David Zaharakis

Fans of all teams will be able to recollect these iconic comeback-wins through goals kicked in the final moments of the game; the Cinderella-story wins that seemed impossible when the clock drew near.

These classic turnaround wins defy the bona-fide “Leigh Matthews Theory” – a formula “Lethal Leigh”” coined in his autobiography “Accept the Challenge”.

The former footballer and living legend developed a formula wherein the number of goals in front and its relationship to minutes in the game left determines a win or a loss.

“If we were more goals in front than there were minutes to go, we’d probably win,” he wrote. “It was not so much about probably winning; it was more about when the possibility of losing no longer existed”.

Here are the teams that managed to steal victory after trailing by more goals than there were minutes left until the final siren (from 2008 to 2017).

Goals Down Season Rd Team Opponent Q Clock Time left In-game margin Final margin
3 2009 5 Essendon Collingwood 4 25:33 2:55 -14 +5
2 2012 8 Port Adelaide North Melbourne 4 28:05 1:28 -10 + 2
2 2012 16 Gold Coast Richmond 4 27:49 0:26 -10 + 2
2 2013 9 Adelaide North Melbourne 4 26:14 1:49 -12 + 1
2 2013 19 Port Adelaide Adelaide 4 28:18 1:28 -8 + 4
2 2014 12 Geelong Carlton 4 27:28 1:53 -7 + 5
2 2015 2 Essendon Hawthorn 4 25:33 1:21 -10 + 2
2 2016 2 Collingwood Richmond 4 28:27 1:47 -11 + 1
3 2017 4 Sydney Essendon 4 29:01 2:38 -13 + 1
2 2017 9 Port Adelaide St Kilda 4 29:49 0:55 -10 + 2

Who could forget David Zaharakis’s buzzer-beating goal in the ANZAC match of 2009, or Karmichael Hunt’s goal after the siren against Richmond? Or what about Angus Monfries’ “off-break” in the 2013 Showdown?

Cinderella-story final-siren wins do happen – just not very often.

Statistics taken from “”Footballistics” written by James Coventry.