2005 AFL Grand Final
Sydney break through their banner, 2005 AFL Grand Final.jpg
The Sydney Swans walk onto the field before the game. The Swans would win the game with a 4-point margin, winning their first premiership in 72 years.
AFL Sydney Icon.jpg

West Coast Eagles 2018 colours.png

West Coast
8.10 (58) 7.12 (54)
1 2 3 4
SYD 3.0 (18) 6.3 (39) 6.5 (41) 8.10 (58)
WCE 2.4 (16) 2.7 (19) 5.9 (39) 7.12 (54)
Date24 September 2005
StadiumMelbourne Cricket Ground
UmpiresScott McLaren (11), Brett Allen (10), Darren Goldspink (32)
Coin toss won bySydney
Kicked towardCity End
Pre-match entertainmentDelta Goodrem, Silvie Paladino, Michael Bublé, Dame Edna Everage, Melbourne Gospel Choir and Australian Girls' Choir
National anthemSilvie Paladino
Norm Smith MedallistChris Judd (West Coast)
Jock McHale MedallistPaul Roos
Broadcast in Australia
NetworkNetwork Ten
CommentatorsStephen Quartermain (Commentator)
Tim Lane (Commentator)
Robert Walls (Expert Commentator)
Stephen Silvagni (Expert Commentator)
Christi Malthouse (Boundary Rider)
Neil Cordy (Boundary Rider)
Tim Gossage (Boundary Rider)
Anthony Hudson (Host)
Malcolm Blight (analyst)
Leigh Matthews (analyst)
← 2004 AFL Grand Final 2006 →

The 2005 AFL Grand Final was an Australian rules football game contested between the Sydney Swans and West Coast Eagles at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 24 September 2005. It was the 109th annual grand final of the Australian Football League (formerly the Victorian Football League),[1] staged to determine the premiers for the 2005 AFL season. The match, attended by 91,898 spectators, was won by Sydney by a margin of four points, marking the club's fourth Premiership and their first since 1933.

It remains the highest-rating AFL game of all time (including 3.4 million metropolitan viewers) since the current OzTam measurement system was introduced in 2001. All told, a total average of 4.449 million people watched the game on TV nationally.[2][3] It is one of the most-watched television broadcasts in Australia since 2001, ranked 8th overall. Put another way, one in every 4.5 Australians watched the game live (22.25% of all Australians).


Main article: 2005 AFL season

Further information: 2005 AFL Finals Series

This was West Coast's first appearance in a grand final since winning the 1994 premiership, whilst it was Sydney's first since losing in 1996, and the Swans had not won a premiership since 1933 (as South Melbourne).

Two players from the Eagles' last premiership in 1994 were appearing in this grand final: Drew Banfield for the Eagles and Jason Ball for the Swans in his last AFL game.

At the conclusion of the home-and-away season, West Coast finished second on the AFL ladder behind Adelaide with 17 wins and five losses. Sydney finished third with 15 wins and seven losses. They met in the qualifying final at Domain Stadium, and West Coast won by four points.

A major turning point in the Swans' season came when they lost to St Kilda at Marvel Stadium in round ten, after which Swans coach Paul Roos came under heavy criticism from the entire AFL for his side's game plan.[4]

The Eagles then punched their ticket to the grand final by defeating minor premiers Adelaide in their preliminary final by 16 points. Meanwhile, Nick Davis famously rescued Sydney in their semifinal at the SCG against Geelong with four 4th-quarter goals including one just seconds before the final siren. The Swans then overcame St Kilda in their preliminary final at the MCG after overturning a 7-point deficit going into the last quarter into a 31-point win with a seven-goal barrage.

In the week leading up to the grand final, West Coast's Ben Cousins was awarded the Brownlow Medal.

Match summary

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West Coast opened the game aggressively, with Sydney struggling to get the ball to their end of the field. However, better goal kicking accuracy by the Swans put them ahead by two points at the first change.

In the second quarter Sydney appeared to be asserting control of the game, kicking three goals while the Eagles got none. However, after the long break, West Coast put their stamp on the game, kicking three goals while the Swans went goalless.

Both teams had seemingly easy goals that were missed, but the Eagles most clearly would remember theirs from the fourth quarter. With just under five minutes remaining in the match, West Coast's Brent Staker almost cost his team the match following a 50-metre penalty to the Swans sending them out of their defensive 50 in a very costly play. With the Swans holding a five-point lead in the closing moments, Sydney's Tadhg Kennelly rushed a behind to blunt a ferocious Eagles attack. After the ensuing kick in, West Coast regained control of the ball and sent a long kick back to the half-forward line by Dean Cox. Sydney's Leo Barry responded by taking a mark in the midst of the pack full of Eagles players (with the commentator Stephen Quartermain saying a sequence of words made famous through frequent replays: "Leo Barry, you star!"), denying the Eagles an opportunity to kick a game-winner on or after the final siren, thus ensuring that the Swans would win their first premiership in 72 years (when they were South Melbourne), ending the longest premiership drought in VFL/AFL history.

