Rohan Connolly and Martin Blake discuss their top 10 games from the 2012 AFL season. Do you agree with their selections?
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1. Geelong v Hawthorn, round 2
In the recent tradition of great games between the clubs, Geelong got up by two points on the back of eight goals from its two key forwards, James Podsiadly and Tom Hawkins. The Cats kicked four goals to none in the final quarter to overrun Hawthorn. It was the eighth straight win for the Cats over the Hawks since the 2008 grand final, channelling the so-called Kennett Curse. In wet conditions Hawkins, Podsiadly and Joel Selwood were superb.
2. Hawthorn v Geelong, round 19
Tom Hawkins’ after-the-siren goal from just beyond 50 metres gave the Cats a ninth straight win over the Hawks. But it was only part of the story of the game, in which Hawthorn pegged back a 51-point lead to hit the front in the final quarter. Hawkins (six goals) was irresistible up forward for Geelong all night.
3. Sydney v Hawthorn, round 22
It was first versus second on the ladder, and the Swans were electrifying for the first 40 minutes, establishing a 38-point lead. Then Lance Franklin’s three second-quarter goals drew the Hawks back into the contest. It was a dogfight from there, with Ryan O’Keefe’s late goal putting Sydney in front with two minutes remaining. Shaun Burgoyne then marked to give the Hawks the lead, and Brad Sewell sealed it with a miracle goal from the centre bounce.
4. Collingwood v Essendon, round 5
A soccered goal by Jarryd Blair in the final minute gave the Magpies a one-point win, their third consecutive Anzac Day victory over their old rival. Collingwood seemed to have control early in the final quarter until Essendon rallied, and a Brent Stanton snap with two minutes left gave Essendon the lead until Blair intervened. Even then, a video review was required to see if Blair’s goal was legal. Dane Swan (42 disposals, three goals) was the dominant individual player.
5. Fremantle v Geelong, round 1
Fremantle marked Ross Lyon’s debut as coach of the club with a brilliant victory over the reigning premier on the back of two late goals from captain Matthew Pavlich. Geelong lost focus during the game, having three players reported, and conceded the first five goals before recovering in the middle of the game. Nat Fyfe was outstanding for the Dockers in the midfield.
6. Brisbane Lions v West Coast, round 10
A huge upset with the ladder-leading West Coast falling apart in the final quarter. James Polkinghorne’s monstrous torpedo goal in the final 90 seconds, the Lions’ eighth of the last quarter, gave the Lions the lead and Michael Voss’ team hung on. Midfielder Jack Redden was among those who inspired the Lions, along with Cory McGrath, who took an astonishingly brave mark at the finish.
7. Gold Coast v Carlton, round 22
The death knell for Brett Ratten as coach, and the boilover of the season. Carlton went to Queensland clinging to a chance of playing finals, but the unfancied Suns banged home six first-quarter goals to set the tone, and the Blues lost a player (Andrew McInnes) to injury in the first 20 seconds. The Blues fought back to within four points in the last quarter but Gold Coast steadied, and goals to Josh Caddy and Tom Lynch iced it. Ratten had been sacked within a few days.
8. Richmond v Gold Coast, round 16
Heartbreak for the Tigers in Cairns, where they gave back a 10-point lead in less than a minute’s football at the end. A goal to Jarrod Harbrow gave the Suns some hope, and then from the final centre bounce the ball was roosted forward for Brandon Matera to find rugby league convert Karmichael Hunt with a squaring ball. After the siren rang out, Hunt calmly slotted the matchwinner. It was Gold Coast’s first win of the season.
9. Hawthorn v Collingwood, qualifying final
One of the most intense starts to a game in years, with Chris Tarrant goading Lance Franklin and bunfights breaking out all over the field. The contest was white hot for three quarters before Franklin (four goals) and Sam Mitchell steered the Hawks to the week’s break. Not even the roaring return to form of Travis Cloke (six goals) could save Collingwood.
10. Greater Western Sydney v Gold Coast, round 7
A piece of history for the fledgling Giants when they recorded their first win and doused head coach Kevin Sheedy in sports drinks as they sung the song for the first time. Ruckman Jonathon Giles kicked two last-quarter goals at Manuka Oval as the Giants bombarded the Suns with four goals to none in the final term.
AND BY SPECIAL REQUEST ....
10a. St Kilda v Richmond, round 10
With the two teams neck and neck at Etihad Stadium, Richmond stole a third-quarter break, and led by 20 points in the last before the Saints surged, hitting the lead, which then changed hands several times before a final Tiger flurry delivered an eight-point win. Jack Riewoldt was the hero, with a match-winning eight goals.