Grand Final 1985

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1985 Premiership Team

At last! After years of frustration, lost opportunities and unfulfilled potential, the Glenelg Football Club finally secured its third premiership. The frustration of lost grand finals and the Peter Carey tribunal fiasco of 1984 were forgotten in the euphoria of victory. However, with their team down by 5 goals in the second quarter, not a few Glenelg fans were starting to ponder the possibility of yet another grand final loss. But it wasn't to be. Considered by many to be one of the finest sides ever assembled in South Australia, the 1985 Tigers overcame a shaky start to inflict North Adelaide with a 57 point hiding. Then the partying went into full swing!

GRAND FINAL Saturday 5th October 1985
Glenelg:   2.5 9.7 15.10 21.15 (141)
North Adelaide: 4.4 7.7 9.10 12.12 (84)


Glenelg - S. Kernahan 7.3, Garton 4.1, Copping 3.1, McGuinness 2.1, McDermott 1.1, Maynard, Symonds, Hall, Henwood 1.0, W. Stringer, Kidney 0.3, Marshall 0.1, rushed 0.3.

North Adelaide - Parsons, Hart 2.2, Robertson 2.1, Brealy, Sanders 2.0, Antobus 1.1, Tiller 0.4, rushed 0.2..


Glenelg - S. Kernahan, McDermott, Gibbs, McGuinness, Marshall, Maynard, Symonds.

North Adelaide - Robertson, S. Riley, Campbell, Antrobus, Phillips, Jarman.

Crowd: 50,389 at Football Park.

Team line-ups


2. GIBBS, Ross

4. KERNAHAN, Stephen (VC)

5. CAREY, Peter (C)

6. MURPHY, Michael


9. SYMONDS, Tony

10. McDERMOTT, Chris

11. HALL, Tony

14. STRINGER, Wayne

16. MARSHALL, David

17. KIDNEY, Robin

19. COPPING, Stephen

22. GARTON, Adam

25. STRINGER, Alan

26. DUTHY, Chris

27. WALSH, Gavin

29. HENWOOD, Wayne

30. MAYNARD, Peter

31. SEEBOHM, John

32. DONOVAN, Mark

36. SALISBURY, Scott

37. KERNAHAN, David



1. RILEY, John

3. HART, Darel

4. TILLER, David (C)

6. HILL, Trevor

7. KLOMP, Kim

9. SANDERS, David


13. ANTROBUS, Anthony

14. HAY, Stephen

15. BREALEY, John

16. ARMFIELD, Michael

17. JARMAN, Andrew

22. RILEY, Stephen

23. WILDY, David

25. CAMPBELL, Matthew

27. PHILLIPS, Brenton

28. PARSONS, Michael

32. ARNOLD, Paul

34. ROBERTSON, David

35. BENNETT, Peter

42. REDDEN, Mick (VC)


Match Report from The Advertiser

Adam Garton kicks one of his 4 goals during the 1985 grand final
Glenelg's Wayne Henwood and North's Mike Parsons during the 1985 grand final.
Celebrations begin after the 1985 grand final.
Peter Maynard and Tony McGuinness with the Thomas Seymour Hill trophy after Glenelg defeat North Adelaide in the 1985 Grand Final.
Tony McGuinness and Stephen Kernahan after Glenelg defeat North Adelaide in the 1985 Grand Final.

By Geoff Kingston

Glenelg's 57-point league football grand final victory over North Adelaide will live in the hearts of people forever. That it should do so; that Glenelg's fame arose from the destruction of North, is a tough fact of life.

When the flattery of the crowd has stopped ringing in players' ears, when the champagne bubbles of celebration have burst, the 1985 premiership will be remembered as the result of Glenelg's epidemic courage. Down five goals in the second quarter the Glenelg players watched their hard work of winter perishing so fruitlessly. They were doing and dying and seemed headed for destruction themselves. Coach Graham Comes, squirming uncomfortably in his boundary-line bunker, was angry and frustrated.

"I couldn't believe it," he said afterwards. "I was so unhappy. The discipline was poor and they were ignoring instructions." He was later to remark that he couldn't "understand how they could play so badly then play so well." Maybe he has not yet noticed that fate is usually on the side of the best team. Certainly something triggered Glenelg. In six dramatic minutes midway into the second term Glenelg began a revival carried in to an emotional triumph - and only its third premiership in its 65 year history.

It turned the game around with five goals in six minutes to convert a five-goal do into a 12 point lead at half-time and it was never again seriously challenged. In that one short but hectic extravaganza by Glenelg, North's demise came quickly and painfully.

And with the premiership in jeopardy the grand final erupted in a chaotic third quarter when players from both sides tried to frighten each other with tactics not us espoused by the Marquis of Queensberry. If the second-quarter blitz by Glenelg was the beginning of the end for North Adelaide the third quarter signalled the absolute capitulation.

