Am I going to dive left or right?
Valera skips in and draws back his boot.
Redmayne dives. . .
And hits the ball. . . left . . . even as Redmayne dives. . . right! He’s got it! He’s blocked it!
Australia win, and are off to the World Cup, courtesy of a bloke most of us have never seen before, or heard of!
Redmayne’s open-mouthed look of pure delight, will also linger long.
But this was not just Redmayne’s “Gregan-moment,” as my wife calls them – the single act that would define his career and be chiselled on his sporting tombstone, to George Gregan’s famous tackle on Jeff Wilson at the SFS on August 17, 1994, to win that Bledisloe. Oh no, it was bigger than that.
It was one of Australian sport’s Capital Moments, where something is so important, so beloved, so pivotal in the course of events that it will forever after be referred to with capitalized reverence, in this case “The Save”.
It is possible that a few years from now Australian soccer will be teetering on the edge of the abyss of World Cup elimination and a Socceroo goalie will step up to save the day in such dramatic fashion, but it feels unlikely, yes?
Far more likely is that The Save can now be added to our other Capital Moments:
ThePass! You remember it well, yes? It was the blind pass David Campese gave to Tim Horan in the semi-final of the 1991 World Cup, with three All Blacks about to hit him. Campo shaped to move the ball left, only to somehow flick it right, blind, over his shoulder to Horan who went over unmarked. I have watched it in slo-mo fifty times and still don’t quite get it. And as I have said many times, before Campo did that we had never conceived such a pass was possible. The rugby league equivalent was Benji Marshall’s flick pass to Wests Tigers teammate Pat Richards in the 2005 grand finale, which helped put the Cowboys to the sword. Carrying the ball in his right hand, while moving left, Marshall flicked the ball blind to Richards moving right, allowing Richards to go through for the try.
The Ball Of The Century. I know it. You know it. It was Shane Warne’s ball to Mike Gatting, the first delivery Warne bowled in the 1993 Ashes campaign, at Lord’s. As you’ll recall, the ball bit the turf miles outside leg-peg before hissing in, buzzing 10 times around Mike Gatting’s stumps, all the while whistling Waltz Matilda, before putting the brute out of his misery by dropping down to knock his bails off. As a foundation stone for the subsequent Warne legend – his Gregan-moment coming with his first ball bowled in an Ashes Test, they don’t come much better.
The Goal. Socceroo attacker John Aloisi nailing the winning goal in the penalty shoot-out against Uruguay at the Olympic stadium to qualify the Socceroos for the 2006 World Cup. Not since 1974 had Australia figured in the biggest sporting event on the planet.
TheTry. Steve Jackson’s try in the 1989 rugby league grand final between Canberra and Balmain. I have written about it too many times to go into too much detail again, but it was in the final minutes that the Canberra reserve forward – as anonymous at the time as Andrew Redmayne – got the ball on the right side of the field 25 meters out, only to break through several tackles, shimmy, shake, bump and bulldoze his way to the line for the best try in the history of the world.
The Race. Cathy Freeman’s gold-medal win in the Olympic 400-metre final at Sydney 2000. ‘Nuff said?
TheMark. I am advised that nothing will ever get close to Alex Jesaulenko’s effort, in the 1970 VFL grand finale. Just before half-time, Carlton are losing by 44 points to Collingwood when the ball is kicked to the mob. Collingwood ruckman Graeme Jenkin is right under it, only for Carlton’s Jesaulenko to come in from behind, and soar so high his knees connect with the back of Jenkin’s head, where upon he takes a screamer! Carlton go on to win the game, and The Mark will be forever more.
In this Pantheon of the Perfect, Redmayne’s effort, The Save, can now take its proud place.