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VFL/AFL Grand Final Sprint

A player's sprint race has traditionally been held on the day of the Grand Final, at half time of the main match. The sprint was first conducted in 1979, though in 1977 and 1978 there was a mile race held. There has also been a kicking competition.

The sprint event is raced over 100m, and in some recent years a handicapping system was used like that for professional footraces. By tradition, starting blocks cannot be used, though running spikes are allowed. Each club nominates one player, though players from the teams taking part in the Grand Final are not always present. The race was not held between 1988-2001. The below information is not all from official records - information about each sprint was collated from various sources online, is incomplete and may not be 100% accurate. The result from 1986 has not been found - was there a race that year? See all the videos of the races we could find. If you have comments to make or more information to add, please let me know.

Grand Final Sprint Winners List

Year Winner Club Notes
2012 Patrick Dangerfield Adelaide

The race was held before the Grand Final, the heats starting at 12.25pm and the final at 1.12pm. As it has been in the last few years, the AFL sprint was sponsored by Gillette, with $5000 prizemoney for the winner. The winner was Patrick Dangerfield of Adelaide (repeating his win from 2011), with Sydney's Harry Cunningham second and Hawthorn's Angus Litherland third. The winning time according to the TV timer was 10.84 seconds. See a video of the 2012 race, and also the heats.

Finalists
Carlton: Kane Lucas (6th)
Essendon: Stewart Crameri (7th)
Hawthorn: Angus Litherland (3rd)
Adelaide: Patrick Dangerfield (1st)
Sydney: Harry Cunningham (2nd)
West Coast: Ashley Smith (5th)
North Melbourne: Shaun Atley (4th)
Gold Coast Suns: Campbell Brown (8th)
Heat 1
Sydney: Harry Cunningham (1st)
West Coast: Ashley Smith (3rd)
GWS Giants: Tomas Bugg
St Kilda: David Armitage
Carlton: Kane Lucas (4th)
Melbourne: Lynden Dunn
Collingwood: Paul Seedsman
Fremantle: Tendai Mzungu
North Melbourne: Shaun Atley (2nd)
Heat 2
Adelaide: Patrick Dangerfield (1st)
Brisbane Lions: Ben Hudson
Richmond: Chris Newman
Gold Coast Suns: Campbell Brown (4th)
Essendon: Stewart Crameri (3rd)
Port Adelaide: Aaron Young
Geelong Cats: Billie Smedts
Hawthorn: Angus Litherland (2nd)
Western Bulldogs: Liam Picken

2011 Patrick Dangerfield Adelaide

The prize for 1st was $5000. See a video of the 2011 race. There were only nine competitors in the final. Sam Blease of Melbourne did not start.

Finalists:
Jordan Williams (Hawthorn)
Lewis Jetta (Sydney, 3rd)
Luke Rounds (Collingwood)
Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide, 1st)
Tim Golds (GWS, 2nd)
Joel Wilkinson (Gold Coast)
Jacob Brennan (West Coast)
Dawson Simpson (Geelong)
Daniel Rich (Brisbane)
Sam Blease (Melbourne) did not start

2010 Luke Miles St Kilda

Finalists:
Jack Redden (Brisbane)
Richard Douglas (Adelaide)
Tim Golds (GWS) 2nd
Luke Miles (St Kilda) 1st
Daniel Menzel (Geelong)
Garrick Ibbotson (Fremantle)
Lewis Jetta (Sydney Swans) 3rd
Trent Mackenzie (Gold Coast)
Ben Nason (Richmond)

other competitors (who did not make the final):
Carlton, Marc Murphy
Collingwood, Ryan Cook
Essendon, Jake Melksham
Hawthorn, Ben Stratton
Kangaroos, Liam Anthony
Melbourne, Jack Watts
Port Adelaide, Danyle Pearce
West Coast, Dean Cox
Western Bulldogs, Liam Picken

See video of heat 1 and heat 2.

2009 Rhys Stanley St Kilda

The event reverted to a scratch race (all runners cover 100m) after 3 years as a handicap event. See a video of the 2009 race.

Final: (scratch race)
Lane 1: Stephen Hill - Fremantle
Lane 2: Alex Rance - Richmond
Lane 3: Trent McKenzie - Gold Coast (2nd)
Lane 4: Wade Thompson - Port Adelaide (3rd)
Lane 5: Paddy Ryder - Essendon
Lane 6: Rhys Stanley - St Kilda (1st)
Lane 7: Brad Dick - Collingwood
Lane 8: Mike Pyke - Sydney

Heat 1:
Adelaide – Andy Otten
Brisbane – Tom Rockliff
Carlton – Andrew Walker
Collingwood – Brad Dick
Essendon – Paddy Ryder
Fremantle – Stephen Hill
Geelong – Taylor Hunt
Hawthorn – Liam Shiels
Heat 2:
Kangaroos – Warren Benjamin
Melbourne – Colin Sylvia
Port Adelaide – Wade Thompson
Richmond – Alex Rance
St Kilda – Rhys Stanley
Sydney – Mike Pyke
West Coast – Nic Naitanui
Western Bulldogs – Liam Picken

2008 Matthew White Richmond

A handicap event; Matthew White started from scratch in the final, all others from 2m. $5000 prize to the winner. See a video of the 2008 race.

