‘Sticks’ busts Bruce myth behind his 10.1 for SA

It’s time for Stephen Kernahan to set the record straight.

IN THE lead-up to the State Of Origin for Bushfire Relief match, it’s rather timely to set the record straight on Stephen Kernahan’s 10-goal haul for South Australia versus Victoria on the night of Tuesday 15 May, 1984.

It’s more than 35 years now since Kernahan, then a fresh-faced 20 year-old, posted that incredible 10.1 from full-forward in a losing team – thereby earning the Fos Williams Medal for best South Australian player afield and offering Carlton supporters a tantalising glimpse of what was to come.

Along the way, urban myth has unfairly dictated that most of ‘Sticks’’ ten were booted on the legendary Bruce Doull.

But in truth:

  1. Kernahan’s first six goals came when Victoria’s Gary Pert was his direct opponent through the entire first and second quarters, and part of the third;
  2. Kernahan’s next two goals were booted on Bruce Doull after Victorian coach Allan Jeans made the switch late in the third; and
  3. Kernahan’s final two goals came on Chris Mew, who replaced Doull as Kernahan’s direct opponent from the first bounce of the final quarter.

This week, Kernahan took the opportunity to go into bat for Bruce, confirming that his greatest haul came on Pert: the former Fitzroy and later Collingwood full-back.

“To tell you the truth, I can’t recall anyone ever asking me over the years, but I’m sure somewhere along the line I’d cleared Bruce’s name… and if I hadn’t I clear him now,” Kernahan said.

“State football was fantastic back then, unfortunately it wasn’t supported when it was wound up a few years ago, but it’s nice to see it back and blokes embracing it.”

For the record, Victoria 16.12 (108) defeated South Australia 16.8 (104) before a partisan Adelaide audience of 52,719, with Kernahan booting 10 of 16 for a South Australian outfit which also included future Carlton footballers Craig Bradley, Mark Naley and Peter Motley.

Conversely, Carlton players Doull, Jim Buckley and Wayne Johnston all flew the flag for Victoria in that famous contest – and despite Ker best efforts the Big V, to quote the late great EJ, “stuck it right up ’em!”.

Though replays of state games like the aforementioned in ’84 are getting a run on FOX Footy at the minute, Kernahan conceded he had not yet had the opportunity to put the feet up and relive a famous performance.

However, he did get the chance to view the replay of the Round 22, 1987 contest between Carlton and North, when his famous goal after the siren gave Carlton the victory and – as a consequence – top spot, the week’s break and ultimately the 1987 flag.

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