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Good times roll on for North's last-gasp grand final hero

Ben Collins  February 8, 2014 10:00 AM

Classic pre-season moments A look back at the highlights of pre-seasons from yesteryear
You don't give away premierships, even night premierships, especially against Collingwood.
KERRY Good has long been a master of spotting an opportunity and capitalising on it.

As a footballer, Good is best known for giving North Melbourne victory over Collingwood in the 1980 night grand final (the precursor to the pre-season competition) by slotting the controversial winning goal after the siren.

Good has also transcended his working-class roots and limited education to become a successful businessman in multiple industries.

The 55-year-old claims that in both instances he was simply lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

"For all the hard work that goes into achieving something, you still need a bit of luck," Good says.

With the NAB Challenge almost upon us, and his beloved Kangaroos being potential bolters this season, caught up with the industrious Good at his office in Melbourne's CBD.

Conversation quickly, and naturally, turns to that night grand final.

That sensation was far removed from Good's upbringing on a 400-acre dairy farm outside Ulverstone in north-west Tasmania.

The baby of the family, he was 17 when approached by North Melbourne, Richmond, Essendon and St Kilda, who were each impressed with the high-leaping youngster who had starred at centre half-forward in Ulverstone's 1976 premiership side.

Good joined North because they showed the most interest.

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In his first three seasons (1977-79) he played 21 games, finding it tough to break into one of the league's strongest combinations.

But when the 1980 night grand final arrived on a cold Tuesday night in July, Good was third on the Roos' goalkicking list with 26 majors in 12 games, behind stars Malcolm Blight (28 in 13) and Arnold Briedis (42 in 15).

After seeing replays of the frantic final moments of the match at Waverley, Good believes the siren sounded a few seconds before Blight found him on a lead.

At the time though, the 21-year-old couldn't hear anything above the din of a then-record night final crowd of 50,478.

As he went back for his kick with his side three points down, Good first realised "something's going on here" when he saw two boys in dufflecoats jump the fence.

One of boys was a seven-year-old Collingwood fan named Glenn Archer, who would grow up to become the 'Shinboner of the Century'. Decades later, Archer told Good, "I would've taken the ball off you if I could've."

Spectators streamed towards Good, some Pies fans waving their arms to distract him, but amid the chaos he remained unflustered, feeling the cam confidence gleaned from kicking three of his side's seven goals.

It was a still night and he was about 35 metres out, virtually directly in front, so he figured: "If I follow through straight with the kick, it should go straight through."

It did.

It was only when he was mobbed by teammates and fans that he learned the siren had gone and North had won.

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"It all happened so quickly that you didn't really have time to think," he recalls.

Good hadn't done anything wrong, yet there were fears he would be targeted by angry Pies fans. He has vague memories of security guards protecting him after the game, and of being forced to wait until most of the black-and-white army had vacated the stadium before making his own exit.

He understood their frustration but explains: "The rules clearly state that the game isn't over until the umpire says so. Rules are rules."

When a similar circumstance arose in 2006 and the AFL Commission overturned a draw between St Kilda and Fremantle by awarding the points to Freo, Collingwood president Eddie McGuire called for the result of the 1980 night grand final to be reversed.

"Eddie wanted (the cup) but I said he couldn't have it," Good says. "You don't give away premierships, even night premierships, especially against Collingwood."

Kerry Good pictured in his office. Picture: AFL Media

North's supercoach Ron Barassi was notorious for bringing players back to earth, but Good says Barassi congratulated and encouraged him.

"'Barass' was hard on everyone but he was sensational for me, not just as a footballer but in later life. Some of his philosophies have stuck in my mind and helped me – the harder you put in, the more you get out of it; and never make the same mistake twice," he says.

Of his four-goal performance, Good says with a hint of dry humour, "It got me a game that Saturday." Which, of course, was the main focus.

The hype and controversy certainly didn't affect Good's on-field output – he was North's chief goalkicker over the next fortnight with consecutive four-goal efforts.

He enjoyed his best season the following year, his 16 games netting 49 goals, including hauls of 10.2 and 9.5 against Melbourne.

"But then," Good laments, "it was all downhill from there."

Injuries meant he played his last of his 74 VFL games (for 150 goals) early in 1983 at just 24.

