Why Petracca was denied a slice of AFL history

1 month ago 17
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Norm Smith medallist Christian Petracca was robbed of a new VFL/AFL grand final record due to a Champion Data statistics audit following Melbourne's win.

Petracca was named best afield in Melbourne's 74-point grand final win over the Bulldogs after finishing with 39 disposals and two goals, with his disposal tally equalling the grand final record set by Brisbane's Simon Black in 2003.

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However, Petracca's final disposal tally came as a shock after the Seven Network indicated that he had notched a grand final-record 40th disposal in the fourth quarter.

According to the AFL's official stats from the match, Petracca was initially credited with 40 disposals, before the tally was later amended.

Petracca celebrates a goal with Melbourne teammate Jack Viney during the 2021 AFL grand final (Getty)

The AFL's official stats provider, Champion Data, confirmed to The Age on Sunday that the change occurred after Petracca had been incorrectly credited with a handball, which meant he lost a possession after a review.

It is understood that statistics being altered after the fact, as Petracca's did in the grand final, is not out of the ordinary, with Champion Data often auditing its tallies.

Despite not being the first man to record 40 disposals in a grand final, Petracca's final statline of 39 disposals, nine clearances and 15 score involvements was stupendous nonetheless.

At just 25 years of age, Petracca became the youngest winner of the Norm Smith Medal since Bulldogs halfback Jason Johannisen's win in 2016.

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