April 26, 2008.
Telstra Dome/Colonial Stadium/Docklands Stadium, Melbourne
Round 6 – Western Bulldogs vs West Coast.
Despite giving away 17cm (16 depending on your sources) to his gargantuan opponent, comparative 187cm smurf Adam Cooney stares down the 204cm Dean Cox, the prototype of a 21st Century versatile ruckman, ahead of the bounce.
With a height advantage like that, Coxy should be winning the tap to someone like Daniel Kerr and giving the Eagles a good crack at the clearance.
Obviously, the reason I’m writing this is because it didn’t happen.
In something that can only be seen to be believed, Cooney promptly turns into Polly Farmer, belts the ball down to Nathan Eagleton, setting in motion a passage of play (With Coons later helping out Scott West) which is capped off by Jason Akermanis snapping through his 4th goal.
Amazingly, that contest was only the second most painful experience Cox had with Cooney – In Round 14, 2006, the big man broke his collarbone in a collision with Coons, forcing him to miss 5 games, although Cox later came back and played in the Eagles’ premiership team.
Thanks to 27 disposals, 2 goals and a hitout, Cooney got 2 Brownlow votes from the umpires, the Bulldogs (Unsurprisingly) won the game by an easy 10 goals, and would eventually finish 3rd and lose another Prelim Final, while the Eagles, thanks to the void left by Judd and Cousins, finished 15th, and decided to avoid future situations like this by drafting Nic Nat 2nd overall.
In addition, for his distinguished performances in the ruck, Cooney was a first-choice pick for the All-Australian team, he would claim a surprise Brownlow Medal (with 24 votes) at season’s end, making Gary Ablett Jnr wait another year.
Cooney became the first No.1 draft pick to win the AFL’s greatest individual honour – As of last season, that unique feat hasn’t changed.