With spiteful acts exploding like hand grenades all over the ground, North players in particular lost sight of one of their targets. Too many of them either backed out of the game or tiptoed around Football Park in a way that gave the side no chance of victory against the fiercely intimidating Glenelg outfit.

North seemed as though it was going to inflict a humiliating defeat on Glenelg when it careered to an impressive 7.5 to 2.6 lead midway through the first term. Ruckman Mike Redden led North's charge of the height brigade with a superb opening against Wayne Henwood, while near the goal square Mike Parsons, who must surely do his training on a pogo stick, was embarrassing Chris Duthy. So threatening were Redden and Parsons that Comes was forced to switch Henwood to full back to combat Parsons - a job he achieved with remarkable success; with Peter Carey then having to do almost all the ruck work for the rest of the game. Carey, one of the last of the dinosaurs, was a long way from his giant-killing days of the past but his worth on Football Park on Saturday was inestimable.

North rover Tony Antrobus was also irritating Glenelg - and a large chunk of the 50,289 crowd. His skill and tactics unbalanced Glenelg repeatedly in the first half and it was a tribute to his resilience that he survived the game. It has just about got to the stage where Antrobus might consider taking a "minder" with him wherever he plays.

North was also succeeding on the wings where the artful Matthew Campell and Brenton Phillips were reliable sources of supply.

But in the third term, reminded by Comes that "this is the most important quarter of football this year," Glenelg, which until then had been a team of wandering impulses applied itself 100 percent to winning. And while the North players were doing other things Glenelg was robbing them of the game.

Chris McDermott was inspirational. He was a hero to the Glenelg crowd- a society founded on hero worship. But so also were rover Tony McGuinness, half-forward Tony Symonds, Peter Maynard and half-forward David Marshall. Their different skills provided an avalanche of scoring opportunities that finally overwhelmed North.

Then in defence were Ross Gibbs and Henwood - the former Sandgropers doing everything but groping. A curious mix of brute power and cool arrogance played according to the defender's commandment - "Thou shalt not pass."

But the biggest monument in the game was Glenelg centre half-forward Stephen Kernahan, who won the Jack Oatey Medal as best afield. He was the Glenelg heart, the one player North never controlled, never subdued. After a worrying start, he imposed his special dignity on the game and probably more than anyone else started the alarm bells ringing for North.

And as the sounds of failure echoed inside the heads of the North players, unbridled joy welled in the eyes of the Glenelg players, overflowed down their cheeks and allowed them to hug and kiss each other in celebration of a memorable victory.


Jubilant scenes after Glenelg defeat North Adelaide in the 1985 grand final.
McGuinness, Cornes and McDermott with the cup after the 1985 grand final.
Glenelg players unveil the Westend chimney to reveal the black and gold colours after winning the 1985 grand final.

By Alan Shiell

Three times in 65 years hardly qualifies Glenelg as an experienced campaigner at celebrating premierships. But, boy, do the Tigers know how to celebrate a flag in style! And with a thirst that knows no bounds. Fifteen thousand jubilant people (at $2 a head for adults) waltzed through the gates on Saturday night. Yesterday morning, with a sense of enviable community pride, Glenelg Footballers Club manager Rod Fiegert announced that the empties amounted to no fewer than 57 18-gallon kegs of beer inside the club and 20,160 cans on the Bay Oval. Allied with gallons of spirits and soft drinks, this is, of course, some achievement. It represents probably the biggest one-night booze-up in the history of SA sport. And they were at it again yesterday! Didn't some of them know that they had to front up at the SA Brewing Company this morning for the traditional unveiling of the chimney ... and then on to Peter Darley's Wellington Hotel to quench an unquenchable thirst? Yes, but THE Swim Through Glenelg really was special; perhaps not so much the celebrating of a premiership as the glorious recognition and overwhelming relief that Saturday, October 5, 1985, had become the most significant date in the Tigers' tormented history.

They are a proud club... with reason, for they give their loyal members and supporters a good run for their money. They win more games than they lose. And they always seem to be in the finals. But they have gone into eight grand finals since 1969, and seven times they had gone back to Brighton Road as losers.

Another loss would have been, well, catastrophic. That old line about so and so taking a running jump off the end of the Glenelg Jetty could have stopped being a joke, Glenelg's football director, Harry Kernahan, recognised this yesterday when he said: "This premiership was especially important for 21 men - our 20 players and coach Graham Cornes - because of all the flak that has been thrown at Glenelg players over our losing grand finals. "It was a responsibility that rested heavily on their shoulders. Now, if anyone in SA doesn't believe the grand-final bogy has been laid to rest, he or she is a fool".

So is there any wonder that Glenelg is nursing a collective hangover today? Or that it will be some time before the cheers, beers and tears subside?

See also

1. Video of first half match highlights

2. Video of second half match highlights

3. Purchase a complete copy of this match on DVD


1. The Advertiser newspaper Monday 7th October 1985

2. SANFL 1985 grand final Football Budget

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