A dramatic and pulsating finale saw the Geelong Falcons clinch their first TAC Cup premiership in 17-years. The two sides had seen a kick after the siren decide the preceding VFL Grand Final, and thought “anything you can do, I can do better”. Dragons ruckman Joel Amartey found himself with the ball in his hands after the final siren sounded, with his side down by three points. Unfortunately for Sandy, he was unable to convert.
The match was something out of a video game – or a movie – with ridiculous momentum shifts that appeared to scripted.
After Geelong burst out of the blocks with three goals, Sandringham hit back, leading at half-time by 20 points. A dominant 50-0 quarter followed for the Falcons, taking a commanding five goal lead into the final quarter. Then somehow, some way, the Dragons nearly snatched victory with that aforementioned shot after the siren. Must’ve been blowing a gale at Etihad!
Falcons small-forward Gryan Miers stole the show with a comprehensive display, finishing with 7.2 and the best on ground medallion around his neck.
Gryan Miers | Geelong | Small forward| 177cm | 73kg | 2/8/99
Best on ground by the length of the straight. Gryan Miers was simply outstanding up forward on Sunday night . His unbelievable left foot dribbler from 30m on the boundary was a tale of things to come, slotting home seven of his teams’ 13 majors for the game. Miers pick-ups at ground level were phenomenal, attacking it at pace and turning quickly to strike the goals. The Luke Dahlhaus lookalike was kicking them from all angles of Etihad Stadium. Booted four majors in the Falcons’ rampaging third quarter, when it seemed like everything he touched turned to gold. The Falcons isolated him at stages to great effect, and you could actually see the cracks in the turf from the Dragons’ defenders quaking in their boots. True story.
We’re not going to be forgetting this name anytime soon – and honestly, how could you?
Charlie Constable | Sandringham | Midfielder | 190cm | 83kg | 18/5/99
Charlie Constable asserted– and just about cemented – himself as a top-10 selection in November with a formidable Grand Final display. Was arguably the best man on the ground to half-time, slotting two remarking goals and claiming 14 touches. It is hard to say which was his best snag – his launch from 55m, or his desperate smother and follow up snap closer to goal. Constable was a presence inside – a fait accompli for the contested animal. Faded out in the second half, but took a crucial one-handed mark in the dying seconds, with the ball falling into Amartey’s mits two kicks later.
Sam Walsh | Geelong | Midfielder | 182cm | 68kg | 2/6/00
The Falcons will be looking forward to this guy running around for them again next year. The 17-year-old from St Joseph’s brought his own footy on Sunday night, topping the disposal count to finish with 30 touches, five clearances and seven inside 50s. He hacked some of his kicks forward at times, but overall Walsh was a classy operator who found the Sherrin for fun. Showed plenty of toe when he got the ball in space – which was often – and wasn’t afraid to take the game on. A Herculean statement from the bottom-ager, who looms as a potential top 10 pick next November.
Kai Owens | Sandringham | Forward | 192cm | 81kg | 5/10/99
Didn’t have much impact until the fourth quarter, but boy was his influence felt. The Dragons needed something at five goals down at three quarter time and he almost single handedly willed them over the line, kicking three of the Dragons’ four final quarter snags. Perhaps his greatest asset is his overhead marking, clunking three fantastic marks – two of which resulted in goals. Owens is a smooth mover, typified by his silky pickup close to goal, followed by a shimmy and a pinpoint pass to Andrew Brayshaw. His impact was far more prominent than his nine touches suggest.
Will Walker | Sandringham | Midfielder/Forward | 187cm | 80kg | 30/3/99
Will Walker has had some big games in the second half of the season and it was hard to miss him at Etihad. Walker was at his explosive best in the first half, snagging two goals up forward and winning clearances in the midfield. His second goal was stunning, attacking a low ball at pace and turning in one movement to snap it home from 40 metres. Took the game on with his pace, and was a major headache for the Falcons defence all night. An eye-catching performance that will help his chances in November.
Joel Amartey | Sandringham| Ruckman/Tall forward | 195cm | 75kg | 2/9/99
While it was a day he would rather forget, Joel Amartey was probably the most dominant big man on the ground on Sunday night. Took a number of leaping marks around the ground, his most memorable being the fantastic pack mark that gave him that fateful kick after the siren. However, his fantastic snap goal in the second quarter was arguably more impressive, showing brilliant athleticism for a player of his size. Amartey dominated the hit-outs with his trampoline leap, finishing with 27 hit-outs, including plenty of thumps to Sandy’s advantage.
This effort capped off what’s been a fantastic finals series for the 195cm product, who should hold his head up high despite the heartbreaking finale.
Bailey Smith | Sandringham | Defender | 183cm | 74kg | 7/12/00
It is hard to believe this kid is just 16-years of age, such is his ability. Bailey Smith got a bit of a touch up at times from old mate Gryan, but showed plenty both offensively and defensively. The blond-bombshell’s strength one-on-one stood out, especially considering he has another year to add to his frame. When the Dragons had the ball he was always providing an option, linking up off half-back and providing a couple of dashing runs. Ended the night as the leading ball-winner for the Dragons with 25 disposals, five rebound 50s and seven tackles.
Geordie Nagle | Sandringham | Defender | 185cm | 79kg | 11/10/99
Similar to Smith, defender Geordie Nagle was another of Sandy’s major disposal getters. Nagle read the play phenomenally deep in defence, floating in to take several intercept marks to get the footy going back their way. Finished with a game high 10 marks and 18 kicks, registering a kick to handball ratio of 3:1. Looked sure and composed whenever he had the footy, rarely wasting a disposal. Did the hard things as well, putting on a nice smother in the early and a critical leaping spoil on the goal-line in the third.
Cassidy Parish | Geelong | Inside Mid | 190cm | 84kg | 4/5/99
Once again, Cassidy Parish was at his ball-winning best in the guts for the Falcs. He had it on a string early and ended the match with 27 touches and six clearances. Stock standard Parish. However, the question marks over his kick reared their ugly head yet again, turning the ball over several times by foot. Other kicks were high balls to contests which lacked penetration, which stood out like a sore thumb. Did his best work extracting to his teammates on the outside, moving through traffic with ease.
Other notable players: Ed McHenry (GF), Andrew Brayshaw (SD), Hayden McLean (SD), Aaron Trusler (SD), Adam Garner (GF), Mitchell Chafer (GF)