Tuesday, 28 May 2024

AFL (&VFL) Grand Final Sprint

The AFL (&VFL) Grand Final Sprint is a highly anticipated event held on the day of the AFL Grand Final. It takes place at halftime of the main match and showcases the speed and agility of some of the league’s top players.

A Brief History

The Grand Final Sprint has a rich history, with the first race taking place in 1979. However, in 1977 and 1978, there was a one-mile race held instead. The sprint event covers a distance of 100 meters and follows certain rules, such as not allowing starting blocks but allowing running spikes. Each club nominates one player to participate, although players from the teams competing in the Grand Final are not always present. It’s worth noting that the event was not held between 1988 and 2001.

Notable Winners

Over the years, several players have stood out in the Grand Final Sprint. Geoff Ablett holds the record for the most wins, with four victories (1979-1981, 1985) representing St Kilda and Hawthorn. Patrick Dangerfield from the Adelaide Crows is another notable champion, having won the event three times (2011-2013).

Recent Winners

Let’s take a closer look at the winners of the Grand Final Sprint in recent years.

2023 Winner: Max Holmes (Geelong)

The Coles 2023 Grand Final Sprint featured two heats involving a player from each of the 18 clubs. Max Holmes from Geelong emerged as the champion, crossing the finish line well ahead of Jaxon Prior from Brisbane and Jed Adams from Melbourne. Holmes, an experienced junior athlete, brought his own spikes and showcased his speed and talent in the race.

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Final Placings:

  1. Geelong Cats – Max Holmes
  2. Brisbane Lions – Jaxon Prior
  3. Melbourne – Jed Adams
  4. Port Adelaide – Jed McEntee
  5. Western Bulldogs – Ed Richards
  6. Hawthorn – Josh Weddle
  7. Adelaide Crows – Mitchell Hinge
  8. Essendon – Nic Martin

2022 Winner: Hugo Ralphsmith (Richmond)

The 2022 Grand Final Sprint returned to a full field, with runners from all clubs participating. The sprint took place at the first break and was held along the 50m arc in honor of sponsors Colgate smile. Hugo Ralphsmith from Richmond emerged as the winner, followed by Laitham Vandermeer from the Western Bulldogs and Miles Bergman from Port Adelaide.

Final Placings:

  1. Richmond: Hugo Ralphsmith
  2. Western Bulldogs: Laitham Vandermeer
  3. Port Adelaide: Miles Bergman
  4. St Kilda: Brad Hill
  5. Collingwood: Isaac Quaynor
  6. Geelong Cats: Shannon Neale
  7. Carlton: Matthew Cottrell
  8. GWS Giants: Leek Aleer

2021 Winner: Josh Rotham (West Coast)

The 2021 Grand Final Sprint had a unique format, with only players from West Coast and Fremantle participating due to strict border rules. The race took place at quarter-time and provided an exciting display of speed and athleticism. Josh Rotham from West Coast emerged as the winner, narrowly beating out his teammate Jack Petruccelle. Liam Ryan from West Coast finished third.

Finishing Order:

  1. Josh Rotham
  2. Jack Petruccelle
  3. Liam Ryan
  4. Liam Henry
  5. Ethan Hughes
  6. Andrew Brayshaw
  7. Luke Ryan
  8. Tom Cole

FAQs

Q: How long is the Grand Final Sprint?
A: The race covers a distance of 100 meters.

Q: Are starting blocks allowed in the sprint?
A: No, starting blocks are not allowed, but running spikes are allowed.

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Q: How many players from each club can participate in the sprint?
A: Each club nominates one player to participate in the sprint.

Q: Are players from the teams competing in the Grand Final always present in the sprint?
A: No, players from the teams competing in the Grand Final are not always present in the sprint.

Q: Who is the most successful sprinter in the history of the Grand Final Sprint?
A: Geoff Ablett holds the record for the most wins, with four victories.

Conclusion

The AFL (&VFL) Grand Final Sprint is a highly anticipated event that showcases the speed and agility of AFL players. With a rich history dating back to 1979, the race has seen some remarkable performances from notable champions like Geoff Ablett and Patrick Dangerfield. The recent winners, including Max Holmes, Hugo Ralphsmith, and Josh Rotham, have continued to impress with their incredible speed and skill. The Grand Final Sprint is an exciting highlight of the AFL season and a moment that fans eagerly anticipate.