Why these grand final-winning moments weren't supposed to happen

The crucial passage of play that won last year’s AFL grand final probably would not have happened without Liam Ryan’s forgetfulness.

Ryan’s soaring mark was a key part of the outstanding end-to-end rebound that culminated in Dom Sheed’s clutch goal with less than three minutes left.

That gave the Eagles the lead and they held on to beat Collingwood by five points in an epic grand final.

It has since emerged that Ryan and Sheed were supposed to be on the bench at the time, but could come off the ground because they were on the other side of the MCG.

In a video shown at Thursday night’s AFL season launch, Ryan explained he had been told to leave the field.

“I forgot about my name getting called to go off to the bench,” he said.

Jeremy McGovern, playing despite injury, took an outstanding intercept mark in defence.

He passed to Nathan Vardy, who kicked quickly and Ryan took his brilliant mark. Ryan’s pass found Sheed, who goalled from an acute angle.

Liam Ryan and Dom Sheed helped pull off a miracle in the grand final, but they shouldn’t have even been on the field. Pic: Getty

“I don’t know the odds of that last play – we wanted Dom off the ground, we wanted Liam Ryan off the ground (and) Gov was just walking,” said coach Adam Simpson.

The grand final was also Ryan’s first match at the MCG and he had a tumultuous match.

He pulled out of a marking contest in the third quarter and teammate Lewis Jetta had to gee him at the last break.

“One hundred thousand people watching you, first grand final, first game at the MCG – I was just scared about everything,” Ryan said.

“I don’t know what happened, I kind-of pulled out a little bit.

“At three-quarter time, Lewy came up to me and he just said ‘one more quarter, I want from you and just show us some magic’.”