Friday, August 4, 2017


Carrara Oval, Gold Coast Australia, in the
 southeastern corner of Queensland
            1992 was the 96th season of VFL/AFL footy. For round seven, Geelong traveled to Carrara Oval just south of Brisbane for a match against the Brisbane Lions. The Cats got off to a bit of a slow start on the season, losing their first two matches to Hawthorn and Melbourne despite scoring over 100 points. Their round six win over Fitzroy saw them kick 25 goals and score 175 points in a 98-point win over the Lions.

            Brisbane began play in the (then) VFL in 1986 and was in the process of losing $10 million total during the 90-91-92 AFL seasons. Poor on-field play as well as insufficient public transportation meant the team wasn’t drawing well. Rumors of relocation and/or mergers swirled around the team. Coming into round seven, they had won once and lost three, and managed a draw against a West Coast squad that had a decent year.

            This was a bit of the backdrop against which history would be made.

Gary Ablett, Sr. kicked nine goals in the Cats' big win over Brisbane.
 He played 248 games, mostly with Geelong, and in
four Grand Finals. He was named to the AFL Team of the Century in 1996.
            The Cats got off to a fast start by kicking seven goals and leading 46-14 at quarter time. The lead would stretch to 89 points at the half, as Brisbane kicked just two behinds. The Bears would kick five goals in the third term but Geelong had eight major scores to lead 152-50 at the last change. What’s phenomenal is the Cats scored 14 goals (fourteen!) in the final quarter to lead by 163 points when Bill Brownless kicked a behind at the very end of the game for a 239-75 win over the Lions. Gary Ablett the elder kicked nine goals, Paul Brown added six, and four others kicked three apiece. John Hutton pitched in eight of Brisbane’s 11 goals on the night.

            The 239 points became a league record for most points scored in a game by a team, beating out Fitzroy’s 238 in a win over Melbourne in 1979. So Brownless’ minor tally set the record, which still stands today.

            Now before you wonder about Geelong running up the score, they lit up the scoreboard regularly in 1992. They put up 210 the following week against Adelaide and 181 the next. Their percentage for the season was an astounding 145.64, which means the Cats scored that many points for every 100 scored by their opponents. Geelong had the same regular-season record (16-6) as Footscray and Collingwood, so by virtue of having the highest percentage they took the #1 seed going into the postseason. That meant they could lose once in the playoffs and not be eliminated, a privilege earned by the top two teams during the home-and-away season.

            Geelong would need that double chance because they would lose to West Coast in the semifinals. The Cats then beat Footscray the following week in the Preliminary Final, earning a Grand Final rematch with West Coast. The Eagles earned their first premiership with a strong second half, winning by 28 points.

            It’s pretty wild that they’d win the big trophy despite drawing against a poor Brisbane side early in the season. You just never know.

            As for Carrara Oval, officials poured a boatload of cash into renovations in 2009-11 and it’s now known as Metricon Stadium, where the Gold Coast Suns play home games.

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