Gary Ablett collects Dylan Shiel with a high elbow.
Gary Ablett collects Dylan Shiel with a high elbow.

15 weirdest footy moments of 2019

UNLESS you've been living like a hermit for the past eight months you know Richmond are the AFL premiers, Nat Fyfe won the Brownlow and Tim Kelly is now an Eagle.

But do you remember the Essendon player catching a taxi to hospital, postgate, Phil Inn, "behavioural security officers" and the last ever AFLX champion?

Here are 15 offbeat moments from 2019 you might have missed.

 

HURT BOMBER HAILS A CAB

A taxi driver waiting outside Perth Stadium during West Coast's clash against Essendon in June may have got a surprise when injured Bombers forward Matt Guelfi hopped in the front passenger seat.

Guelfi suffered suspected rib damage early in the game and was sent to hospital for scans, and opted for a cab even though an ambulance was available.

He was cleared of serious injury and flew home with his teammates but missed the following round against GWS.

While it certainly looked odd, Essendon and AFL medical experts said it was just the most convenient way to transport a player.

But commentator Brian Taylor wasn't impressed.

"It wasn't even one of the nice ones," he said on Channel 7.

"I would bet he'd have to fork out 10 bucks at the other end.

"It's just not good enough."

Essendon’s Matt Guelfi gets in a taxi outside Perth Stadium.
Essendon’s Matt Guelfi gets in a taxi outside Perth Stadium.

PHIL INN

Collingwood midfielder Brayden Sier landed himself in hot water when he was busted playing local basketball despite being ruled out of AFL action with a calf injury.

Making matters worse, he reportedly told the club he was only shooting some baskets at half-time of a Diamond Valley Basketball Association Division 3 match.

He eventually confessed to donning a singlet for about 20 minutes under the pseudonym "Phil Inn".

"He made a couple of errors in the situation. One to play the game and two, to try to sweep it under the carpet," Magpies coach Nathan Buckley said.

Bucks was less than impressed when Channel 7 made light of the incident by using an on-screen graphic during its Friday night coverage that listed "Phil Inn" on Collingwood's injury list.

Asked whether he could see the lighter side, Buckley said: "No. There wasn't a lot of humour in that."

Magpie Brayden Sier, AKA Phil Inn.
Magpie Brayden Sier, AKA Phil Inn.

EDDIE SORRY FOR COIN TOSS GAFFE

Predicting before Round 1 that Eddie McGuire would be involved in some sort of controversy during the season would not have been an outlandish bet, but if you said it was over how the coin is tossed before the game you would have received some very strange looks.

Yet that's exactly what he managed to do when he declared anyone who can't toss a coin properly should be fined $5000. The problem was as he said it Cynthia Banham - who was on a Garuda Indonesia plane that crashed in 2007, leaving her with burns to 60 per cent of her body - was tossing the coin before a Swans v Adelaide game.

"I would never make light of a person with a disability and I'm profoundly sorry," McGuire said.

"I saw the coin flick out and went out on a tangent of jocularity. It was mucking around. You get beaten up in the media on these things but not half as much as you beat yourself up."

He also penned a letter apologising to Banham.

Sydney ambassador Cynthia Banham tossed the coin before the Swans played Adelaide.
Sydney ambassador Cynthia Banham tossed the coin before the Swans played Adelaide.

POSTGATE

Dane Rampe won Sydney's best-and-fairest this year, his first season as Swans co-captain.

But his year will be remembered for a bizarre night in May when he lost the plot twice during a nailbiting win against Essendon.

As David Myers was lining up after the final siren for what would have been a matchwinning goal from 60m out, Rampe had the bright idea to climb one of the goalposts - a move one writer dubbed "the brain explosion of the season".

Essendon players and fans blew up when Rampe wasn't penalised for the move at the time, which had a confusing aftermath.

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan defended the umpires' decision not to pay a free kick, but Rampe later received a suspended $1000 fine.

He was also hit with a $10,000 fine for telling umpire Jacob Mollison he "talks like a little girl" in the same game.

