Mention the words ‘toe-poke’ in a 40km radius of Geelong, and everyone knows what you’re talking about. 

It doesn’t need elaboration, it’s just... the toe poke. 

Even deep within GMHBA Stadium, just off the warmup area that's familiar to fans, alongside the sponsor signage, there’s a picture of Matthew Scarlett in that familiar pose.

What happened next is part of footy folklore: the 2009 Grand Final was tied up at 67 with five minutes remaining, Scarlett nudges the ball to Gary Ablett, Ablett sends it long to the top of the square, ball falls free, Paul Chapman swoops. 

You can see it all unfold in your mind as if it happened yesterday. 

All Cats fans can. 


You can tell Chapman has told the story thousands of time, but you can also tell he doesn’t mind telling it again as he does as part of the new Hoops Exclusive series, Legends of Kardinia Park. 

Watching it back, the speed of the play is what jumps out first. So much happens in that short period of time, so many angles, so many stories. 

Chapman himself says that the footy Gods just may have played a part in the famous wrong footed snap, on a torn hamstring, that sealed Geelong’s second flag in three years. 

"I remember we were playing down here, we were playing a home and away game, and it was sort of in the same position and actually missed," he told Cameron Ling in the latest episode of 'Legends'.

“I just think things happen for a reason. Did I miss that goal to make sure that I worked on it more and more in case I found myself in that position? I don't know.”

What else jumps of the screen is the tension and the ‘what-ifs’. What if the Zach Dawson attempted intercept had come off? What if Chapman’s man hadn’t left him to challenge the charging Ablett.


And... what if the Cats lost their second Grand Final on the trot?

“It's funny listening to Gaz, because Gaz thought he had it and he was out and then all of a sudden he was being spoilt and he thought 'geez, we're going to lose the Grand Final here', from winning it to losing it half a second,” he recalled. 

“And then the Scarlett toe poke. Which is great, it's typical Scarlett right there. Rather than just grabbing it, to toe poke it was beautiful.”

The next thing you notice is the noise. The noise of a full packed MCG on the biggest day of the year is something else. It’s unforgettable.

“The noise of the crowd when it went through was just something I'll never forget," Chapman recalls with smile. 


After 251 games in the Hoops, three premierships, a best and fairest and two All-Australian jumpers, for Geelong people, the tough, unyielding, number 35 was pretty unforgettable as well.

But on occasion, a single moment, or a single performance can turn a legend into a legend, and Chapman’s North Smith Medal winning performance might just qualify as one of those moments. 

“That's always meant a lot to me, not to be the best player, but to be someone who did not let the team down,” he said. 

“Someone who played their role, was a contributor, who gave everything they had, and someone that when you look at someone at the end of the game, you can look at each other and say, 'we got the chocolates or we didn't but I know you gave everything that you had', that was important to me.” 

For all Member Exclusive content, click HERE.