IT WILL be forever remembered as one of the closet grand finals in Group 20 history, and now it will be a focus of the game’s 20 year reunionthis weekend.
The reserve grade decider in 1992 between Griffith Black and Whites and Waratah Tigers, was decided in a way that could only have been dreamt up by Hollywood scriptwriters.
The stage was set for a potentially one-sided affair after Waratahs beat Black and Whites by 40 points a fortnight before the grand final.
But grand finals don’t always go according to plan.
“We changed our game plan against them from the previous time we played them, and it was just such a close game (in the final), we needed a lot of things to go our way for us to have a chance,” said John Rule, who coached Black and Whites that fateful day.
“They were a very good side Waratahs, and they had a lot of guys that would go on to play rep footy and they had a lot of recent first grade players as well.
“But in all my years of playing and watching Group 20 football, I’ve never known for a grand final to finish the way this one did.”
With the score locked at 12-all, Waratahs’ Joey Alpen kicked a field goal with just enough time for Black and Whites to get back to halfway for the restart.
“They asked me what we should do and I told them to kick the ball as high as they could off the restart and hope for a mistake, because we didn’t know how long we had, just that it wasn’t very long,” Rule said.
The Tigers regathered the ball, but not before giving away a penalty for obstruction, with the ref’s whistle for full-time coming simultaneously.
With both of their recognised kickers off the field injured, Rule turned to Bill Alpen to take the kick that would win the match 35 metres out and 10 in from the sideline.
“He hadn’t kicked all year, but one night at training I spotted him and he could get some distance on it, and I called him up do it,” Rule said.
“I tuned away from the game, I couldn’t even watch.
“The other guys said he just placed it down, didn’t even line it up and kicked it.
“I was looking at our bench and when they started jumping up and down I turned around and realised he’d got it.”
That magic moment will be recalled and the story retold this Saturday at the Southside League Club from 5pm, with the 1992 first grade side guests of honour.
However, the day is open to all Black and Whites’ Old Boys, as the club seeks to strengthen its links to its past greats.