Round 9 2003. The Brisbane Lions bid a permanent farewell to Carlton’s Princes Park with a second-half scoring frenzy that underlines the value of the 100-point milestone in modern football.
Playing Carlton in the club’s 28th and last game at Blues headquarters, the Lions kicked 17-10 to 3-6 in the second half to win 23-15 (153) to 11-10 (76).
The 112-point second half was the fourth-highest in any half of football in club history and the highest away from home, surpassed only by 131 points against Fremantle in 1999, 130 points against Adelaide in 2004 and 124 points against Sydney in 1993 – all at the Gabba.
Only nine times in 802 games have Brisbane scored 100 points in a half so, at a time when scoring is a hot topic across the AFL landscape and the Lions are averaging 100+ points a game for the first time since 2004, it is the headline story in the ‘Remember When … Round 9’ flashback.
Luke Power and Martin Pike kicked four goals apiece to lead 12 different goal-kickers and upstage the star-studded forward line trio of Alastair Lynch, Jonathan Brown and Daniel Bradshaw, who combined for just four goals after Brown injured his hamstring early. Bradshaw even spent time at centre half back – and kicked his second goal from there.
Returning for the first time to the scene of a 74-point hiding from Carlton in 2001 that sparked the premiership charge, the Lions trailed by 34 points midway through the second quarter after the Blues had kicked eight unanswered goals.
Almost as if they flicked the ‘on’ switch, they piled on 21 of the next 24 goals in a second half training drill. They counted 12 different goal-kickers, including back pocket Chris Johnson, who kicked three.
Providing enormous run from defence, Johnson kicked the first goal of the match after 11 minutes, running onto a Brown handpass, and converted from 50m for his second midway through the second term. He completed a hat-trick seconds from the final siren when he caught Blues veteran Andy McKay in a brilliant tackle and again split the big sticks from the 50m arc.
Johnson was considered best afield inside the Lions camp but had to be content with one Brownlow Medal vote as Shaun Hart (28 possessions, two goals) and Nigel Lappin (27 possessions) took the major votes.
Interestingly, the Lions fielded a 22-man side with a total experience of 3186 games, including 300-gamer Marcus Ashcroft, four 200-gamers and a further 11 100-gamers. Only Aaron Shattock (37), Robert Copeland (35) and Jamie Charman (31) had not reached 50. The average was 145.
dTo put that into perspective, the 23-man Brisbane side that played West Coast last week boasted total experience of 2337 games, with just three 200-gamers and seven 100-gamers and six players below 50 games. Average 102. And that was not exactly a young or inexperienced side.
Collectively, Round 9 has been something of a nightmare for the Brisbane Bears/Lions, with an aggregate record of 12-21, with two byes. By 1999 their Round 9 record was just 2-9, yet oddly their two wins had been against Geelong at the Gabba. Overall, the club has a 9-9 split in Round 9 home games but is 3-12 away.
Other memorable Round 9 moments include:
1991: THE MAGIC MAN
Among 336 players to join Brisbane after starting their AFL career elsewhere Michael McLean has been among the very best. Known across the AFL as ‘Magic’, he played 95 games with the Western Bulldogs from 1983-89 before heading to Brisbane at the instigation of coach Robert Walls.
Originally from the Northern Territory, he played 87 games with the club, twice won the Merrett/Murray Medal and was an enormous leader across the entire AFL community on the matter of Indigenous players before a stint as an assistant-coach under Leigh Matthews.
In Round 9 1991 McLean returned to Whitten Oval for the first time as an opposition player, and although the Bears were beaten by five points he had a career-best 40 possessions and earned two Brownlow Medal votes to deal the Dogs a reminder of just what they’d given up.
It was an odd stats sheet. Teammate David Bain also had 40 possessions for three Brownlow votes, while Martin Leslie (35), Danny Noonan (32), Brenton Phillips (31) and Matthew Ryan (31) also topped 30 as Laurence Schache kicked four goals in just his third game.
It is the only time in Brisbane history that six players have had 30 possessions in the same game. The next best is five against Geelong at the Gabba in 2009 via Luke Power (34), Simon Black (33), Daniel Rich (32), Joel Macdonald (31) and Ash McGrath (30).
2020: ROBBO’S DOUBLE TIME
Among 12,971 AFL players all-time only 53 – a meagre 0.4% - have played 100 games with two clubs.
Mitch Robinson joined this exclusive group during Covid times of Round 9 2020 when he posted his 100th game for Brisbane against Essendon at Metricon Stadium. It was also the former Carlton wingman’s 200th AFL game and happily he celebrated after a 14-7 (91) to 3-10 (28) win.
The Bombers’ score, albeit in a game shortened due to Covid matters, was the second-lowest record against a Brisbane side behind only Footscray’s 3-4 (22) at Whitten Oval in 1996, when the Bears won with a total of 4-12 (36) in atrocious conditions.