Dane Rampe scampers up the goalpost.
Dane Rampe scampers up the goalpost.

 

WOWEE, TEEN STUMPS ROAMING BRIAN

Roaming Brian delivered Friday night gold throughout the season, and the highlight came when Channel 7's Brian Taylor headed to Port Adelaide's rooms following a win against North Melbourne in April.

The former Tigers and Magpies full-forward approached Xavier Duursma, who had kicked a goal among his 24 touches against the Kangaroos, after Connor Rozee tipped in his teammate.

"He was good with the women back in the day but he's got a girlfriend now so he's tied down," Rozee told Taylor.

Taylor made a beeline for Duursma and the young gun introduced his best mate, cousins and partner, who were celebrating the win in Port's inner sanctum. After quizzing the teenager about his exuberant bow and arrow goal celebration talk quickly turned to Duursma's love life.

BT: I thought this may have been your girlfriend over the back. How romantic is he, by the way?

Girlfriend: He's pretty good.

BT: What's the most romantic thing (he's done)? What did you do on Valentine's Day for instance?

Girlfriend: I was actually at school, and he organised for my friend to get stuff brought to me at school. It was pretty cute.

This is where things took an interesting turn. The face Taylor made when he learnt she was still young enough to be at school said it all.

"This is younger than I thought," Taylor said. "Oh boy. I can't believe what we're unearthing down here."

Umpire Alex Whetton hits the deck.
Umpire Alex Whetton hits the deck.

 

TOUGH YEAR FOR UMPS

If trying to adjudicate a host of rule changes wasn't enough, umpires also found themselves in the line of fire on more than one occasion in 2019.

"Razor" Ray Chamberlain found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time during a game between North Melbourne and Richmond in May.

Tiger Dylan Grimes kicked the ball out of mid air and didn't strike it sweetly as it came off the side of the boot and straight into Chamberlain's path.

The ball was travelling at such speed the umpire didn't have a chance to get out of the way before it struck him in the most awkward spot, torpedoing him into the air before he came crashing down into the turf.

"Razor has copped one, well let's just say it, right in the cods," Brian Taylor said on Channel 7.

Luckily, Chamberlain wasn't hurt and bounced straight back to his feet to officiate the play unfolding in front of him before gesturing to the crowd that all was well.

"I got checked out by the paramedics just to make sure everything was all right," Chamberlain told Channel 7 after the game.

"I want to refute this idea that the players' foot skills have dropped off because that's not an easy target.

"I had nowhere to go."

Field umpire Alex Whetton came off worse when Fremantle forward Lachie Schultz collided with him during a game at Perth Stadium in August.

Whetton was knocked out cold and lay on the turf for several minutes after the accidental, and ugly, clash of heads.

The umpire was eventually helped to his feet and walked off the ground before he was replaced by the emergency field umpire for the rest of the match.

A security guard keeps a close eye on Carlton fans.
A security guard keeps a close eye on Carlton fans.

'FLOG MAN' FIGHTS BACK

A Carlton fan named Frankie found himself at the centre of another umpire storm after he was ejected from Marvel Stadium during a crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

The AFL eventually conceded Frankie did not run across two bays to call umpire Mathew Nicholls a "baldheaded flog", as claimed by league boss Gillon McLachlan.

It later emerged McLachlan had made the allegations to 3AW's Neil Mitchell by phone while attending a lavish 50th birthday party in Hawaii.

The AFL instituted a crackdown in response to several stoushes in the crowd, but security staff later admitted they went too far as "behavioural security officers" patrolled the stands.

 

THIS GEELONG BANNER

Oops.

Geelong's cheer squad forgot to run this banner through spell check.
Geelong's cheer squad forgot to run this banner through spell check.

BRAD SCOTT GOES DOWN SWINGING

Brad Scott was never one to take a backward step as a player, and in his final game as North Melbourne coach he apparently wanted to settle a score with media critic, and former Kangaroo, David King.

Scott was animated as he ran towards the Kangaroos huddle at the three-quarter time break, and appeared to brush past King, who was working as boundary rider for Fox Footy.

