Football History On Sunday, May 3rd

The glory days of semi-professionalism

Sunday, May 3rd, 1992.

The day after Jason Dunstall kicked 17 goals against Richmond, falling one short of equalling Fred Fanning’s VFL/AFL record of 18, Malcolm Blight’s free-scoring Geelong travelled up to the Gold Coast to play the Brisbane Bears at Carrara.

The end result, a major slice of AFL history – Geelong broke Fitzroy’s 1979 record (36.22-238) for the highest score in VFL/AFL history.

37.17 – 239.

Ironically, the Catters got the outright record thanks to a behind on the siren from one Anthony William Brownless.

With the Bears finishing on 11.9-75, it was a club record 164 point win for the Pivotonians, a great recovery after kicking a disappointing 7 goals in the 1st Quarter.

9 Geelong players kicked at least 2 goals – Gary Ablett Snr led the way with 9 majors, Paul Brown kicked 6, and, oddly enough, Brisbane’s John Hutton kicked 8 goals without a miss.

Somehow, Costa Sports on YouTube managed to find a tape of the entire game!

Some historical notes

The week after setting the league record, Geelong became the first team in VFL/AFL history to record 200+ points in consecutive games, racking up 32.18-210 against Adelaide at Kardinia Park.

The 1992 Cats averaged a lazy 136.8 points per game in 1992 (138.95 if you only count the Home & Away rounds), which remains the record for scoring in a season – Geelong of 1989 are next best at 132.77.

If you ask me, those averages are the perfect way of explaining Malcolm Blight’s Geelong teams – The simple mindset of ‘Just score one more goal than the opposition.’

It was dazzling to watch, especially with G.Ablett at full-forward and Brownless as his decoy, but unfortunately, it didn’t quite work against those Malthouse-coached West Coast teams, who knew how to defend.

And also attack.

19 years later, the Cats equalled their own league record of 37 goals in a game, against Melbourne in Round 19 of 2011, recording the fourth-highest score of all-time, and the second-biggest win of all-time – 186 points.

A game so brutal, it is now simply referred to as ‘186’

1992 was also the last season the Bears played home games at Carrara – They finally managed to play games at the Gabba in 1991 (Their first game saw Brownless kick a Gabba record 11 goals), but the greyhound track made the field smaller than the SCG, which was the main reason the Bears spent their formative years at the bigger Carrara, despite it literally being a portable tip.

Talk about a blast from the past – The gruelling 895m on grass for the Gabba dishlickers!

Dogsy Dolan with the call of The Gabba Thousand

What finally changed was that the Queensland Government offered the Gabba Greyhound Racing Club a lucrative offer to relocate and join up with the trots Albion Park (Which GGRC happily took up), and the last greyhound race was held in February 1993, allowing the Bears to permanently move to an upgraded Gabba for the 1993 season.

Thanks to a team named Brisbane actually playing in Brisbane, their average attendance rocketed by 71%, finally giving the Bears a fair crack at building a supporter base.

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