Infamous Moments – The Greening Incident

If you’re one of those people who gets a bit lost looking at AFL stats, then you’ve almost certainly come across the name of John Greening.

At just 21 years of age, Greening was doing things nobody had done before.

At the time of writing this, just eight players in the history of the game had hit 50 disposals in a game. Collingwood’s Barry Price was the first do so (since statistics started being kept in 1965) in Round Four of the 1971 season, and three weeks later, his teammate, Greening, joined him, having 50 touches against the Cats.

Yes, it seems the Magpies had a midfield that could rack them up in those days.

To back up how good Greening was (that 50-disposal game came when he was 20 years old), the 1972 season saw him play back to-back games where he had 46 disposals and six goals against the Cats, and followed that with 45 touches and four goals against the Swans.

However, four weeks following those huge games, Collingwood faced St Kilda in a game that will be remembered for one thing – it was the day the Saints’ Jimmy O’Dea hit Greening behind play and all but ended his career. More to the point, he went very close to ending his life.


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