THERE have been drought-breaking flags, a drawn Grand Final, multiple extra-time finals, edge-of-the-seat preliminary finals, massive marks, a toe-poke like no other, huge goals, screaming marks, never-to-be-forgotten individual brilliance and, of course, heartache.

So many moments that have shaped the game's finals history from 1991 to now. 


The task here was to identify the 30 most memorable finals moments since the completion of the 1990 season. It proved impossible to be "fairly" limited to 30. Dozens of moments have unfortunately found their way to the cutting room floor. 

BARRETT'S TOP 30 Most memorable finals moments 30-21

Some "moments" identified here were specific plays, some "moments" were the cumulative performance within a finals match.

As always with such exercises, this is one person's opinion. Clearly, you will have your own. Keen to see what moments you feel strongly about.

One thing I can guarantee, though, is that every moment in this list is worthy of all-time acclaim.

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20. One of the great MCG marks. Aaron Edwards, 2007 SF

Not everyone will agree with this one being on this list, let alone at No.20. But before you want to instantly dismiss it, watch it a half-dozen times and at least appreciate the sheer beauty of Aaron Edwards' leap during North Melbourne's win against Hawthorn in the 2007 semi-final. Edwards' knees found themselves above Drew Petrie's shoulders. Petrie is nearly two metres tall.

Aaron Edwards' incredible mark in 2007. Picture: AFL Photos

19. The breakout role for Buddy on his way to Box Office. Lance Franklin's seven goals, 2007 EF

Buddy Franklin had yet to become the all-time great when he had the ball in his hands at Docklands with a minute remaining in the Hawks-Crows 2007 elimination final. In bombing a 52-metre goal from that kick, his passage to that status had begun. It was his seventh for the match, 70th of the season, his third year of AFL. The man who had always demanded the spotlight soaked it up in that moment and has not been out of it since.

Lance Franklin kicks the winning goal during the 2007 elimination final between Hawthorn and Adelaide. Picture: AFL Photos

18. Old Dogs, New Giants. GWS v WB, 2016 PF

A team in its fifth year of AFL against one whose only premiership to that point had come 62 years earlier, fighting for a place in the 2016 Grand Final. GWS and Western Bulldogs put on a classic, one of the all-time great contests. It was jam-packed with drama. The Giants led by 14 points in the final quarter, and in time-on, scores were level. When the siren sounded with the Dogs in front and with the ball in the hands of Dog Tory Dickson, the celebrations on the ground and in the coach's box were next level, bettered only by what happened the following week.

Easton Wood and Bob Murphy celebrate after the 2016 preliminary final between Greater Western Sydney and the Western Bulldogs at Spotless Stadium. Picture: AFL Photos

17. The Goodes Stuff. The Goodes and Malceski goals, 2012 GF

Nick Malceski kicked the first and last goals to help the Swans win the 2012 Grand Final against Hawthorn, but it was Adam Goodes who kicked the game's most significant goal in the last quarter. Goodes had smashed the PCL in his "good" knee in the second quarter, and in keeping with his all-time great status, refused to stop playing. With six minutes remaining, Goodes applied all his nous and with extraordinary anticipation, gingerly stepped to the side of a pack as it fought for a mark, anticipating – actually, somehow knowing - where that ensuing loose ball would drop, then grabbed it and kicked a goal which gave the Swans the lead by seven points. Goodes could barely walk, but in an extraordinary 372-match, two Brownlow Medal-winning career, he had never walked taller.

00:30 Mins
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Great GF goals: Nick Malceski

2012 Grand Final, Hawthorn v Sydney

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16. The King of Geelong and The Hand of God. Billy Brownless and Gary Ablett kick after-final siren goals in finals in 1994

Cramming two extraordinary moments into one here, the after-final siren goals to the Cats' two big forwards, Billy Brownless and Gary Ablett. Geelong was a point behind Footscray when Brownless slotted his goal in a qualifying final. It was tied with North Melbourne in a preliminary final when Ablett marked in the goal square.

01:02 Mins
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"The monkey's off the back, Billy!"

Bill Brownless became the 'king of Geelong' when he marked on a lead and, after the siren, kicked truly from 40m

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15. Shoo-In. Luke Shuey's after-siren goal, 2017 EF

The 2017 elimination final between Port Adelaide and West Coast required extra time. And the game was still without a winner when the second "final siren" sounded. Eagle Luke Shuey had the ball in his hands, having been awarded a head high free kick 40 metres from goal. He ever so coolly slotted the goal, taking his team to a two-point win. The next year Shuey was to win the Norm Smith medal.

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Shuey's staggering match-winner

Luke Shuey draws a free kick and nails the goal after the siren to win the game

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14. 'Tell Aker to stand in front of Lynchy, not behind him': Jason Akermanis' goal, 2002 GF

Jason Akermanis was an individual highlight machine throughout an extraordinary career. But it was an old-fashioned, listen-to-the-coach, stay front and square, act in the closing minutes of the Lions-Pies 2002 Grand Final that may be his greatest on an AFL ground. On one leg due to an injury he took into the game and aggravated after it started, Akermanis' left foot snap sucked the life out of the ever-so-gallant Pies.

00:56 Mins
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Great GF goals: Jason Akermanis

2002 Grand Final, Brisbane v Collingwood

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13. Matera Explodes. Peter Matera's 1992 GF

Peter Matera kicked five brilliant goals off a wing to win the Norm Smith medal in the 1992 Grand Final against Geelong. All were at explosive, full pace and from very long range. One perhaps stood out. After receiving a pass from arguably the second-best player afield that day, Brett Heady, Matera burst toward the city end of the MCG and launched a perfect bomb which broke even further the hearts of Geelong supporters.

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12. The Long goal, 1993 GF

Incredibly, and it says everything that needs to be said about this extraordinary person, the Long Walk is now nationally known and renowned. But back in the 1993 Grand Final, it was the Michael Long goal which gave him acclaim. Blue Stephen Silvagni to this day maintains he touched the ball that Long kicked at goal to the city end of the MCG. The goal umpire thought differently, and Long's brilliant, four-bounce goal was the defining moment of the Baby Bombers winning the 1993 flag. Long won the Norm Smith medal for his 33-disposal performance.

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Great GF goals: Michael Long

1993 Grand Final, Essendon v Carlton

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11. Wow. Brendon Goddard's mark, 2010 GF

It was through no fault of Brendon Goddard that St Kilda was unable to win the two Grand Finals of 2010. Lenny Hayes was the Norm Smith medallist but Goddard was arguably the best afield in the drawn game, and in the replay he was undoubtedly the Saints' best. His incredible mark – where he launched himself over Heritier Lumumba and away from Luke Ball - inside the final seven minutes of the tied match was one of the great Grand Final moments. His resultant goal put the Saints a goal up.

St Kilda's Brendon Goddard flies over Collingwood's Harry O'Brien and Luke Ball during the 2010 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos