point lead at three quarter time.
The last quarter was a rather pedestrian affair. Early goals to Bell and Motlop cemented the North Melbourne victory, before Carlton were allowed some late goals to somewhat reduce the margin. In the end, despite both teams having 29 scoring shots, the Kangaroos ran out 35 point winners. Carlton’s best was probably Stephen Silvagni, who kept Wayne Carey to just 2 goals. But winners on the day were hard to find for Carlton, who in the eyes of many had already played their 'Grand Final' the week before. The Kangaroos’ Shannon Grant, won the Norm Smith Medal for best on ground with 19 possessions and 4 goals. Grant had come under heavy criticism for his performance in the previous grand final, which the Kangaroos had lost. After missing out on a wonderful opportunity against Adelaide in 1998, the Kangaroos had redeemed themselves by taking the 1999 flag.
|Kangaroos vs Carlton|
|Kangaroos||3.3 (21)||9.4 (58)||15.6 (96)||19.10 (124)|
|Carlton||1.3 (9)||5.8 (38)||7.11 (53)||12.17 (89)|
|Venue:||Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|Date:||25 September 1999 – 2:30PM AEST|
|Umpires:||McLaren, Coates, Allen|
|Goal scorers:||Kangaroos||4: Bell, Grant
2: Abraham, Carey, Motlop
1: Sholl, Welsh
|Carlton||2: Camporeale, Lappin, Whitnall
1: Allan, Beaumont, Brown, Hamill, Ratten, Rice
|Best:||Kangaroos||Grant, Picket, Martyn, Archer, Bell, Capuano, Simpson|
|Carlton||McKay, Camporeale, Lappin, Rice, Ratten, Sexton|
|Injuries:||Carlton: Murphy (knee)|
|Coin toss winner:||Kangaroos (Punt Road end)|
|Norm Smith Medal:||Shannon Grant|
|Australian television broadcaster:||Seven Network|
|National Anthem:||Human Nature|
As of 2016, this was the last time either Carlton or the Kangaroos have appeared in a Grand Final.
For the seasons minor premiers, Essendon, it was a bitter pill to swallow that they were unable to compete in this Grand Final. Coach Kevin Sheedy forced the Essendon playing group to attend the match as spectators to ponder 'what might have been'. They would go on to have their own success just a year later in the 2000 AFL Grand Final.
While Carlton's unexpected feat of reaching the Grand Final in 1999 has undoubtably gone into Australian Football folklore, the finals system at the time was widely criticised for allowing a team that had finished as low as 6th to reach the Grand Final after losing its first finals match (a similar instance also occurred the year prior, with the 5th placed Adelaide Crows advancing on to ultimately win the 1998 premiership despite losing in the first week of the finals). Carlton were beaten by the Brisbane Lions in the qualifying final, yet still progressed to the second week of the finals to play the West Coast Eagles. This match, which was won by Carlton, also created a lot of controversy as the Eagles, who subsequently finished a place higher than Carlton and won its first finals match, had earned the right to host the final in Perth, yet were forced to play the match at the MCG due to a contractual agreement with the AFL that required at least one match to be played at that venue every week of the finals.
The AFL acted quickly, and in season 2000 the finals system was changed, requiring the need for teams that finished between 5th-8th after the home & away season needing to win all their finals matches to reach the Grand Final (a loss in any week would see them eliminated). The MCG finals contract was also renegotiated, with only the Grand Final to be committed to the MCG, freeing up higher ranked teams to be able to host finals matches in their home state should they be entitled to. This finals system has been in place ever since, with only one team reaching the Grand Final from below 4th position since the change (The Western Bulldogs in 2016, who made the Grand Final after finishing 7th on the ladder, yet did so without losing any finals and ultimately went on to win the premiership).