Ranking The 15 Best After The Siren Goals In AFL History
— Updated on 5 January 2023

Ranking The 15 Best After The Siren Goals In AFL History

— Updated on 5 January 2023
Billy Booker
Billy Booker

You will be hard-pressed to find a greater eruption of jubilation in sport than a buzzer-beater in basketball or a 94th-minute winner in football – hello if you’re reading, Sergio Aguero. In AFL terms, after the siren goals elicit similar emotions. Everyone loses their minds simultaneously.

The unbridled joy of the winners is juxtaposed with sheer disbelief from the losers. ‘How did we win that’ versus ‘How did we lose that?’ Last month at the MCG, Jamie Elliott did the job for Collingwood. He went back, calmly lined his body up with the goals, and did not let the siren distract him, leading the Magpies to a ninth straight victory. ‘Clutch’ does not even begin to describe it.

It was the 56th time a player has booted a goal after the siren in VFL/AFL history and the third time this year. Each one is special in its own way, but some are slightly more special.

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Elliott was on an obscure angle and 50 metres out from goal. Even the very best players would expect to execute maybe 30% of these at best, let alone when fatigued, and with the result hinging on a single kick. Elliott did not disappoint.

In ranking the best 15 of all time, we’ve balanced the difficulty level against the occasion. While Max Gawn’s after the siren finish against Geelong in late 2021 was significant from a ladder perspective, he was barely 15 metres out. The same applies to Gary Ablett Snr in the 1994 preliminary final, who only needed to score for Geelong to progress to the Grand Final. If you miss either of these then you shouldn’t be playing AFL. Sorry, Gawny and Gaz. Also sorry to the players who did this before TV. There is a natural recency bias as a result. Oh, and sorry to Ben Dixon, Barry Hall, Gary Rohan, Chris Tarrant, Jeff Farmer and others. 56 does not go into 15.

The 15 Best After The Siren Goals in AFL History

15. Alastair Clarkson (1987)

Best known for his coaching feats, Clarkson’s career as a player began in incredible fashion. Representing North Melbourne as a 19-year-old for the first time, Clarko’s right foot did the business. Not bad for a debutant! As we know, he scaled more heights later in his career, but the pattern was set early. 

14. Noah Anderson (2022)

For a young player to do what Anderson did in Roud 17 ago was remarkable. Against Richmond, the Suns clawed their way back in the final term and it was left to their Victorian-born prodigal midfielder to put the icing on the cake. It was a harder set shot than Karmichael Hunt’s a decade before, which is why it gets the nod on this list. 

13. Justin Longmuir (2005)

Wearing long sleeves, Fremantle’s season was riding on their lanky forward and current coach Longmuir in 2005. He took one deep breath and did not look like missing, before running into the rapturous Perth crowd to celebrate. 

12. Steve Kernahan (1987)

This was clutch from big ‘Sticks’ Kernahan, who had a tight angle to contend with against North Melbourne. Having taken a strong mark, the Blues captain calmly went back and did the rest. Clinical.

11. Jordan Dawson (2022)

South Australians would argue there is no rivalry in sport quite like Adelaide v Port Adelaide. In his first Showdown after being traded from Sydney, Dawson became an instant hero in the best way possible. Off the boot, his kick looked poor, but it floated back and broke thousands of Power hearts in the process.

10. Tom Hawkins (2012)

There was no greater rivalry from 2008 through to 2015 than Geelong and Hawthorn. They hated each other. And ever since the Hawks triumphed in the ’08 Grand Final, the Cats had the wood on them. Even when Hawthorn led at the final siren, Geelong was too good. This Hawkins kick was a monster and added another chapter to the storied rivalry. 

9. Peter Riccardi (2002)

This was a controversial one, which we love (obviously). Playing for Geelong in Round 11 against Carlton, the left-footer took the mark 49 metres out from goal with 11 seconds remaining. The Blues led by 2 points having come back from a 37-point deficit at the final break, so he had to kick the goal…. And he did. The controversy? The man on the mark maintains to this day he touched the ball on the way through. Let’s not let the truth get in the way of a good story.

8. Ashley McGrath (2013)

Brisbane trailed by 52 points against Geelong and it was Ash McGrath’s goal – the Lions’ eighth of the last term – which sealed a victory dubbed by caller Anthony Hudson as ‘The Miracle on Grass’. It was also McGrath’s 200th game! A famous moment.

7. Jamie Elliott (2022)

Elliot had nerves of steel on the weekend as he lined up for goal. Not only did he out-mark multiple Essendon players, but he then threaded the needle. The MCG erupted, and rightly so. 

6. Robbie Gray (2020)

Port Adelaide’s Robbie Gray is Mr Clutch. He’s decided games time and time again with last-ditch heroics. This, against Carlton at the height of Covid, was his best. The difficulty level was expert, not that it worried Gray. 

5. Jack Newnes (2020)

Carlton’s Newnes was pretty much in Row D when he slotted this one through the big sticks against Fremantle a couple of years ago. For the sheer level of difficulty, this moment is one of the best ever. He was outside the boundary when he kicked the ball. And if Newnes doesn’t win a premiership, he will always have this to tell his grandchildren about.

4. Gary Buckenara (1987)

This is on the list not as much for the kick, but what happened before it. Having received a free kick 50 metres out from goal (likely too far), Melbourne’s Jim Stynes ran through the mark, handing Buckenara a shot from 35 metres. In a preliminary final, this was an enormous moment and led to heartbreak for long-suffering Dees fans. Stynes, an Irishman who was still relatively new to the game, later said he thought Buckenara might pass the ball to a teammate so was running to defend, even though the siren meant his only available option was to kick for goal. Scenes! 

3. Luke Shuey (2017)

Nothing compares to winning a final off your own boot. That’s exactly what happened to Luke Shuey in a cut throat elimination decider six years ago. The new interpretation of the ‘too high’ rule would see this called ‘play on’ today, but back then it was a clear free kick. Shuey, with ice running through his veins, did the rest. Port Adelaide fans have never forgiven him.

2. Billy Brownless (1994)

Like Shuey, Geelong’s Brownless won a final for the Cats in the most dramatic circumstances possible. Only he would know how much mileage he’s got out of this one moment at sportsman’s nights ever since, but I’d suggest it would be plenty! His coach that evening, was none other than Malcolm Blight (read on).

1. Malcom Blight (1976)

This ball might still be in orbit! The commentator said Blight may have to kick it ’85 to 90 metres’ and it went every bit of that, and probably longer. It’s a clear number one on this list because of the level of difficulty and the fact he decided on a torpedo punt (like an NFL punter) rather than a more traditional drop punt like we see in today’s game. It remains one of the most iconic moments in VFL/AFL history. 

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Billy Booker


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