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The top AFL games of 2012

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The top five AFL games of 2012

Rohan Connolly and Martin Blake discuss their top five games from the 2012 AFL season.

PT0M0S 620 349

Rohan Connolly and Martin Blake discuss their top 10 games from the 2012 AFL season. Do you agree with their selections?

VOTE: Cast your vote on the best match

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.

The Suns celebrate Karmichael Hunt's match-winning goal against Richmond.

The Suns celebrate Karmichael Hunt's match-winning goal against Richmond. Photo: Getty Images

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.

Magpies midfielder Jarryd Blair (right) is congratulated by teammate Sharrod Wellingham on Anzac Day.

Magpies midfielder Jarryd Blair (right) is congratulated by teammate Sharrod Wellingham on Anzac Day. Photo: Paul Rovere

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.


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.


  • I thought the round 10 fixture between Richmond & St Kilda was an absolute cracker of a game and more than deserving to be included in this list. It was a fast paced, high scoring and had multiple lead changes, what more do you want.

    Date and time
    September 20, 2012, 10:20AM
    • I agree.... the richmond, gold coast game was an appalling spectacle... and the result was horrendous

      Date and time
      September 20, 2012, 1:00PM
    • Stinger,

      You're spot on. Definitely one of the games of the year. Tigers were great and Lenny Hayes superb after a season on the side lines.

      Date and time
      September 20, 2012, 10:52PM
    • Editors' note: OK, OK, enough already. We'll include St Kilda against Richmond from round 10 in the list. GWS v Gold Coast hasn't got a single vote anyway!

      Date and time
      September 20, 2012, 11:10PM
  • I agree with the top five, although the pain of those two losses to Geelong still hurts. I think the Demon's win over the Bombers should have got a mention and so to was North Melbourne's win over Collingwood but then again, I don't know which games that you've listed should be omitted. Just forget what I've said.

    Ted Kaboom
    Malvern East
    Date and time
    September 20, 2012, 1:05PM
    • Yep - the Hawks may go all the way this year - but there will always be doubt about that team given Geelong's relative absence from the finals.

      2007, 2009, 2011, 2013

      Date and time
      September 21, 2012, 1:22PM
  • Hands down, Haw v Gee in round 19.....being a hawks supporter i was furious again..

    However a cracker of a game for the neutral supporter....

    Date and time
    September 20, 2012, 3:41PM
    • There were some interesting games for different fans but the Hawks Vs Pies Qualfying Final was the best game. This was the "hardest" game of the season. On the day there would have been no other team in the comp who could have candle to either of these teams.

      Date and time
      September 20, 2012, 5:25PM
      • Hawthorn seems to feature a lot. For me the round 19 game between these two outstanding teams was the best game of the year to watch. Great players with unbelievable skills on display and then Kennetts Curse struck again after the Hawks came from nearly 9 goals down and headed the Cats late in the last. Talk about drama, you couldn't script it, nobody would believe it. I feel a bit robbed that these two won't meet in this finals series, we need a real epic at the moment.

        Date and time
        September 20, 2012, 5:57PM
      • The media conveniently forgets that what Kennett in fact said was Geelong has an issue against Hawthorn WHEN IT MATTERS i.e. Grand Finals.
        But let's not let the truth get in the way of a good media beat-up/story

        Date and time
        September 20, 2012, 7:43PM

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