Lance Franklin's highlights reel is probably as awe-inspiring as anyone who has ever played AFL, but one game stands out as the moment he showcased his extraordinary skills, athleticism and showmanship in one breathtaking package.
Round 13, 2010 - Buddy's Hawks are engaged in a bruising struggle against Essendon at a packed MCG on a Friday night. Scores are level early in the final quarter when Franklin takes the first of two electrifying runs down the wing, charging towards a vacant goal square at the Punt Road end. He breaks clear of Essendon midfielder Mark McVeigh, takes three bounces and dribbles a low goal from the boundary line right on 50m.
It was without doubt a Goal of the Year contender, but somehow, a few minutes later, Franklin bettered it in crazily similar circumstances.
The 199cm forward contests a marking opportunity with Essendon opponent Cale Hooker, gathers the ball after it is tipped over their heads and takes three more bounces - one which he almost spills, and forces him even closer to the boundary line. With littleknown Essendon defender Jarrod Atkinson -- in his 17th and final AFL game -- streaming into his defensive goalsquare to prevent another dribbled goal, Franklin slots the major from the boundary line in an effort that does go on to win Goal of the Year honours.
Here's what followed, from the perspective of those closest to it:
Gerard Whately, commentating on ABC Radio: "Franklin presents, again works his player under it and he's away again Franklin, looking to repeat the dose, two bounces, he's running the boundary, make it three, now the kick ... that was better than the first! Unbelievable from Franklin!
Atkinson: "I was in the centre of the ground - I think I was on [Cyril] Rioli. I remember the goal before that one, [Franklin] kicked it along the ground so I thought he was going to do that again, and I thought I'd try to beat him back to the goalsquare - but as I was running back, I saw him and he saw me and he sort of lined up and put it through way over my head and I couldn't touch it."
Sam Mitchell, via AFL Media: "When it went through, I was standing next to an Essendon player and he just shook his head, exactly like I did, and we both looked at each other and thought that's a moment we'll always remember."
Dan Wilson, goal umpire at the Punt Road end: "That was just one of those moments where you just go 'wow'. The field umpire at the time, Shane McInerney, was pretty close to me and I remember looking at him and he turned his head, and the look on his face was 'did he just do that?' and that was my reaction too as I was signalling the goal, just how incredible it was. Everyone in the place was just stunned."
Ben Stratton, via AFL Media: "I just remember looking across at Gibbo [Josh Gibson] and Grant Birchall and the blokes back there [in defence] with me and just laughing."
Michael Osborne, Hawthorn midfielder: "He had that one on one contest ... I ran pretty hard to support and maybe get a handball receive or a one-two, but once he gets his opponent offside, he is that confident he just backs himself and he has the skill and pace and talent to do it. Once he grabbed the ball and saw the goals ... off he went. It was unbelievable."
Franklin, via ABC Radio: ''To be honest, I wasn't actually thinking about it. I just thought I had a couple of metres on him [Hooker] and I kept running. I saw some space in front of me and just had a shot at goal. I had nothing to lose. I was just lucky it came off.''
Franklin's back-to-back stunners helped Hawthorn grab the momentum and run away with victory, taking their winning streak to six. But all the talk after the game was Franklin's double strike.
Wilson: "As he was coming in for the second shot, I knew there was a [Bombers] defender coming back and as Buddy was running in, I was thinking 'gee, the degree of difficulty here is quite high' ... and there was a moment as the ball was heading towards me where I've [thought to myself] 'wow, he's just nailed this!' and it was incredible. But the fact it was so similar to the previous goal illustrates it was no fluke, this guy just has incredible skills."
Osborne: "Playing with Buddy, I had front row seats to some of the most spectacular footy you've ever seen. He could kick them from anywhere under any sort of pressure. Spectators get a bit more shocked at some of the things that happen, especially with players like Buddy and what they can do, but you spend so much time with him at training and in games and you know what he is capable of."
Franklin, via News Limited: "It's one of my favourite goals. I got a little bit goalside on Cale and I was able to run in and kick that goal. It's a special goal I was pretty proud of."
The incredible goals pushed Franklin's name into the AFL stratosphere but the other side of the coin was his opponent Hooker. Now one of the most respected and dependable key defenders in the league, the 193-game veteran has forged an impressive career and is no longer solely remembered as the hapless figure forlornly chasing the runaway Franklin train.
Atkinson: "[When I was told the 10-year anniversary was coming up] I sat down and watched it a few times on YouTube and it brought back memories and the main [emotion] was, I felt sorry for Cale Hooker - we got drafted the same year so it was disappointing [for him] but there's not much you can do when Buddy is on fire and we just came to terms with that. I think it made him [Hooker] stronger, as he wasn't ever fast but he knuckled down after that and it might have been good for him."
Osborne: There was a bit of banter [towards Hooker] that he should've given up chasing, or something like that - there's always banter with the opposition and it's good to try to get inside their heads. But I do feel sorry for anyone lining up on Buddy in the first place."
David Schwartz, ex-Melbourne great and commentator: "When I think of Cale Hooker I think of the Tin Man chasing Buddy Franklin down the wing at the MCG."
Dustin Fletcher, ex-Bombers great: "It's probably not great footage, but I think that's what has made Hookesy a better footballer. After that he went out and worked on his pace, worked on his physique. To see him now, how he's gone about his footy, with the way he's been playing, he's been great. It's made Hookesy, no doubt, a better player."
Jake Melksham, via AFL Media: "When we saw the footage, it was actually a bit funny watching Cale chase him, putting his head down while Buddy looked like he was just jogging."
Hooker, via The Age: "It probably didn't help being part of an ad on TV for about a year. But the good thing is, things in footy can change. The chance for me now is to become a consistent player, prove myself in the AFL, and be remembered for that and helping the team achieve success rather than those sorts of things.''