With little more than a minute to go, the 2004 Preliminary Final between St Kilda and Port Adelaide was already touted as one of the greatest ever.
But there would be one more piece to the Power’s fairy-tale puzzle.
Port midfielder Roger James’ 28th disposal wasn’t one of his best. On the half-forward flank, James’ kick slewed off the side of his wet boot and landed out of bounds on the full.
St Kilda’s Aussie Jones switched play quickly to Stephen Powell at centre-half back who found a 21-year-old Nick Riewoldt on one of those searching leads across ground we would grow accustom to in the next decade.
Riewoldt wanted to move the ball quickly but was forced to wait for his teammates to position themselves before launching the ball inside 50.
“I remember the ball going over the back of the contest of players,” James told AFLPlayers.com.au.
“Brent Guerra was the only one in the picture to run into an open goal before Shauny Burgoyne came out of nowhere and dived across his boot and saving a certain goal.”
The ball then slipped out of play and forced a stoppage. Had a goal been kicked, the scores would’ve levelled, almost certainly leading to the rare occasion of extra time needing to separate the two sides.
Another stoppage ensued before Michael Wilson scored a free kick in the back-pocket. As he kicked the ball as far and as wide as possible, the siren that would result in Port Adelaide going through to and eventually winning their first Grand Final sounded.
James wasn’t surprised at Burgoyne’s match-saving effort but admits he didn’t grasp the significance of the occasion at the time.
“I probably didn’t realise at the time how important that moment was,” James added.
“I was actually pretty lucky because leading up to that I was the one who kicked the ball out on the full at the other end, so if they scored it would’ve been my fault.
“If you look at Shaun Burgoyne’s highlights, he almost does that sort of stuff every week. He was only a young bloke then but not too many would’ve got to that ball the way he did.
“It was an amazing effort from Shauny.”
Despite his last kick for the night, James was one of the Power’s best performers with 20 of his 28 touches being contested and he also kicked a goal.
And he vividly remembers the club’s history leading to that point in time and how important the win was for.
“Given we’d been branded as chokers and had been around the mark in the the few years previously, to win that and ultimately secure the premiership in 2004 is a time of my life I’ll never forget.”