Jason Akermanis – Part 3: Highs and Lows

Jason Akermanis after the second goal at Geelong. Picture: AFL.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of our series here.

The loss to Port Adelaide in the 2004 AFL Grand Final was the end of the famous Brisbane Lions era.

Port had dominated the AFL’s home and away season, but often crumbled when it came to finals.

Three-time premiership player Jason Akermanis said the Lions were confident whenever they’d play Port, even if they’d lost to it during the season.

“Brisbane thought many things, they were our great rivals of that era,” he told The Inner Sanctum.

“Sydney and Collingwood as well.

“I think with Port, internally we were always very confident, and even if they beat us in the home and away season, they didn’t have that extra gear.

“They were so consistent, they wouldn’t drop off, even games where they were out on their feet, but it was kind of their max.

“We felt we were off when they’d beat us, there were enough reasons for us to believe that next time we’d change a few things, not much, but when it came to the crunch.

“The other teams with that level of pressure, we didn’t think they’d had that extra level in finals,”

“In 2004 they needed a lot of luck, had a great prelim final win which was a goal and then they were at home, we had to play that away final instead of playing it at home which was an absolute f**kin’ joke,”

“That was what we thought and I’m sure the evidence will back that up.”

During the Lions’ loss to Port in the 2004 decider, they had significant momentum early in the second quarter, and were looking to extend a lead.

Akermanis had received a free kick 20 metres out from goal, before an incident with Damien Hardwick saw the free kick reversed.

“I remember getting the free kick, it was a dead certainty and Damien Hardwick as he did at the time, he was being a little bit of a d***head and jumped in my face and I gave him a shove which wouldn’t have even blown over some of my really small plants,” he said.

“And Brett Allison, he just fell for us as the f***in’ stupid umpire that he is some days, reverse the free kick.

“I just watched it in slow motion, and it turned the game, I couldn’t believe it and felt so bad.

“I was thinking how on earth did that suck me in, we knew he was going to try that crap.

“It felt like the momentum swung from that.

“I think even at that point Port was sure it wasn’t going to happen, and we were sure it was, it was pretty helpful, thanks Brett.”

Yet, less than 12 months later, Akermanis provided some of the greatest back-to-back goals seen in the AFL.

“When it’s wet, the great thing about that day, it was the last round before the break,” he said.

“We didn’t know at the time and they had a few blokes with a bad flu, I’d kicked a couple of goals earlier.

“I’d made nine tackles and had 35 touches and Leigh (Matthews) would often say you get a lot of the ball but not make many tackles, but that went on to show the ridiculous game it was.

“It was the best game I’d ever played; I remember having to have a break in the third and I did not need a break and it was frustrating.

“I came back late in the quarter, it’s right at the end.

“They were a bit gassed out before a break, things kind of worked out, I kicked that first goal and then the second one, if they were tagging me, they weren’t getting near me.

“The second goal was pretty special, but I’ve been doing that muck around since I moved here.

“Every time it rained I’d go out and kick goals.”

Akermanis would celebrate in style with a shocked face following the second goal.

“That particular one, that came out of the spur of the moment, it came from Eric Cantona at Manchester United, he had one similar to that and I did my own version of that,” he said.

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