It was the 30th of April, 2006, my birthday.
Invariably weirdness descends when Freo and St Kilda play. Who will ever forget the disallowed free which saw St Kilda get up by one point in a previous Tasmanian game. No Freo fan, or present West Australian Premier will forget Longmuirs goal after the siren during the feature game on Friday Night, Channel Nine. That was also the game which prompted the ‘whispers in the sky’ controvery with Channel Nine reporter Tony Jones allegedly overhearing controversial statements from the umpires. Think back long enough to 2002 and you might remember the afro headed Ben Cunningham kicking a 50 metre goal in the dying minutes to win the game after the Saints had led all day. There is also the infamous mark that Peter Carey took in 1999, infamous because Carey was the umpire officiating in that game.
But of course the biggest nexus of all occured when St Kilda and Fremantle lined up on that fateful day at Aurora stadium.
After giving the Saints a spanking for most of the day, Freo took their foot off the pedal and the Saints took advantage, coming back to within one point in the dying seconds of the last quarter. The siren sounded, the coaches celebrated. Unfortunately no one thought to make the siren loud enough so the umpires could hear it above the sound of a few beer soaked Tasmanian fans.
A point was kicked, then disallowed, then kicked again…The game was officially a draw. St Kilda’s coach ‘cornflakes’ Grant Thomas hardly did much for his reputation when he rather churlishly suggested that the points were his teams…and the result would stand. Chris Connolly and Cameron Schwab were vigorous in their protest that they would get the four points which were rightfully theirs. After Brad Hardie declared that, “there is no way that the result will change”…in the ensuing controversial days, the AFL changed the result. For only the second time in AFL history, a games result was changed after the ‘final siren’. Luckily sanity prevailed, Chris Connolly and co relaxed, and Freo got their deserved 4 points.