Final:
1. Jason Akermanis (Western Bulldogs) 5th
2. Tom Logan (Port Adelaide) 8th
3. Garrick Ibbotson (Fremantle) 4th
4. Nathan Djerrkura (Geelong) 3rd
5. Stefan Martin (Melbourne) 2nd
6. Matthew White (Richmond) 1st
7. Simon Wiggins (Carlton) 7th
8. Zac Dawson (Hawthorn) 6th

2007 Jake King Richmond

It was a handicap event for the third and last time. Jake King started from 2m. Also in the final was Will Schofield (WC). See a poor video of the 2007 race.

Heat 1
Tyson Goldsack (Coll) Scratch
Robert Copeland (BL) Scratch
Simon Wiggins (Carl) Scratch
Aaron Fiora (Stk) 2m
Jake King (Rich) 2m
Eddie Sansbury (Roos) 4m
Brent Guera (Haw) 4m
Simon Goodwin (Adel) 4m

Heat 2
Nathan Krakouer (Port) Scratch
Farren Ray (Dogs) Scratch
Joel Reynolds (Geel) 2m
Sean Dempster (Swans) 2m
Paddy Ryder (Ess) 2m
Russell Robertson (Melb) 4m
Will Schofield (WC) 4m (1st in heat)
Paul Haselby (Frem) 6m (last in heat)

2006 Brendan Fevola Carlton

A handicap event for the first time, Fev was front marker by a good distance. Apparently the contestants' times over 20 meters were sourced from their clubs and sent to Athletics Australia, which then devised the handicap marks for each player. Behind Fev was Jason Winderlich (Essendon) (2nd) and Nathan Folely (Richmond) (3rd). Both Winderlich and Foley were off the same mark, about 8m behind Fev. Also in the field were Danyle Pearce (Port Adelaide) and Russell Robertson (Melbourne). Shannon Byrnes (Geelong) was in the heats but did not make the final.

2005 Brett Deledio Richmond

2nd was Daniel Bell (Melbourne), 3rd Shannon Byrnes (Geelong)

Heat 1
James Begley (Adelaide)
Jordon Bannister (Carlton)
Ricky Dyson (Essendon)
Shannon Byrnes (Geelong)
Shannon Watt (Kangaroos)
Brett Deledio (Richmond)
Troy Schwarze (St Kilda)
Ben Sharp (West Coast)

Heat 2
Leigh Ryswyk (Brisbane)
Chris Egan (Collingwood)
Byron Schammer (Fremantle)
Campbell Brown (Hawthorn)
Daniel Bell (Melbourne)
Danyle Pearce (Port Adelaide)
Guy Campbell (Sydney)
Cameron Faulkner (Western Bulldogs)
2004 James Walker Fremantle

 $5000 prize money for the winner. The top 5 placings in the final were:

  1. James Walker (Frem)
  2. Michael Stevens (Kang)
  3. Luke Jericho (Adel)
  4. Daniel Jackson (Rich)
  5. Damien Cupido (Ess)

Luke Williams from Melbourne was in the race.

2003 James Walker Fremantle

The final included:

Fremantle’s James Walker
Sydney’s Jared Crouch
Geelong’s David Wojcinski
Essendon’s Damian Cupido
Melbourne’s Luke Williams.

The compete field for the heats:

  • Adelaide: Kris Massie
  • Brisbane: Anthony Corrie
  • Carlton: Anthony Franchina
  • Collingwood: Glen Freborn
  • Essendon: Damian Cupido
  • Fremantle: James Walker
  • Geelong: David Wojcinski
  • Hawthorn: Campbell Brown
  • Kangaroos: Shannon Watt
  • Melbourne: Luke Williams
  • Port Power: Jared Poulton
  • Richmond: Greg Tivendale
  • St Kilda: Leigh Montagna
  • Sydney: Jared Crouch
  • West Coast: Damien Adkins
  • Western Bulldogs: Kieran McGuinness
2002 Jared Crouch Sydney Swans

The event was called the NINTENDO GAMECUBE AFL SPRINT. The winner collected three $5000 cheques - one for themselves, one for their club and one to be given to charity. Below is a published list for the sprint heats, though other less official sources has some other competitors: S. Burgoyne (Port Adelaide), Shane Harvey (Essendon) and Rhys Shaw (Collingwood). Campbell Brown and Jared Crouch won their heats. In the final, Jordan McMahon got off to a blistering start, however, he was overtaken by Jared Crouch. Crouch just beat Chatfield at the line.

