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
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.
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.
|2010||Luke Miles||St Kilda||
other competitors (who did not make the final):
|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)
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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
$5000 prize money for the winner. The top 5 placings in the final were:
Luke Williams from Melbourne was in the race.
The final included:
Fremantle’s James Walker
The compete field for the heats:
|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.
|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).
|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.|
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.
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)
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.
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.
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).
|1979||Geoff Ablett||Hawthorn||2nd was Fitzroy's Michael Conlan. Cameron Clayton from Melbourne was also competing.|
- See all the videos of the races we could find.
- half time mile race from 1977 & 1978
- Grand Final kicking competition.
- AFL Grand Finalists