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March 2020








178 x 20 x 110 mm


400 g

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1989: The Great Grand Final - Coming Soon


It was one of the most exhilarating Grand Finals in AFL history. Allan Jeans’s Hawthorn machine, led by the saintly Michael Tuck, and featuring Hall of Fame talent on every line, taking on Malcolm Blight’s Geelong, reborn from flighty pretenders to serious contenders. From the 1989 VFL Grand Final’s first captivating moment, when Hawk champion Dermott Brereton went crashing to the MCG turf with broken ribs, it was a game as brutal as it was barnstorming. By day’s end a single kick would split the two sides, and the 1980s had been crowned with a contest for the ages. That 1989 was Hawthorn’s seventh successive Grand Final appearance in the club’s starriest decade had not bred complacency, and its players were focused on winning the Hawks’ first back-to-back flags. In Geelong, they faced a tough, skilful opponent featuring its own roll call of champions—Gary Ablett snr, 1989 Brownlow Medallist Paul Couch, Barry Stoneham, Bill Brownless, Mark Bairstow, Garry Hocking—and in Blight, an unpredictable and brilliant coach. The result was an afternoon of wild momentum swings and immortal feats, from Ablett’s record-breaking nine-goal masterclass, to Brereton’s courageous rally. Bones were smashed. Heads were rattled. Lungs were punctured. Legends were made. Tony Wilson was perfectly placed to tell the story of one of the great Grand Finals. As the son of a 1971 Hawks Premiership hero, and a wide-eyed member of Hawthorn’s Under-19s team in 1989, he soaked up the atmosphere of the Glenferrie Oval dressing room, observing the likes of Tuck, Brereton and Jason Dunstall from close quarters—close enough to believe he’d soon join their ranks and live the football dream. In 1989—the Great Grand Final, Wilson journeys back 30 years, revisiting the heroes and villains, reliving and reviving one of footy’s most thrilling days. Following on from Gideon Haigh’s acclaimed Crossing the Line— How Australian cricket lost its way, and Bradman & Packer—the deal that changed cricket, 1989 is the third instalment in Slattery Media Group’s ‘Sports Shorts’ collection, a new home for lively and engaging writing on sport. Every edition will illuminate and entertain, all the while fitting into your back pocket on the way to the game.


Tony Wilson is one of Australia’s favourite writers, and a popular radio host and TV presenter. Having risen to fame as the winner of the ABC series Race Around the World, he has written numerous bestselling books, and in 2006 was named the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelist for his first novel, Players. His journalism and essays have appeared in The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Monthly and Good Weekend.

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