Heat 1
Brisbane, Nathan Clarke
Collingwood, Damien Adkins
Geelong, Adam Chatfield
Fremantle, Troy Simmonds
West Coast, Daniel Kerr
Sydney, Jared Crouch
Western Bulldogs, Jordon McMahon
Kangaroos, Brent Harvey

Heat 2
Hawthorn, Campbell Brown
Adelaide, Andrew Crowell
Carlton, Brendan Fevola
Richmond, Greg Tivendale
St Kilda, Xavier Clarke
Melbourne, Ross Funcke
Port Adelaide, Matthew Bishop
Essendon, Jordon Bannister

1988-2001 not held
1987 Russell Richards Melbourne Fourth time lucky for Richards. He had previously finished 3rd twice.
1986 ? Russell Richards from Melbourne was in the race. That's all I know so far.
1985 Geoff Ablett St Kilda

Geoff Ablett had won the sprint three times previously, while representing Hawthorn. The prize money was $1000 for 1st, $300 for second and $200 for third. The race included competitors from 11 out of the 12 clubs (no one from Hawthorn).

Lineup:
1. Fraser Murphy (Carlton)
2. Allan Eade (Collingwood)
3. Steven Clark (Essendon)
4. Richard Osborne (Fitzroy)
5. Michael Ford (Footscray)
6. Michael Kol (Geelong) (2nd)
7. Russell Richards (Melbourne) (3rd)
8. John Collins (North Melbourne)
9. Peter Czerkaski (Richmond)
10. Geoff Ablett (St Kilda) (1st)
11. Mark Bayes (Sydney Swans)

There is some dispute about the final placing in this event, though this front view of the finish taken from the video clearly shows Ablett (St Kilda) winning. See the video of the race.
1984 Doug Cox Essendon

Geoff Ablett, competing for Richmond, came a close second. Third was Russell Richards. The prize money was $1000 for 1st, $300 for second and $200 for third. To qualify, the competitors must have competed in 5 senior matches during the 1984 season. See video.

Field:
1. Alex Marcou (Carlton)
2. Darren Millane (Collingwood)
3. Doug Cox (Essendon) (1st)
4. Bill Lokan (Fitzroy)
5. Darren Baxter (Footscray)
6. Michael Kol (Geelong)
7. Russell Richards (Melbourne) (3rd)
8. Angelo Petraglia (North Melbourne)
9. Geoff Ablett (Richmond) (2nd)
10. David Murphy (Sydney Swans)
11. Silvio Foschini (St Kilda)

1983 Frank Marchesani Carlton

The World of Sport Sprint. Medallions provided to all contestants by Brim Medallions. The sprint was organized by the Victorian Athletic League, the winner receiving $1000, 2nd $300 and 3rd $200. Eassendon and Hawthorn, as the Grand Final participants, did not supply any runners. John Lucas of the Swans was named prior to the event as their entry. Cliff Young presented the award to the winner.

competitors (not in finishing order)

  • Frank Marchesani (Carlton) 1st
  • David Palm (Richmond) 2nd
  • Daryl Cunningham (St. Kilda) 3rd
  • Geoff Miles (Collingwood)
  • Richard Osborne (Fitzroy)
  • Stephen Lunn (Footscray)
  • Michael Kol (Geelong)
  • John Dugdale (North Melbourne)
  • Daryl Vernon (Sydney Swans)
  • Les Bamblett (Melbourne) 10th

See the video of the 1983 race.

1982 Michael 'Mick' Conlan Fitzroy

The event was called the World of Sport Sprint. Frank Marchesani of Carlton was 2nd. Paul O'Brien from Melbourne was also competing.

1981 Geoff Ablett Hawthorn

Geoff is the older brother of Geelong great Gary Ablett Snr. There was no competitors from Carlton and Collingwood as they were competing in the Grand Final. Prize money was $1000 for 1st, $300 for 2nd and $200 for 3rd. See video.

Field:
1. Neil Clark (Essendon)
2. Peter Francis (Fitzroy)
3. Brian Perrin (Footscray)
4. Robert Neil (Geelong)
5. Geoff Ablett (Hawthorn) (1st)
6. Tony Elshaug (Melbourne) (3rd)
7. Rodney Wright (North Melbourne)
8. Matthew Wall (Richmond)
9. Silvio Foschini (South Melbourne)
10. Doug Cox (St Kilda) (2nd)

1980 Geoff Ablett Hawthorn

Ablett won $1,000 plus Moulinex kitchen appliances for his winning run. 2nd was Fitzroy's Frank Marchesani who won $200. Also competing was Peter Francis (Carlton), Tony Elshaug (Melbourne), Stephen Carey (Essendon), Neil Cordy (Footscray) and Stephen Lunn (Geelong).

1980 vfl sprint
1979 Geoff Ablett Hawthorn 2nd was Fitzroy's Michael Conlan. Cameron Clayton from Melbourne was also competing.

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