The match has been labelled as a 'classic',[5] with the final margin being the closest since the 1977 drawn grand final. This was the first time since the 1989 VFL Grand Final that the grand final was decided by a goal or less.

Eagles player Chris Judd was awarded the Norm Smith Medal for being judged the best player afield, although he finished on the losing side; this is one of only four instances of a Grand Final player having won a Norm Smith Medal without being on the winning premiership team.

The same teams met again in the 2006 AFL Grand Final, in another close match, with the Eagles emerging victors by one point.


Sydney Swans
West Coast Eagles
Sydney Swans
B: 28 Jared Crouch 21 Leo Barry 30 Lewis Roberts-Thomson
HB: 4 Ben Mathews 6 Craig Bolton 17 Tadhg Kennelly
C: 26 Sean Dempster 37 Adam Goodes 32 Amon Buchanan
HF: 5 Ryan O'Keefe 1 Barry Hall (c) 24 Jude Bolton
F: 10 Paul Williams 19 Michael O'Loughlin 2 Nick Davis
Foll: 16 Darren Jolly 31 Brett Kirk 20 Luke Ablett
Int: 27 Jason Ball 42 Paul Bevan 13 Adam Schneider
12 Nic Fosdike
Coach: Paul Roos
West Coast Eagles
B: 39 Adam Hunter 23 Darren Glass 44 David Wirrpanda
HB: 17 Daniel Chick 11 Travis Gaspar 6 Drew Banfield
C: 5 Tyson Stenglein 9 Ben Cousins (c) 32 Andrew Embley
HF: 4 Daniel Kerr 29 Ashley Hansen 41 Brent Staker
F: 35 Kasey Green 1 Michael Gardiner 28 Ashley Sampi
Foll: 20 Dean Cox 3 Chris Judd 7 Chad Fletcher
Int: 37 Adam Selwood 31 Mark Nicoski 26 Sam Butler
14 Mark Seaby
Coach: John Worsfold


Grand final
Saturday, 24 September (2:40 pm) Sydney def. West Coast MCG (crowd: 91,898)
3.0 (18)
6.3 (39)
6.5 (41)
 8.10 (58)
2.4 (16)
2.7 (19)
5.9 (39)
 7.12 (54)
Umpires: Allen, McLaren, Goldspink
Norm Smith Medal: Chris Judd (West Coast)
Television broadcast: Network Ten
National anthem: Silvie Paladino
Hall 2
Jolly, Schneider, O'Loughlin, Kennelly, Goodes, Buchanan 1
Goals 2 Hunter
1 Nicoski, Cox, Embley, Hansen, Cousins
Roberts-Thomson, Goodes, Buchanan, Kennelly, Fosdike, Kirk Best Judd, Wirrpunda, Cousins, Cox, Fletcher
Ball (cut head), C. Bolton (nose), Crouch (ankle) Injuries Kerr (ankle), Gardiner (cut head)
Nil Reports Nil
  • Sydney won their fourth Premiership – their first in Sydney, their first in the AFL era and their first since they won the VFL as South Melbourne in 1933.
  • Tadhg Kennelly became the first Irishman to become an AFL Premiership player. In 2009 Kennelly would go on to become the first man to be both an AFL Premiership player and an All-Ireland Senior (Gaelic) Football Championship winner, achieving this with his native Kerry. It would be 2022 before the second and third Irishmen won an AFL Premiership (Zach Tuohy and Mark O'Connor).[6]
  • Chris Judd became the fourth player to win the Norm Smith Medal despite being on the grand final losing team, joining Maurice Rioli (Richmond 1982), Gary Ablett Sr. (Geelong 1989) and Nathan Buckley (Collingwood 2002).

Match statistics

Team Stats (Syd) (WCE)
Kicks 188 182
Marks 84 68
Handballs 105 104
Tackles 62 59
Hitouts 29 43
Frees 12 13


National Anthem Silvie Paladino
Entertainment Delta Goodrem (I Am Australian)
Australian Idol finalists (Waltzing Matilda)
Silvie Paladino (There You'll Be)
Michael Bublé
Dame Edna Everage
Melbourne Gospel Choir
Australian Girls' Choir
Television broadcaster Network Ten
Television announcers Stephen Quartermain, Tim Lane — play-by-play
Robert Walls, Stephen Silvagni — analysts
Christi Malthouse — sideline reporter
Anthony Hudson — studio host
Leigh Matthews, Malcolm Blight — studio analysts

See also


  1. ^ In 1897 and 1924 there were no grand finals and instead the premier was decided by a round-robin system. In 1948 and 1977 there were grand final replays after initial draws.
  2. ^ "2005 AFL Grand Final TV ratings - regional figures included". BigFooty. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  3. ^ "Grand Final TV viewership biggest in 10 years". westernbulldogs.com.au. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  4. ^ Cowley, Michael (13 April 2006). "Roos v Walls: the war of words continues". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  5. ^ Jim Main, Aussie Rules: For Dummies (2nd edition, 2008) p 10.
  6. ^ "Grand Final joy for Tuohy and O'Connor as Geelong destroy Sydney". RTÉ. 24 September 2022.