He then made a few comments that weren't hard for any lip reader to decipher.

"I didn't know he was coming, clearly," King said, although Scott denied making a "beeline" for him.

"It was funny. I found it quite hilarious."

It certainly wasn't the first time an AFL coach has had a run-in with a member of the media.

 

END OF THE FOOTY SHOW

Ratings had been tanking for years and a radical shake-up of on-air talent couldn't save Channel 9 flagship The Footy Show.

After 25 years on air the network axed the once-popular Thursday night show in May.

Co-host Brendan Fevola revealed how the hosts learned the show's fate after the cameras stopped rolling.

"We got off air ... and then we got taken into a room by all the big dogs at Channel 9," he said.

"They said that obviously, with the ratings, that they couldn't go on any more, which is fair enough."

The show returned for a Grand Final special to modest ratings and mixed reviews.

 

Gary Ablett takes on Dylan Shiel.
Gary Ablett takes on Dylan Shiel.

 

GARY ABLETT GOES THE BIFF

Gary Ablett had never been suspended in 17 seasons, so it came as a shock when he was under match review scrutiny three weeks in a row.

The bizarre run started with an elbow to the head of Essendon's Dylan Shiel that drew a one-match ban, which was overturned by the tribunal.

The next week Ablett escaped penalty after Michael Christian deemed another high hit on North Melbourne's Sam Wright was of "insufficient force" to constitute a reportable offence.

Bit it was third time unlucky a week later when he sat out a week after striking Gold Coast's Anthony Miles.

"He's at a bit of a loss to explain why he did what he did, especially given the AFL's been so clear when it comes to any sort of punching acts," coach Chris Scott said.

... and Anthony Miles.
... and Anthony Miles.

 

MCG FOOD POISONING DRAMA

Getting a ticket to an exclusive MCG luncheon on Anzac Day should be just about the best seat in the house for one of the biggest games of the season.

But it turned sour for seven fans who ended up in hospital with suspected food poisoning.

Some fell ill less than 20 minutes after downing the chicken and rabbit terrine entree.

In all police said 30 people were assessed by paramedics after some began fainting and vomiting soon after the $725 a head luncheon.

"All seven people who were transported to hospital were treated in emergency and discharged straight away and have not been admitted to hospital," Victoria's acting chief health officer Dr Angie Bone said.

"There are no reports of any ongoing illness so we believe this to be an isolated incident."

AFLX premiers Rampage.
AFLX premiers Rampage.

RIP AFLX

It was fun while it lasted.

The second - and last (for now, at least) - AFLX tournament was staged in February featuring four teams: Bolts, Rampage, Flyers and Deadly plus silver balls, super goals and something called the Gatorade game changer.

The T20-style format was hailed as "fun" by Gill McLachlan but slammed by fans on social media.

Rampage captain Jack Riewoldt snapped the matchwinning goal in the final (worth 20 points for some reason) and may go down in history as the only man to win an AFL and AFLX premiership in the same season.

The tournament was canned in August but the concept might not be totally dead.

Tom Lynch’s costume at Wacky Wednesday.
Tom Lynch’s costume at Wacky Wednesday.

 

TOM LYNCH WINS WACKY WEDNESDAY

Richmond champ Alex Rance was quizzed last year about the Tigers' plans to recruit then Gold Coast captain Tom Lynch.

"I don't necessarily believe, in my opinion, that we should be upsetting the apple cart to go and chase a big fish," he said.

Richmond's recruiters ignored Rance's advice we think they got it right after Lynch booted 63 goals and claimed a premiership medal in his first season as a Tiger.

And the quietly-spoken forward clearly has a long memory, dressing up as a farmer for the club's "wacky Wednesday" party and posting a photo on Instagram with the caption "apple carts hey".

 

AND, LASTLY, THIS PHOTO

Well played Aaron Sandilands and Hayden Ballantyne for the best chairing off ever.

Aaron Sandilands and Hayden Ballantyne leave the field after their last AFL game.
Aaron Sandilands and Hayden Ballantyne leave the field after their last AFL game.