The Final Quarter is an emotional gut-punch of a documentary. It will make you feel angry, sad, perhaps even a little guilty. There are moments that will make you cry and, somehow, even times when you’ll laugh. But its crowning glory is undoubtedly that it will stay with you for hours after the credits roll.
The film, which follows AFL Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes, relies entirely on archival footage, the simplicity of this is powerful in transporting you right back into the heat of the moment, a real credit to director Ian Darling and editor Sally Fryer. Paul Kelly and Dan Sultan’s musical contribution is another highlight.
Over 18 years, Goodes played 372 games for the Swans, kicked 464 goals, won two premierships, took home two Brownlow medals and was a four-time All-Australian. But The Final Quarter doesn’t cover any of that glory, just his final three seasons and the horrifying racially-inspired booing that ultimately forced Goodes from the game.
It wastes little time in getting to the now infamous moment in 2013 when Goodes called out a young Collingwood supporter at the MCG for racial abuse. This feels a little like the start of Titanic, you know what’s going to happen next but part of you hopes somehow it might turn out differently.
Instead the film shines a light onto the harsh reality of racism in Australia and the relentless booing and media criticism that Goodes was subjected to in his final seasons. Watching it in a theatre was a bit like being at a footy game, such is the visceral response the film elicits from its audience. This time though the jeers were reserved for the likes of Sam Newman and Eddie McGuire. Even the AFL itself comes out looking so bad that the film prompted the league to release a statement apologising to Goodes, perhaps a few years after it should have.
The film has been made available to schools and sporting clubs around the country for free and it will air on Channel Ten and WIN on Thursday July 18 at 7.30pm. As confronting as it is, it will start a conversation about racism that Australia desperately needs to have.