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How Buddy took us back to 1981

Mark Macgugan  April 15, 2013 6:11 PM

Leaping Lance v twinkle toes Timmy We compare Lance Franklin's brilliant hurdle on the weekend to Tim Watson's 1981 special
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Lance Franklin celebrates a goal during the Hawks' big win over the Collingwood

It was just one of those great moments that you witness in games from time to time
THEY were two memorable moments separated by over 30 years, but united in their similarities and so certain to be forever linked from here on in.

When Lance Franklin leapt over teammate Ben Stratton at full pace and booted a booming, running goal during Hawthorn's 55-point win over Collingwood on Sunday, long-time football watchers immediately called up memories of Tim Watson's famous goal in the 1981 night series Grand Final.

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The features of the two match up almost perfectly: third quarter, slippery conditions, tight scoreline, opponents in hot pursuit, and distinguished by the graceful, effortless leap.

Importantly, too, both proved catalysts for stirring victories.

Those trying to mount a case that the big Hawk's goal was superior can fall back on two points: his had extra distance – he kicked from around 55 metres, Watson from closer to 30 – and it came directly from a torpedoed Brent Guerra kick-in.

In all, the ball took just 12 seconds to travel from Guerra's hands to Hawthorn's goal, bringing the MCG crowd to its feet.

This made it extra memorable in the eyes of Watson, who was covering Sunday's game for channel seven.

"You could see the whole thing unfold in the way that it did, and it was just extraordinary," the 307-game former Essendon champion told AFL.com.au on Monday.

"It was just one of those great moments that you witness in games from time to time."

Stratton, who had marked Guerra's long kick-in and handballed to Franklin before forming a human hurdle when tackled to the ground by Magpie Sam Dwyer, remembers the streaking Franklin as merely a brown and gold flash.

"It (Guerra's kick) was one of those wobbly ones; he didn't flush it, so it wasn't spinning that well, but it just kept going," Stratton recalled on Monday.

"I was going to just tap it behind me, but it sort of fell in my lap.

"I knew there was a bit of space out the back, so I took off.

"Then I got caught but I saw a flash, and it was Buddy.

"I thought, 'Might as well give it, it's Buddy', and he finished off.

"I was still lying on the ground when the goal went through."

Watson has few memories of his own leap and goal, except it was in boggy conditions at Waverley, and he had Carlton champion Wayne Harmes hot on his hammer.

"I've seen it a few times, but it's just instinctive, like 'Buddy' did yesterday," he said.

"You're running and you have to clear somebody, you have to jump, and that's exactly what happened when I did it.

"All those things just happen in the blink of an eye.

"You don't plan for it, you don't think about it, you just react."

So which was better?

Stratton's vote is with his teammate.

"Obviously I'd say Buddy's was better, because I was involved; Tim Watson had to evade a few blokes, but he wasn't as far out," he said.
"They were both pretty good goals."

On Sunday's television coverage, Watson mounted his own case.

"I think my kick that night had a bit more degree of difficulty," he said.

"I had 'Harmesy' chasing me."

But he was less confident by Monday.

"I never had the athleticism that Buddy's got," he said.