It was one of the great grand finals of the modern era.
No matter which side of the room you stood on, this game gave every footy fan in the country moments of utter joy and stunned disbelief.
Huge goals and bigger moments, towering marks and controversial decisions.
This was footy at its best — and these were the five moments that stood out in a match packed full of stunning moments.
1. Bailey boots a belter
Some grand final moments go down in history — win or lose — as an act of individual brilliance that will forever be etched in the minds of footy purists.
The Goddard mark. The Ottens tackle. The Shaw smother.
And this was Zac Bailey’s moment to scribble his name into the yellowing tome of Aussie Rules September magic.
Having kicked Brisbane’s first of the match on the run from a tight angle after a perfect Oscar McInerney tap, Bailey pulled a rabbit from his hat and a dove from his sleeve simultaneously with 5 minutes to go in the first quarter.
On another day, the umpire might have called for the 50m penalty as Bailey toed the line of the protected area around Mason Cox, but with no whistle blown, the nippy David to Cox’s Goliath dived forward and executed the perfect smoother.
With Joe Daniher collecting the spill and barrelling into the Isaac Quaynor tackle, the Sherrin tumbled into the hands of Bailey, who appeared to make things harder for himself as he ran to the boundary, backing himself to take on the lumbering Cox and the chasing Nathan Murphy.
Right, left, he twisted and turned, almost going over the boundary but staying in enough to keep the pill alive as the Magpies defenders clutched at fresh air.
Sprinting back into the danger area, he laid his slick right boot into the leather and perfectly curved the ball through the big sticks to give the Lions their first lead of the match.
It was a sign of the sorcery that would be sprinkled throughout the first half to come.
2. Hill climbs the mountain
With the Lions looking in relative control in a match where control was at a premium, Jeremy Howe streaked through the middle of the MCG and launched a long ball into the forward 50.
There were 6 minutes left, and Brisbane had a one-goal lead.
Running back with the flight of the ball was Brandon Starcevich, a nervous position for any defender, made all the more harrowing by the spectre of the dangerous Bobby Hill lurking behind.
With the sun in his eyes, the Lions backman did all he could to make contact with the pill, with one arm attempting to shade his face, the other reaching into the air.
And Hill took his moment.
Leaping high over the Lions’ back, Hill fumbled the ball slightly but controlled it to the ground in a magic moment that rivalled Bailey’s goal in the first quarter.
Sensing the enormity of the occasion, the small forward went back calmly, took his time, and nailed the set shot.
Scores tied. And the match was set up to be one of the greats.
3. Punch and counterpunch
To overlook the third quarter feels like a crime to AFL humanity, but we’ve got five spots to fill here and the final quarter could have filled all of them.
It was an oddly tentative last term as both teams looked desperate to not make the mistake that would cost them the game, but with five and half minutes left on the clock, the Lions struck.
With the ball in dispute on the wing, the Lions were the first to get clean hands on the pill, with Jarryd Lyons finding Jarrod Berry, who blind-turned around the reaching Nick Daicos.
Thumping it into the forward 50, Charlie Cameron and Brayden Maynard wrestled and fought for position, with the Lions magician turning his opponent inside out, tapping the ball along the ground, seeing off Isaac Quaynor, and desperately getting his left boot to ball to put his team in front amidst delirious Brisbane fans.
But it didn’t last long.
At the following bounce, Scott Pendlebury cleared the ball in a very Scott Pendlebury way, belting it towards the 50m mark and the waiting pack, where the crumbing Nick Daicos took it cleanly and handballed it quickly and clinically in a very Nick Daicos way, finding the open Jordan De Goey.
And dare we say, Jordan De Goey hammered the ball right through the middle of the goals in a very Jordan De Goey kind of way.
While Steele Sidebottom would kick the next goal from a 50m penalty, and Joe Daniher would answer after some Hugh McCluggage sparkle, it was the Cameron and De Goey punch and counterpunch that would ultimately feel like it decided the game.
4. Advantage? No, but play on
Wait a minute, let me rewind.
That 30-odd seconds of footy between the Cameron and De Goey goals would be the “football act” that felt like it decided the game.
Neutral and Lions fans alike would argue it was an umpire’s non-decision that really decided the game in the final minutes.
With the Daniher goal still fresh in memory, the Lions went on the attack once more — 1 minute and 22 seconds to break a 20-year drought.
Going low as he always does, Lachie Neale gathered the pill away from Oleg Markov, and looked to get the handball out as Markov’s tackle slipped low and took Neale’s legs away from him.
In what felt like a split second, the ball landed in Zac Bailey’s hands, the umpire blew the whistle for a tripping free kick, and Bailey got the kick away.
Advantage, play on.
In the umpire’s mind, Bailey had made the conscious decision to keep the ball moving. In the minds of almost everyone else not wearing black and white — or fluoro green — there was no advantage and Bailey had barely heard the whistle.
The ensuing kick would tumble towards a pack and eventually fall into Collingwood hands, instead of giving Neale a clean shot at a free kick into the forward 50.
There would be arguments for and against the call — but on the balance of opinion, the wrong call had been made.
5. Right in the feels
For all the marks, and the kicks, and the smothers, for all the bumps, and bruises, and bloody noses, it was an embrace after the final siren that brought it all home.
A dad and a son, together in pure jubilation and love for each other.
Peter Moore, the oh-so-close Collingwood legend who had starred on the big stage but never tasted ultimate glory, proudly hugging his boy, Darcy, the newly minted premiership captain and defensive hero.
As Peter handed the cup to Darcy, those overwhelming feelings of love could be felt through the air, and it would have been the stoniest of hearts to not feel something as it played out in front of the 100,000 fans.
Family and footy — at the end of it all, that was all that mattered.
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Source: AFL NEWS ABC