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Sensational Seventies: Shane Bond

Shane Bond during his playing days with Collingwood - Collingwood Magpies
Shane Bond during his playing days with Collingwood

It was the decade where football took its first faint steps towards professionalism.

Players chased a greater financial return, Waverley rose from the paddocks, colour television beamed into our living rooms for the first time and the game endured through a turbulent decade.

The ‘Sensational Seventies, as they would become known, proved a tantalising, yet ultimately unfulfilled period for Collingwood.

It was bookended by heartbreaking Grand Final losses to Carlton. The first came when the Magpies lost from what had previously been considered an unlosable situation; the second when Collingwood almost pinched the premiership in the dying moments of a dour struggle.

Through it all, the goings on at Collingwood – and at Victoria Park - was like a soap opera you couldn’t switch off, and the audience was spellbound.

For those who lived through it, it was a period they will never forget and it produced heroes and characters alike forever etched into our consciousness.

For those who didn’t,Collingwood Forever will transport you back in time each week this season for a blast from the ‘70s past, profiling a player who made an impact for one reason or another.

HE'S BEEN the answer to a trivia quiz for four decades, but there was more to Collingwood's Shane Bond than the one moment most people remember him for.

Famously, Bond was the man who had the ball in his hands - albeit he was in fast motion - when the siren sounded in the drawn 1977 Grand Final between the Magpies and North Melbourne.

He had gathered a loose ball at the 34-minute-mark of the final term and taken off with fresh legs, having only come off the bench earlier that quarter. He took three bounces (which came as the siren sounded, although he didn't hear it) before launching a left-foot kick into attack that statisticians never counted.

His stats tally for the game from limited game time totalled two handballs.

It's among the most famous vision in Grand Final history, and Bond was there, front and centre of the action.

His role as a bench player thrust into games late was something he carried with him for much of his career, but he often made an impact when he got the chance to make his mark.

Small, but fast, and a solid left-foot kick who knew where the goals were when resting as a second rover, Bond would go on to play 39 games and kick 29 goals in black and white before playing two more VFL seasons elsewhere.

He had been recruited from Collingwood's catchment area in the north-eastern suburbs, having played his junior football with West Heidelberg YCW. As a kid with boundless energy, and with good skills, he was invited down to Victoria Park in 1970 and played under 19s football from the outset.

But Bond's graduation to the senior side would take four years, with his debut match coming five days before his 20th birthday, against South Melbourne in Round 11, 1974. Like he did in many matches throughout his career, he started on the bench, before coming on in the last quarter to replace Ray Shaw, who was battling the flu.

Wearing No.43, Bond played three games in his debut year, with his best performance coming in Round 13 against Hawthorn, where he had 14 disposals.

He didn't play a game in 1975, but managed 11 games the following year in the No.15 jumper, playing as a second rover and part-time forward, often again off the bench.

One of his better performances came with a four-goal haul in a loss to St Kilda in Round 16 in 1976, where The Age recorded: "Shane Bond ... for a while it seemed like he might become "the man of the match". But he stopped with the rest of the team."

He had 24 disposals against Geelong the following week.

Bond played the first six games under new coach Tom Hafey in 1977, with a standout performance coming with four goals in an emotional Anzac Day match against Richmond where Hafey was pitted against his old team for the first time.

But hamstring issues caused concern for him - twice - late in the year, and his quest to play finals in a reborn Collingwood looked to have hit a significant hurdle.

Hafey thought otherwise.

He left the door ajar for Bond, and having returned in the reserves just before the finals, the speedy Magpie waited patiently for a possible recall.

The opportunity came in the Grand Final, of all matches. Nine weeks after his previous senior game - against Carlton in Round 17 - he was brought into the side for the premiership playoff after Phil Carman's second semi-final suspension.

It was a calculated risk, though Hafey's fears about Bond's hamstrings saw him name the first-time finals player as a reserve for the game against the Kangaroos.

The Grand Final Football Record described him as a "clever little relief rover who has plenty of ability. (He) has kicked many goals in the under 19s and reserves. Kicks either foot and is particularly dangerous around goals. Has not had a lot of opportunity, but he's done the job asked of him when he's played."

 As a classic Grand Final unfolded, Bond spent the first three terms on the bench, before being ushered into the frantic game 15 minutes in the last term, replacing Graeme Anderson.

Then came his moment.

In what proved to be the last gasp live passage for a game that had so many twists and turns, Bond took hold of the ball on the defensive part of the outer wing and ran with it. Some might have wondered why he didn't boot the ball forward, but he backed his speed to move it as quickly as he could.

Mindful that time was almost extinguished, he had three bounces and threw the ball onto his boot, oblivious to the fact the siren had already sounded.

The game was a draw.

Bond would say years later that as the Magpies came to terms with having to play again the following week, he sensed that their chances were minimal.

"When I walked into the rooms I thought we were in trouble," Bond would say.

Incredibly, he would also later recount an extraordinary post-Grand Final moment when Hafey rang Bond's parents to apologise to them for keeping their son on the bench for so long.

That didn't change the fact he would do the same the next week. In the Grand Final replay, the 23-year-old came on in the last quarter, having eight touches as the Magpies went down by 27 points.

Bond missed the opening two matches in 1978, but made his mark in Round 3 against South Melbourne. This time a piece of luck came his way when the reserve was brought into the game early after rover Ron Wearmouth was injured.

The Age documented: "A nasty finger injury put Wearmouth out of action 10 minutes into the first quarter and allowed replacement Shane Bond to play one of his more inspiring games for the Woods. With three goals and 17 kicks, Bond was easily his side's most outstanding player."

He would also boot three goals against Fitzroy three weeks later.

Again, he hit a snag leading into the finals. He was suspended for two weeks for striking St Kilda hard man Carl Ditterich - who was also suspended for striking Bond - in a tribunal hearing that was delayed a week after Ditterich's car got bogged and he couldn't make it to Melbourne in time.

That ban cost Bond selection in the first final, but Hafey immediately brought him back for the two other finals the club would play in 1978.

Few knew that Bond's performance against North Melbourne in the losing preliminary final loss would be his last in Collingwood colours, though it was unmistakable after the match that change was in the wind at Victoria Park.

The Age forecast after the Roos' loss: "The football future of all Collingwood players will be decided at an emergency meeting of the club committee and selectors tomorrow night."

Hafey would ultimately inform Bond he had to find a new home.

With a touch of irony, he ended up at the club that had deprived him of a premiership medal - North Melbourne - as part of a deal that got Craig Davis to the Pies.

In his first game for the Kangaroos in 1979, Bond kicked 2.2 from limited opportunities against his old side Collingwood. But a broken tibia/fibula ruled him out for the rest of the season after only two games.

He returned in 1980, and played in the controversial 'siren-gate' night grand final when Kerry Good kicked the match winning goal long after the siren - against his old side. In all, he would play seven games that year, but couldn't attain a regular spot.

Bond accepted the end to his AFL career - as a 26-year-old - saying: "I'm just one of many guys who played footy and was lucky enough to play in a Grand Final. It was nice to be involved with it. I did my best."

There is no doubt he gave his all, even if the opportunities that came his way weren’t always presented to him as they might have done at a lesser club.