Burgoyne joins finals heroes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Burgoyne joins finals heroes

By Chris Lines 18/09/2004 08:17:10 PM Comments (0)

Gary Buckenara, Tony Lockett and Fraser Brown will now have to find room for Port Adelaide's Shaun Burgoyne in their select group of modern AFL preliminary final heroes.

Just as Hawthorn's Buckenara and Lockett (Sydney) made post-siren kicks, sinking Melbourne and Essendon respectively, to earn grand final berths, and Brown's tackle on Essendon's Dean Wallis put Carlton in the 1999 decider, Burgoyne has earned a spot in history for a last-gasp smother that put the Power into this year's big one.

Port were leading St Kilda by a nerve-jangling six points with less than a minute to play at AAMI Stadium on Saturday night when the Saints conjured one last forward thrust.

A long kick to the teeth of goal spilled over the back of the pack and into the path of Saint - and former Port - forward Brent Guerra who had a yard on his opponents and only had to poke the ball into the open goal to level scores and bring on extra time.

But the lithe Burgoyne made up ground and flung himself like a soccer goalkeeper at the feet of an onrushing striker to block the kick and deliver the Power a first-ever AFL grand final appearance.

"I saw he was by himself, so I thought I'd better dive on it, I thought he was going to soccer it through," the matter-of-fact Burgoyne recounted in his quietly-spoken manner.

"The ball shouldn't have got through the pack like that but I happened to be in the right spot and I got to the ball before him."

"(The coach) mentioned it (after the game), but the team won and I'm happy with that."

Burgoyne's heroics not only ended St Kilda's season but the carping of his critics who suggested he could not perform on the big stage.

Such criticism was justified given that his performances in Port's four finals defeats in 2002 and 2003 yielded a miserable aggregate 23 possessions.

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