In the late 20th century, as the world started taking shape as we know it today, the Australian Football League Finals became a more global event.

Classic Grand Finals Between 1971 and 2000

  • The 1972 final is remembered as the highest-scoring final of all time, keeping that title to this day. This is the deed of Carlton and Richmond who, combined, scored 50.27 (327).
  • In 1975, as the last of the 12 VFL teams, North Melbourne finally won their first finals.
  • 1977 brought another victory for North Melbourne. Being the first grand final to be broadcasted on television, it resulted in a draw between Collingwood and North Melbourne. Melbourne won in the replay the next week.
  • In the 1979 finals, Carlton’s Wayne Harmes was given the Norm Smith medal as best on-field. Harmes entered the legend winning this game by tapping the ball square from the boundary line for his teammate to hit the winning goal.
  • The 1982 finals are marked by Maurice Rioli of Richmond winning the Norm Smith Medal despite being a member of the losing team.
  • ‘The battle of ’89’ was the final’s most closely fought match between Hawthorn and Geelong. The game earned this nickname because many players had to be hospitalized after the game, Dermott Brereton was knocked out and still continued to play after regaining consciousness, while Robert DiPierdomenico played three quarters with a punctured lung.
  • Famous Collingwood had a 32-year streak of bad luck, that was finally broken in 1990 when they won the AFL finals, ending the notorious ‘Colliwobbles’.
  • In 1992 West Coast was the first team outside of Victoria to win a premiership.
  • 1996 was the 100th anniversary of AFL/VFL, and the winner North Melbourne received the only golden premiership cup.
  • In 1998 Adelaide became the first club in the modern times of AFL to win the finals after finishing lower than fifth on the home-and-away season ladder.