After being discarded by North in 1984, Good endured another frustrating season on the sidelines at Essendon before retiring from the big league.

In 1986 he returned to Ulverstone and, despite being "barely able to move by the end", bagged eight goals in another premiership. He never played again.

Good's neck and back require weekly maintenance, but he looks fit and strong, his muscular physique obvious through his business shirt. He works out at the Windy Hill gym up to five days a week. Healthy body, healthy mind, he says.

The boots Good wore in the 1980 night grand final are on display in his Melbourne home. 

But there are things he is far prouder of.

The downturn in Good's football career coincided with a boom in his business career.

It's a story that deserves a detailed airing in the Financial Review or BRW.

After stints as a spray-painter, panel-beater and truck-driver, Good's big break came in 1982 when, at 23, he put his house up as collateral to join Peter Johnstone – a former next-door neighbour in Tasmania – and start up a company called Integrated Packaging.

The initial small-time venture grew to become a world leader in the manufacture and distribution of stretch film, predominantly used to wrap cartons on pallets.

"I left school in Year 10, which a lot of successful businessmen seem to have done, so Integrated (Packaging) was probably my degree," Good says.

The company really started kicking goals when it patented a revolutionary wrap for hay bales. They had no competition for eight years and enjoyed worldwide success.

"When I'm driving around the countryside and I see them, it's a nice feeling," he says.

At its peak under Good and Johnstone, company turnover reached $100 million.

The pair sold Integrated Packaging in 2007 for a sum Good declined to disclose.

In the early '90s they had also formed the Goodstone Group, which now owns 10 hotels and the Big Bargain Bottleshop chain in Tasmania, and boasts a turnover of about $45 million.

Times have been tough in Tassie, but Good now plans to promote the island state's wines online. Asked whether he is a wine connoisseur, Good says: "Well, I sample enough of it."

Good owns racehorses with ex-teammate Mark Dawson and former Collingwood captain Wayne Richardson. Their racing colours are the Kangaroos' royal blue and white.

"It's an expensive hobby but it's fun," says Good, who won the 2008 Caloundra Cup and the 2011 Launceston Cup with Fast Future.

Good and Dawson were long-time board members at North Melbourne who, along with Good's old business partner Peter Johnstone, dug into their own pockets to help save the club in the late '80s. The trio had wanted North to relocate to the Gold Coast, but Good says the club is now well managed.

Good has four children – daughters Lainie and Ashlee from his first marriage, while he and wife Dian have a daughter, Isabella, and a son, Sam, 18, who is listed by TAC Cup team Calder Cannons.

"He's 6'5'' (193cm), he's quite quick and he's starting to fill out a bit," his proud father says. "He hasn't played much over the past few years because of bad luck with injuries, but hopefully you'll see Sammy Good somewhere."

What do you like most about the game?
"It's just good to watch. It's getting quicker and quicker, and the good players hit the leading target with their kick nine times out of 10. And being a former high mark myself, I still love seeing that, although it doesn't happen as much these days."

What don't you like?
"The ball being kicked backwards, because it wastes time and makes the game boring. And the game has completely changed; it's a running game now that doesn't have much man-on-man, positional play. As soon as there's a turnover, everyone just runs forward. I also think the media are very hard on younger players. Players now are under so much pressure to be professional that they can't afford to put a foot wrong because the media scrutiny is so strong."

What would you change about the game?
"I'd change the rules so that when someone kicked backwards it would be play on. And I'd try to find a way to create more man-on-man contests, which make it a better spectacle."

Who is your favourite player and why?
"The player I find remarkable is (Brent) 'Boomer' Harvey. He's played more games than anyone at North Melbourne, but for him to still have that pace at his age is just incredible. Then there's (Lance) Franklin for how he takes control of the game, and (Gary) Ablett for his strength and fantastic consistency and uncanny ability to get the ball."

How many operations have you had?
"Four – one knee, two fingers and a shoulder after footy."

How will your old club North Melbourne go this year?
"I think they'll definitely improve. Their draw is a bit easier than last year. I thought there was a weakness in the backline last year but I've heard the coach say they're doing a lot of work in that area. They're probably still a couple of years away. I think they'll make the eight this year but we won't see them peak until 2016. By then, through age and experience, I think they'll make the top four."

Twitter: @AFL_BenCollins