Lachie Neale continued his charge towards the 2020 Brownlow Medal with 33 possessions, two goals and three votes, while Charlie Cameron kicked four goals in Connor Ballenden’s AFL debut.
Robinson, signed by the Lions as a free agent during the 2014 trade period after being sacked by Carlton, was the six Brisbane member of the ‘twin tons’ club of which Barry Round, Footscray turned Sydney ruck/forward, was the first member in 1980.
A bargain-plus pick-up, Robinson followed Roger Merrett and Alastair Lynch as Brisbane 100-gamers after posting 100 games elsewhere, while Matthew Clarke, Michael Rischitelli and Jack Redden began at Brisbane before heading elsewhere. Lynch, too, is one of four Fitzroy members of the ‘twin tons’ club, with Tim Pekin, John Blakey and Stephen Paxman.
2007 – SIMON BLACK’S 200TH
Simon Black polled three Brownlow Medal votes 38 times in 302 home-and-away games. Or about one in every 13 games. But, as is the modern trend, only four times was he judged best afield in a losing side.
The most memorable was in his 200th game in a Saturday night blockbuster against Collingwood at the Gabba in Round 9 2007 despite the Lions conceding six goals in the final term to go down 13-9 (87) to 18-12 (120.
The left-footed Brownlow Medallist put on a clinic, picking up 37 possessions and eight clearances to edge out the Magpies’ Tarkyn Lockyer for maximum votes.
It was a sad end to the 91-game career of dual premiership ruckman and popular clubman Beau McDonald, who was dropped the following week and later suffered injury problems which eventually saw him retire at 27.
2011 – A GREAT COMEBACK WIN
The Lions sat winless at the bottom of the ladder after Round 8 in 2011. They desperately needed to turn the tide as they hosted North Melbourne at the Gabba in Round 9. And after plenty of anxious moments they got it.
With Josh Green making his AFL debut for the Lions and Brisbane premiership teammates Michael Voss and Brad Scott opposed in the coaches box, the Lions were 21 points down late in the second term and still 19 points down 20 minutes into the third.
Best afield Jonathan Brown kicked two goals to cut the margin to five points at the final term and followed up with the first goal of the final term and his fourth overall to put his side in front. With the Brisbane defence working overtime, holding the Roos to just three behinds in the last 40 minutes of the game, Todd Banfield and Jack Redden goaled to give the home side a 10-13 (73) to 8-11 (59) win.
FITROY REMEMBERS ROUND 9 – 1898.
Round 9 1898. Fitzroy played Collingwood at Victoria Park on Saturday afternoon, 9 July. It was the club’s 23rd game, their fourth against Collingwood, and their second visit to Collingwood’s Victoria Park headquarters. They were beaten 3-5 (23) to 4-11 (35).
It was a pretty run-of-the mill affair - except for one thing. Fred Fontaine. Or Frederick Ernest Da La Fontaine, as was the full name of the Fitzroy debutant.
The 179cm 20-year-old, recruited from local club Phoenix, became the 47th Fitzroy player and the 377th player overall in a competition established in 1897 as the Victorian Football League. And the most successful player in Fitzroy history.
Fontaine played only 111 games but six of them were grand finals in 1898-99 and 1903-04-05-06. And he missed the 1900 grand final. Ern Jenkins, a member of the very first Fitzroy side and a 182-game star from 1897-1910, is the only other player to appear in six Fitzroy grand finals. Fontaine won four in 1898-89 and 1904-05 while Jenkins won only three.
A Victorian State representative, Fontaine was capable of playing pretty much anywhere and was deployed in that fashion. Well-performed on every line, he was quick, strong overhead and a booming kick.
He is best remembered for his standout performance at fullback in the 1904 Grand Final win over Carlton. With the game in the balance late he made a surging run through the middle of the ground and fired a perfect pass to Percy Trotter, who kicked the winner.
With a career win/loss record of 79-2-30 (72.1%), Fontaine retired at 29 in 1907 and died aged 79 in 1957.
AND FITZROY’S LAST ROUND 9 GAME ..
Coming off a 31-point win over Fremantle at Whitten Oval in Round 8, hopes were high heading into the Round 9 Friday night clash with third-placed North Melbourne at the MCG. But things didn’t go to plan.
With captain Brad Boyd sidelined by injury, Rowan Warfe returned to the side but they we never in it. And by the end the siren brought a merciful end to a 105-point loss – 9-11 (65) to 25-20 (170). Wayne Carey kicked six for the Roos.
Wingman Scott Bamford was the only multiple goal-kicker with two, while Matthew Dent (27), John Barker (24) and Shane Clayton (22) topped the stats sheet. Matthew Primus, with 19 possessions, a goal and eight hit-outs against the North ruck combination of Corey McKernan and Matthew Capuano, picked up one Brownlow Medal vote.
With merger speculation continuing to build to make life of the Fitzroy people miserable, it was the last AFL game for Fitzroy trio Frank Bizzotto (38 games), Darren Holmes (63 games) and Anthony McGregor (41 games).