On September 29, 1973, Richmond turned the tables on Carlton after a shock 1972 Grand Final loss the year prior, winning by 30 points in front of 116,956 spectators at the MCG. 

1973 Grand Final details

Richmond         3.5       11.8     15.11   16.20  (116)
Carlton             2.2       7.6       9.9       12.14 (86)

Goals – Richmond: Hart 3, Sheedy 3, Stewart 3, Balme 2, Sproule 2, Bartlett, Carter, Green.
Best – Richmond: Bartlett, Sheedy, Green, Stewart, Hart, Sproule.

1973 premiership team

Backs L Fowler D Clay R Hunt
Half Backs M Keane F Bourke R McGhie
Centres B Wood I Stewart W Walsh
Half Forwards K Sheedy R Hart S Rae
Forwards M Green N Balme N Carter
Ruck B Roberts P Sproule K Bartlett
Reserve C McKellar K Morris  
Coach T Hafey    


An action shot from the 1973 VFL Grand Final

1973 Grand Final review

1st quarter:  The ’73 Grand Final was played in hot, dry conditions in front of a crowd of 116,956 people.  The match started with Kevin Bartlett in everything, gathering kicks at will.  A sensational incident occurred at the four-minute mark when Carlton powerhouse John Nicholls collided with small Richmond back pocket Laurie Fowler.  Nicholls ran out to meet an Alex Jesaulenko kick and Fowler, running towards Nicholls, felled him.  Nicholls goaled from the resultant free kick and 15-metre penalty.  But unlike the previous year, Nicholls had no further influence on this Grand Final.  Richmond’s first goal came when Noel Carter marked unattended and passed to Kevin Sheedy, who marked and kicked truly.  

Brian “The Whale” Roberts started to dominate in the rucking contests, but the general standard of play was untidy.  Francis Bourke was limping noticeably after applying a strong tackle.  Paul Sproule scored a point before Sheedy, using his guile, was awarded a free kick, which resulted in his second goal.  Michael Green then palmed the ball to Royce Hart from a boundary throw-in, but his snap-shot missed.  

Tempers became frayed as Wayne Walsh and Brent Crosswell stood toe-to-toe trading blows on the members’ wing.  Richmond was playing the better football as Sproule handballed to Sheedy, who steered through his third goal.  David McKay kicked a fine goal to reply for Carlton.  Sproule, Neil Balme and Stephen Rae all kicked points for the Tigers.  Ian Stewart, enjoying an excellent first quarter, took a fine high mark over the pack on the outer wing.  The term ended with Richmond holding a nine-point lead.


2nd quarter:  Green kicked Richmond’s first goal from a free kick at centre half-forward.  Carlton replied quickly with McKay and Kevin Hall both scoring goals from long kicks.  The Tigers then responded through Balme, who gathered the ball in a pack and handballed to the running Carter, who kicked accurately.  David Dickson replied for the Blues after taking a mark.  Hart found Sheedy, but his dribbling kick hit the post.  Balme collected Carlton full-back Geoff Southby in a pack as tempers overflowed.  Shortly after, Balme gave Blues’ back pocket Vin Waite the same treatment.  Southby was very groggy and eventually had to leave the field.  Sheedy kicked a point after cleverly avoiding several tackles, before Hart was pushed in the back and goaled from the resultant free kick.  

Carlton attacked on several occasions, but could manage only two points, before Hall snapped a fine goal.  Richmond replied when Bartlett goaled from the goal square after receiving a free kick for a high tackle.  Hart then provided the Tigers with more inspiration when he flew in front of a pack to mark the ball on the outer side half-forward flank.  He then followed up with a superb angle goal from the boundary line.  Shortly after this, Hart swooped on a loose ball, but his snap-shot missed.  

Bourke provided further inspiration on the members’ wing by attacking the ball at top pace, gathering it in, and kicking deep into the forward line, where Balme gained possession out of a pack situation and snapped a top goal from a very acute angle.  The Tigers were playing with more purpose as Whale Roberts goaled from the boundary line after taking a chest mark.  Dickson replied for the Blues from a snap-shot.  Stewart capped off a fine first half by goaling after the siren from a free kick.  The quarter finished with Richmond leading by 26 points.

3rd quarter:  Richmond scored the first goal after half-time when Hart converted from a free kick for a push in the back.  Stewart was limping and subsequently moved to the half-forward line.  He was soon in the action, getting on the receiving end of handballs from Balme and Rae, and finishing off the good work with a goal from the forward pocket.  The Tigers’ defence, led by Bourke and Dick Clay, backed their judgment and continually repelled Carlton’s attacking thrusts.  Roberts snapped what appeared to be a goal, however, the goal umpire belatedly signalled that the kick had been touched.  Fowler typified the Tigers’ determination when he threw himself backwards to mark.  

The Blues eventually broke through when Neil Chandler snapped a goal.  But Richmond replied when Roberts marked strongly at centre half-forward and fed the ball to Bartlett, whose high kick landed 20 metres from goal, where Stewart whipped in, gathered possession, and finished off with a fine left-foot snap.  Hart, after a great mark, surprisingly missed from close range.  He was very dominant at this stage, taking several telling marks.  The Tigers still led by 32 points after Robert Walls kicked Carlton’s ninth goal.  Walsh scored the last goal of the third term with a good snap, to give Richmond a commanding 38-point lead at the final change.

4th quarter:  Carlton fought back strongly in the early part of the last quarter with snap-shot goals from Walls and Gary Crane.  The Blues cut the margin to just 18 points when Crane goaled again.  Kevin Morris replaced Carter and immediately came under notice with several dashes.  Bartlett again was particularly prominent, gathering kicks all over the ground.  Richmond had several chances to convert with Balme and Stewart kicking points after marking close to goal.  Jesaulenko and Phil Pinnell also scored points for Carlton.  The Tigers steadied, but could add only further points to Sheedy and Morris, before Nicholls missed for the Blues from the goal square.  Balme then kicked two more points, with one hitting the post.  

A wayward kick from Hall found Sheedy, who sent the ball forward to Balme, who marked and goaled, to put the result beyond doubt.  Richmond finished the quarter with 1.9 as Wood and Stewart added further points before the final siren.  It was a truly memorable, unique day for the Tigers, with premiership wins in the seniors, reserves, under 19s and under 17s.


1973 newspaper
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