I was lucky enough to go along to the ASMF – Advertiser Sunday Mail Foundation AFL Grand final Lunch at the Convention Centre.
The day just go better when I was seated alongside legend of the game, Player of the 20th Century, Leigh Matthews.
I hit him with my theories about football and he was gracious enough not to laugh.
Leigh was guest speaker and it was fascinating to hear of the emotional rollercoaster that is Grand Final day. Playing with Hawthorn Leigh made 7 Grand Final appearances for 4 wins. After his playing career he became one of the most successful coaches taking Collingwood to a premiership then led the Brisbane dynasty to 3 flags in a row.
Leigh said at the start of each Grand final day he new that hours later he would feel the ultimate exhilaration or the bottomless depths of depression.
However, he did put it all into perspective, after all it WAS just a game.
Ex Geelong captain Tom Harley was also a guest and what a fine human being he is, and a pretty fair football commentator to boot.
You may recall Tom was the player Port Adelaide flicked after one game. According to Mark Williams (assistant Port coach at the time) Tom was number 5 on the forward line pecking order. Other than Warren Tredrea the other players considered better than Harley sank without trace.
Luckily Geelong saw a bit more in him as a backman and of course he went on to become dual premiership captain in one of the greatest teams in the game’s history.
For all Aussie footy lovers Grand final week is something special, not up there with 1997-98 (Adelaide Crows premiership years) but very special none the less.
For those with teams playing on the last Saturday in September savour every moment, they don’t happen all that often.
Roll on season 2011.