'DID IT get there? Has he taken it? DID THE SIREN GO? WHAT'S THE CALL?!' 

It's an on-the-siren ritual. You will have lived it dozens of times over because it's lived in lounge rooms across the country, constantly to varying degrees but so often there in some form. It's a little quirk in our great game, something that's rarely fully acknowledged but something that differentiates footy in a subtly impactful way. 

Five seconds, four seconds, three seconds …Then: blank.

Suddenly, right there, time is now somehow, well, different.

Other sports don't do it this way. As Brisbane prepare to tackle Geelong at the Gabba on Thursday night, we're reminded of a classic in this on-the-siren-uncertainty genre that footy largely owns. 'The Miracle on Grass' was eight years ago now, a night when the Lions overturned a colossal deficit against a colossus, the whole thing culminating in one of those aforementioned sequences where the quirk of a vanishing TV clock in the final seconds leaves behind a sort of paralysis that's hard to describe. 


Eight years on, the sensation is remarkably still the same, knowledge of the result scarcely changing anything. The Lions a single point down, re-watching Jed Adcock mark a low ball in the centre square with five seconds on the clock somehow remains a nerve-racking experience. There's no way, surely. A quick handball sees it in the hands of Dayne Zorko, the clock now at three.

And then it happens: blank.

In other settings this distortion of senses doesn't hit like this. A basketball court's clocks are so dominant, flashing backboards ready to visually punctuate such moments as time expires. American football's drives can extend to the next dead ball. Soccer's final moments come at the referee's discretion in added time. Not footy, though.

Zorko's kick is struck as the clock disappears from view. With that visual cue gone, everything suddenly seems to be suspended in this tiny window with a total absence of reference points. The clock gone, it's as though your mind projects an immediate siren but it doesn't come, causing a sort of disorientation as acts play out beyond the line you've mentally drawn in time.

The ball hangs. Somehow it finds its way into the hands of Ashley McGrath.

'Did it get there? Has he taken it? DID THE SIREN GO? WHAT'S THE CALL?!'


Incredible Comebacks is a bingeworthy series from the vault on AFL On Demand, a series of games that were seemingly all over, where walking away with a win would take a football miracle. Incredible Comebacks are those miracles.