40 years ago today, Leigh Matthews split the Windy Hill behind post

Consider this another vintage ‘It’ Happens moment.

It’s Round 18, 1982, 3rd-placed Hawthorn are playing 4th-placed Essendon at Windy Hill on a cold rainy Saturday to end the month of July, and at 3/4 time, the Bombers led the Hawks by 19 points (11.8-74 to 8.7-55) with the rain closing in on Melbourne, a rare sight given how drought-stricken Eastern Australia was in the early 1980s, which resulted in 1982 becoming the highest scoring season in history.

Not wasting any time kicking with the wind, Michael Tuck kicked the first goal of the final quarter for the Hawks, which was followed by Hawks captain Leigh Matthews kicking another 2 goals in as many minutes (All 3 goals came inside 6 minutes) to give the visitors all the momentum…

But the final quarter of this game wasn’t quite remembered for the heroics of Lethal Leigh in willing the Hawks over the line, it was remembered for one of the more unique incidents in league history, when Matthews ran back towards goal alongside Roger Merrett tracking a wayward kick….

And in the days before padding on all four posts, Lethal ran into the point post and snapped a metre off the top, stepping on the boundary umpire’s foot in the process.

Supposedly the Windy Hill ground staff glued an extension onto the posts to meet VFL standards, which caused the split

Matthews was so focused on the game had no idea what he’d just done, while Lou Richards, better known as Louie The Lip, had the appropriate line in the immediate aftermath:

“Talk about a He-Man!”

As for the rest of the game, led by 3 goals from Matthews, plus efforts from David O’Halloran, Russell Greene and Terry Wallace, the Hawks ultimately kicked 7 goals to 1 in the final term and won by 18 points, 15.10-100 to 12.10-82.

As for the fabled split post, it was later purchased by another legend in Ron Barassi, who held it in his private collection until 2016, when said collection was bought before auction by former Toll Holdings chief (And former Essendon president) Paul Little.

Categories: AFL

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