With St. Kilda stunning the football world on Saturday afternoon coming from a whopping 55 points down against the Western Bulldogs to record a seven point win, we take a look at the top five greatest VFL/AFL comebacks of all time.
1. Essendon defeated North Melbourne, 69 point deficit – Round 16, 2001
None who witnessed this game either at the ground or in front of the television will ever forget the incredible scenes that unfolded. North Melbourne got off to a lightening start, scoring 12 goals to two in the opening quarter, to lead 12.1 73 to the Bombers 2.3 15 at quarter time. The lead got even bigger in the second quarter, with the Kangaroos leading by as much as 69 points 10 minutes into the second term. However, that’s when things got interesting. Essendon then ran rampant; to record a ten goal second quarter to bridge the gap to just 21 points at half time. Essendon eventually hit the lead in the last term after an incredibly entertaining and open game, with the Bombers winning 27.9 171 to the Kangaroos 25.9 159. Matthew Lloyd kicked nine goals for the Dons, while Corey Mckernan kicked five for the Roos.
2. Hawthorn defeated St. Kilda, 63 point deficit – Round 12, 1999
The Saints kicked nine goals to one in the opening term, before leading by as much as 63 points five minutes into the second quarter. The Hawks then rallied, kicking 16 of the last 19 goals, to run over the top of the Saints to win by 13 points; 17.7 109 to 14.12 96.
3. Collingwood defeated St. Kilda, 60 point deficit – Round 10, 1970
St. Kilda was on the wrong end of the ledger again here, after blitzing the Pies early to lead by 60 points at the 27 minute mark of the second quarter. The Saints led 11.8 74 to 2.10 22 at half time, before the Pies outscored St. Kilda by 12 goals to three in the second half, to record a seven point win. The Magpies arguable could have won by more, as they wasted their chances in front of goal, scoring 14.23 107 to St. Kilda’s 15.10 100.
4. Hawthorn defeated Geelong, 56 point deficit – Round 6, 1989
This epic encounter between these two modern rivals is overshadowed by the historic 1989 Grand Final in which the Hawks won by just six points. However, no less entertaining than their meeting on the last day in September, Hawthorn got the spoils in this one as well in another thriller. The Cats led by 56 points at the 28 minute mark of the second term, and went into half time leading 17.6 108 to 9.5 59. But the star studded Hawthorn side of the 80s did not know when to lie down, and the Hawks recorded a stunning eight point win, 26.15 171 to Geelong 25.13 163.
5. Three teams sit equal fifth on the list of greatest ever comebacks, recording wins after being 55 points down.
St. Kilda defeated Hawthorn – Round 2, 1937
Hawthorn led by an astonishing 55 points at quarter time, as they piled on eight goals with the Saints failing to even register a score. From there it was all one way traffic, as St. Kilda kicked 15 of the last 21 goals to record a 13 point win, 15.22 112 to 14.15 99.
The Magpies trailed by 55 points 10 minutes into the second quarter before mounting a stirring comeback. Kevin Bartlett starred for the Tigers with 37 disposals, but it was not enough with the Pies scoring 14 goals to Richmond’s four in the second half to win 19.9 123 to 16.13 109.
St. Kilda defeated Western Bulldogs – Round 6, 2015
Despite both sides young and exciting lists, all the experts were expecting a Bulldogs win, such has been their exhilarating form of late. The first half went to script with the Dogs leading by 49 points at half time thanks to a seven goal blitz in the second quarter. The Bulldogs dominated the inside 50s 40-17 in the first half and looked on track for a monster win. Three minutes into the third term, Jake Stringer extended the lead to 55 points with his fourth goal of the match. But then seemingly out of nowhere, the Saints worked a miracle, piling on seven unanswered goals to cut the margin to just 12 points at the last change. They then went on win the game by seven points, kicking 12 of the last 14 goals. The final scores were St. Kilda 14.10 94 to the Western Bulldogs 13.9 87.