July 23, 2012
Professional – AFL
I was club doctor at Melbourne Football Club for four years from 1987 to 1990. Melbourne had not played in finals since their last premiership in 1964, but after a dramatic final round Melbourne scraped into the finals. Two huge wins in the first two weeks of the finals saw a confident Melbourne take on Hawthorn at VFL Park in the Preliminary Final. That game is still one of the most talked about games in VFL/AFL history with the Demons managing to lose from a seemingly unbeatable position with the final nail being Jimmy Stynes famously running over the mark and conceding a penalty from which Hawthorn kicked the winning goal.
Two great champions – Michael Tuck and Robbie Flower who had just played his last game
“Don’t you ever do that again Jimmy”
The next season 1988 Melbourne went one better and made the Grand Final only to come up against an awesome Hawthorn team. Our only claim to fame that day was to be part of a record losing margin – a record we held until Port Adelaide took it off us in 2007.
In the following two years 1989 and 1990, Melbourne continued to pay finals but failed to get a premiership. I am convinced that if we had won that Prelim Final in 1987 Melbourne would have another premiership instead of having now a 48 year drought.
I was asked to review the Collingwood medical set up and brought in a team from OPSMC which still has the Collingwood contract today. Due to my Olympic commitments later in the year my main job was to establish the new team.