This moment is the 13th of a virtual series presenting the Bombers' best 30 moments over 150 years, which fans can vote on for their chance to win prizes. Click here to view and vote, and see the schedule and prizes below.
In 1972, the high-flying, bespectacled Geoff Blethyn kicked 107 goals to join John Coleman as a centurion goalkicker at Essendon. A local product from Strathmore, Blethyn, who in 1968 as a 17-year-old kicked a game-high four goals in the three-point Grand Final loss to Carlton, flourished under the coaching of Des Tuddenham. During pre-season, ‘Tuddy’ sent Blethyn to the gym to improve his grip strength and build more muscle in his legs.
Fitter and stronger than ever, Blethyn kicked seven goals in the opening round, the first of four seven-goal hauls he scored in the opening five rounds. Then, in round 12, Blethyn kicked a career-high 11 goals against Footscray at Windy Hill, evoking memories of the glory days of Coleman.
Entering the round 21 clash with Fitzroy at the Junction Oval, Blethyn required four goals to become just the second Essendon player to reach the ton in a season. In a tight game, which the Bombers had to win to have any chance of playing finals, Blethyn brought up the milestone in the third quarter, the second time that term he thought he had reached the century. At the first attempt, ruckman Don McKenzie had illegally shepherded an opponent on the goal line and the goal was disallowed. Five minutes later, to Blethyn’s delight, “Don watched it go over his head".
Then came the tsunami of spectators.
“The crowd rushed on the ground the first time when it was disallowed, so that was like a rehearsal for the second time,” Blethyn recalled.
“That second time I was ready for them, whereas, the first time I didn’t know quite what was going to go on. When the crowd is all running to where you are standing, you sort of freeze and think, ‘Where do I go? What do I do?’ But the second time, once I kicked the goal, I was looking over my shoulder at the crowd as I ran away, and I ran straight into the mouth of a police horse, which didn’t taste all that flash hot!”
Blethyn finished the home and away season with 105 goals, kicking two more in the losing elimination final against St Kilda. Then, just like that, he was gone from Windy Hill, accepting an offer to become state manager of a textile company in Western Australia. He would return to Windy Hill four years later, playing another 14 matches and kicking 39 goals, to take his overall VFL tally to 84 games and 216 goals, at an average of 2.57 goals per game.
Blethyn’s time in red and black may have been brief, but he certainly left his mark in 1972.
SCHEDULE OF MOMENTS
Round 1 (launching May 6) - 1872-1939
Round 2 (launching May 10) - 1940-1959
Round 3 (launching May 15) - 1960-1979
Round 4 (launching May 20) - 1980-1989
Round 5 (launching May 25) - 1990-1999
Round 6 (launching May 30) - 2000-2021
Round 7 (launching June 4) - Finals round
Round 1 – One 2022 merchandise pack, including an Essendon New Era Black on Black 9FORTY Snapback cap ($40) and an Essendon Heritage Bar Scarf ($30)
Round 2 – One Essendon Fibre of Football Scarf ($80)
Round 3 - One Essendon Football Club 150-year anniversary commemorative mosaic ($295)
Round 4 – One Essendon Football Club 150-year anniversary commemorative mosaic ($295)
Round 5 – One 2022 team-signed guernsey ($500)
Round 6 – One copy of the Red & Black Collection special 150th anniversary book ($329)
Round 7 – One copy of the Red & Black Collection special 150th anniversary book ($329) and one 2022 team-signed guernsey ($500)