“We Have To Get Better”: Australia Reacts To Adam Goodes Documentary, ‘The Final Quarter’
"It’s now time for some self examination and fresh conversation."
Almost half a million Australians tuned in to Channel 10 last night to watch The Final Quarter, Ian Darling’s documentary about AFL legend and 2014 Australian of the Year Adam Goodes, who spent the last three years of his career booed by the public and demonised by the wider media for daring to be a proud Adnyamathanha and Narungga man.
Composed entirely of archival footage, the documentary combines match-day footage with clips from news broadcasts, press conferences and AFL panel shows, as well as incorporating article headlines and quotes, and snippets of talkback radio.
One of the many chilling takeaways from last night's screening of #TheFinalQuarter was the unrelenting malice of The Daily Telegraph's attack dogs. I'm amazed that they still have jobs.
— Steven Noble 🌏 ✊🏼 ⚛️ (@steven_noble) July 18, 2019
In 2013, Goodes pointed security at an AFL match towards a 13-year-old girl after she called him an ‘ape’ from the crowd, to which conservative commentators called bullying on Goodes’ part.
After becoming heavily involved in anti-racism campaign #ItStopsWithMe, Goodes was repeatedly admonished by media commentators such as Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones for ‘calling everything racist’. Backlash swelled, with Goodes being booed at every single AFL game he played before retiring in 2015 — avoiding any public farewell in the process.
Miranda Devine, Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones and Rita Pahani are honestly four of the worst things to happen to Australian media #TheFinalQuarter
— Albert Santos (@albertinho) July 18, 2019
I hope every single journalist and commentator involved in the coverage of Adam Goodes understands the power and importance of their role in the media. So many loaded questions, ill informed opinions and unconscious bias exposed tonight #thefinalquarter
— Suzanne Dredge (@suzannedredge) July 18, 2019
In our review, we called The Final Quarter “a painful reminder of the racism beating at the heart of Australia”, one which is incredibly potent whether you love AFL or still call it sports-ball.
Watching The Final Quarter, we see how Goodes’ words and actions simply did not match up with the way many conservative pundits and sports commentators displayed them — regularly displaying a level-headedness which many viewers were astounded by.
However, the #TheFinalQuarter reiterates just how well spoken and intelligent Adam Goodes is and just how much integrity he has.
— Nakkiah Lui (@nakkiahlui) July 18, 2019
Adam Goodes: Let's work together in a positive manner to heal old wounds.
People: Why are you spreading hatred? #TheFinalQuarter
— Titus O'Reily (@TitusOReily) July 18, 2019
Viewers were particularly taken back by segments with The Footy Show‘s Sam Newman, who opens the doco with a furious rant where he says “people are not booing you, Adam, because you’re an Aboriginal. They’re booing you because you’re acting like a jerk”. In the ’90s, Newman wore blackface on the show to imitate Nicky Winmar, an Indigenous AFL player who also stood up to racist jeers from crowds.
— Dr Julia Baird (@bairdjulia) July 18, 2019
Seeing Sam Newman on prime time TV again tonight reminds you how good it is to not have Sam Newman on prime time TV #thefinalquarter
— cameron adams (@cameron_adams) July 18, 2019
Channel 10 followed the documentary with a panel discussion led by The Project‘s Waleed Aly, which saw may former AFL players express their own regret for not speaking up. In one moment, AFL legend and Kokatha man Gavin Wanganeen described his own surprise in watching back the three years, and realising how “alone” Goodes was.
Throughout it all, Adam Goodes inspired through his fortitude and courage.
It’s now time for some self examination and fresh conversation.
Racism in Australia is real. This is now a great opportunity to show some fortitude and courage of our own. All of us. #TheFinalQuarter
— Joe Moore (@joedmoore1979) July 18, 2019
General reminder that pretty much everyone in the doc still have their jobs except Adam Goodes #TheFinalQuarter
— • teanielmarie • (@Cosmos__Child) July 18, 2019
Great that people are standing with Adam Goodes now, but what about 6 years ago? We can't change the past, but we can grow. Mainstream racism is on the rise in Australia right now. In future will you be able to look back to today and be proud of where you stood? #TheFinalQuarter https://t.co/s0KFiFPh6L
— Adam Liaw (@adamliaw) July 18, 2019
You can watch The Final Quarter online at 10PLAY. The film is also available to schools and sporting clubs for free if they sign up here.
Another documentary on Goodes, The Australian Dream, will premiere at MIFF this August, produced and written by Stan Grant and featuring interviews with Goodes. The two films are not directly linked, but work as companion pieces, with the latter following Goodes’ life during and after the saga.
I've seen @TheFinalQtr twice but couldn't bring myself to watch it again tonight. Have tears in my eyes thinking about it.
— Shannan Dodson (@ShannanJDodson) July 18, 2019