First Goal in the Grand Final: Is it Cursed?


IT may be one of the more popular markets when it comes to betting on the AFL Grand Final, but punters beware!

The first goal kicker from the last SEVEN out of the last eight AFL Grand Finals have all been from the losing side, with Richmond’s Dion Prestia breaking the curse in last years GF.

History suggests that the first goal kicker is now somewhat of a poisoned chalice and the evidence from the AFL era (Since 1990) with 17 of the 31 grand finals first goal being from the losing team.

Should Dees and Doggies fans be worried on Saturday night if one of their players kicks the first goal?

2020 – Dion Prestia (Richmond)
PREMIER: Richmond

It took until the 19-minute mark of the first quarter (factoring in the injury to Nick Vlastuin) for Dion Prestia to quickly sneak in a goal for the Tigers in what was a tense first half.

While there was the likes of Dusty in the second half, Dion Prestia became the first player in seven grand finals to kick the first goal of the game from the eventual winner.

2019 – Jeremy Cameron (GWS)
PREMIER: Richmond

The opening 20 minutes of the 2019 Grand Final were a bit of an arm-wrestle as Richmond got the game on their terms.

However, at the 20:22 mark, Coleman Medalist Jeremy Cameron was able to slot through the first goal of the game for the Giants.

Richmond quickly responded with the next two majors before the quarter time siren.

GWS would only kick two more for the entire match going down to Richmond by 89 points.

2018 – Travis Varcoe (Collingwood)
PREMIER – West Coast

Travis Varcoe’s first goal in the epic 2018 Grand Final had quite the emotional sub-plot.

Varcoe had tragically lost his sister, Maggie who died after a tragic head clash playing in her own Grand Final.

He would point to the sky to salute his late sister as the Magpies got off to a great start.

The first kick in this Grand Final will be remembered as much as the last kick.

2017 – Rory Sloane (Adelaide)
PREMIER: Richmond

The Crows were at their 2017 season best for the first 10 minutes of the Grand Final before they captitulated to the Tigers.

Rory Sloane had a shot directly infront of goal at the 4 minute mark of the first quarter and slotted it through.

The ball got quickly back into the Crows 50 and Eddie Betts snapped another one, with the Crows 2-0 (12) to Richmond 0-0 (0)

The rest is history.

2016 – Luke Parker (Sydney)
PREMIER: Western Bulldogs

The 2016 Grand Final was an epic struggle for most of the match.

At the 12 minute mark of the first quarter, Sydney skipper Kieran Jack pounced on the Sherrin after a Bulldogs turnover and was able to get it to Luke Parker with a short kick.

Parker proceeded to kick it with a set shot from 40 meters out.

Punters who backed him for the first goal in the 2016 Grand Final collected a solid $21 but the Bulldogs would go on to break a 64-year drought to claim only their second premiership.

2015 – Luke Shuey (West Coast)
PREMIER: Hawthorn

Luke Shuey kicked the first goal from a free kick only two minutes into the first quarter after being taken high by Jordan Lewis.

It was a highly misleading start to the 2015 decider.

From thereon, West Coast looked very much out of place in the big dance as Hawthorn took full advantage to make it a threepeat.

2014 – Josh Kennedy (Sydney)
PREMIER: Hawthorn

One-time Hawk Josh Kennedy would kick the first goal of the 2014 AFL Grand Final for the Swans at the five minute mark of the opening quarter.

Kennedy got the first major through after making the most of his chances to pop a shot over the Hawks defence on the run from outside 50.

The kick landed short, but with not one player on the line the Sherrin bounced through for the first score of the 2014 decider.

The Hawks would continue on to a dominant 63-point victory making it back-to-back premierships.

2013 – Jack Gunston (Hawthorn)
PREMIER: Hawthorn

Jack Gunston is the most recent player from the winning Grand Final team to kick the first goal of the game.

At the 3:10 mark of the first quarter, Brad Hill who marked in space on Hawthorn’s 50 and spotted Gunston 20 meters out on the slightest of angles.

Gunston made no mistake and slotted it through for a goal.

The Hawks would go on to defeat Freo in the 2013 Grand Final by 15 points.

2012 – Xavier Ellis (Hawthorn)
PREMIER – Sydney

Xavier Ellis loves a sausage roll.

…he also kicked the first goal of the epic 2012 Grand Final between the Swans and Hawks.

After missed opportunities from Hawthorn’s Lance Franklin and Lewis Jetta for Sydney, six minutes into the first quarter, Hawthorn pressed their attack into their forward 50 allowing Ellis to sneak in the first goal of the game.

2011 – Travis Varcoe (Geelong)
PREMIER – Geelong

Travis Varcoe is one of the rare few, if not the only player to kick the first goal in a Grand Final for two different clubs.

Geelong were quick out of the blocks from the first bounce with Varcoe slamming it through the goals 10 seconds into the game.

The Cats would go on to win by 38 points.

2010 Replay – Tyson Goldsack (Collingwood)
PREMIER – Collingwood

Leon Davis was dropped from the Collingwood side for the 2010 replay and Tyson Goldsack was brought in as a replaced.

It seems coach Mick Malthouse and fellow selectors were justified by the brutal selection call with Goldsack scoring the first major at the 5 minute mark of the first quarter.

The Pies went on to win the replay and the flag over the Saints by 56 points.

2010 – Darren Jolly (Collingwood)

Collingwood was quick out of the blocks in the drawn 2010 Grand Final when ruckman Darren Jolly got the first goal of the game 24 seconds in.

An awkward bounce of the ball in the goal square from a Lenny Hayes shot, resulted in a behind at the 29-minute mark of the final quarter, with the scores being tied at the final siren.

It would be the last ever drawn Grand Final.


(Players listed in BOLD are from LOSING TEAMS)

1990Paul SalmonEssendonCollingwood
1991Peter SumichWest CoastHawthorn
1992Trevor PooleGeelongWest Coast
1993Paul SalmonEssendonEssendon
1994Tony EvansWest CoastWest Coast
1995Craig BradleyCarltonCarlton
1996Tony LockettSydneyNorth Melbourne
1997 Jason HeatleySt KildaAdelaide
1998John BlakeyNorth MelbourneAdelaide
1999Brett RattenCarltonNorth Melbourne
2000James HirdEssendonEssendon
2001Alastair LynchBrisbaneBrisbane
2002Anthony RoccaCollingwoodBrisbane
2003Alastair LynchBrisbaneBrisbane
2004Josh CarrPort AdelaidePort Adelaide
2005Mark NicoskiWest CoastSydney
2006Ashley HansenWest CoastWest Coast
2007Cameron MooneyGeelongGeelong
2008Tom LonerganGeelongHawthorn
2009Max RookeGeelongGeelong