The ten best Round 13 games from the past ten years

Josh Barnstable Roar Rookie

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    Michael Hibberd of the Demons is seen in action during the Round 5 AFL match between the Richmond Tigers and the Melbourne Demons at the MCG in Melbourne, Monday, April 24, 2017. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

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    Welcome to another edition of my weekly column with which we take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the classic AFL matches that correspond with the upcoming round.

    Let’s take a look at the ten best games from Round 13 in the past ten years.

    10. St Kilda 17.15.117 v Richmond 15.10.100 (2007)
    Heading into their Saturday night clash with a woeful Richmond outfit that had managed just one and a half wins from the opening 12 rounds, St Kilda would have been confident of moving a step closer to an unlikely finals berth.

    However, in what turned out to be a very entertaining, seesawing encounter, the Tigers took it right up to the Saints. Richmond led by four points at the main break, before trailing the same amount going into the final quarter. A strong final term from St Kilda saw them break their opposition, running out 17 point winners in a high-scoring match. Fraser Gehrig and Nick Riewoldt were dangerous for the Saints, booting nine goals between them.

    9. Sydney 12.8.80 v Geelong 11.8.74 (2012)
    Sitting just one game clear of top spot on the ladder, the Swans were flying at this point of the 2012 season, but Geelong were always going to provide a stern test of their wares. The 2011 premiers were incredibly slow out of the blocks, conceding seven goals to one in the opening term.

    The scoring dried up considerably thereafter, with Geelong slowly but surely working their way back into the contest. With a four goal deficit going into the last term, the Cats slammed on five of the first six goals in the quarter, putting them in front by a very slim two points. However, a mark and goal to the starting substitute in Andrejs Everitt allowed Sydney to get back in front, a position they managed to maintain for the remainder of the game.

    8. Brisbane 15.13.103 v Geelong 14.14.98 (2013)
    One of the most famous victories in the history of the Brisbane Football Club. Sitting in the bottom four, the Lions hosted Geelong, who were only percentage from being on top of the ladder. Despite a positive start, the Lions were quickly found to be struggling against the might of the Cats, who raced out to a lead of 52 points late in the third quarter.

    With two late goals in the term, Brisbane went into the final quarter with some momentum. With three quick goals, the margin was sliced to just 20 points, and the quiet home crowd suddenly came to life. Even a goal to Geelong couldn’t stop the Lions, who continued to stream forward at every opportunity. A long goal to Daniel Rich late in the match levelled the scores, and everyone at the Gabba started to believe the impossible could happen.

    A behind to Tom Hawkins up the other end gave Geelong back the lead, and as they controlled the ball in the final minute, it looked as if Brisbane’s incredible comeback would be all for naught. But a strong mark to Daniel Merrett in the defensive goalsquare saw him start a desperate chain of play that led to Ash McGrath, who was celebrating his 200th game.

    With the siren sounding, the equation was simple: kick a goal, and Brisbane would record the eighth-biggest comeback in VFL/AFL history. And the rest, as they say, is history.

    Dan Rich vies for the ball

    (AAP Image/David Crosling)

    7. Essendon 10.17.77 v Melbourne 12.6.78 (2014)
    With the ASADA scandal engulfing the Essendon Football Club for a second consecutive year, the Bombers were presented with a good chance to let their footy do the talking and grab a spot in the top eight with a win over Melbourne, who sat in the bottom four.

    Despite being kept to just three goals in the first half, the Demons persisted, slowly cutting their deficit to be within 12 points at half time. Sensing their opportunity, Melbourne went in for the kill, booting four goals in a row in the last quarter to grab an eight point lead. Late in the match, Essendon’s David Zaharakis kicked two inspirational goals back-to-back to restore the Bombers’ lead. But one final play from defence saw Melbourne go end-to-end, ending in a goal to young gun Christian Salem.

    With just seconds left on the clock, the Demons held on for a memorable one point victory, one of the best in Paul Roos’ coaching tenure at the club.

    6. Hawthorn 14.18.102 v Essendon 13.8.86 (2010)
    With just one win separating these two sides on the ladder, tensions were high for this Friday night blockbuster between two fierce rivals. With a strong start, the Hawks looked like winning their sixth game in a row, leading by 29 points in the second quarter.

    The Bombers improved significantly after half time, managing to draw scores level early in the last quarter. An amazing running goal from Lance Franklin had the brown and gold army on their feet, but Essendon responded with a further two majors to grab the lead. But another inspirational effort from Franklin saw him kick one of the best goals ever witnessed on the MCG.

    It did not stop Essendon, who got back in the lead with a goal through Jobe Watson. But with all the run, Hawthorn took back the momentum, kicking the final three goals of the match to claim a 16 point win. But this game is remembered for one thing only: Buddy.

    5. Collingwood 12.13.85 v West Coast 12.10.82 (2012)
    In a rematch of the 2011 qualifying final, the Magpies and Eagles went head to head at the same venue in the MCG, with Collingwood trying to defend their position at the top of the ladder from the 9-2 West Coast.

    A bumper crowd of 62,957 ventured out to see two of the best teams in the league go head-to-head, with the Eagles holding a slender six point lead at half time. With five unanswered goals to start the third term, the Magpies broke out to a 27 point advantage, but it was reigned in by West Coast, who grabbed back the lead through Josh Hill in the final quarter.

    A goal to silky midfielder Dayne Beams saw the Magpies edge back in front, with Collingwood managing to hold on for the remaining 10 minutes to win by three points. These sides would meet at the same venue in a semi final later in the year, with the Magpies again tasting victory.

    4. Port Adelaide 19.9.123 v Richmond 20.7.127 (2008)
    With just half a game separating both sides on the ladder, the clash between Port Adelaide and Richmond was a tipster’s nightmare. Despite holding a home ground advantage at AAMI Stadium, the Power conceded nine goals in the opening term to their six. They managed to hit the lead halfway through the second term before Richmond steadied with three consecutive goals.

    A strong third term from the Tigers saw them lead by 28 points at the final break, but the Power made a late surge, kicking five of the final six goals of the game to get within four points. Richmond managed to hold on, recording an impressive win, with Cleve Hughes stepping up to kick six goals in just his 13th game, while Daniel Motlop also slotted six up the other end.

    3. Collingwood 15.8.98 v Western Bulldogs 16.10.106 (2014)
    A day later at Etihad Stadium, the flying Magpies went head-to-head with a Western Bulldogs outfit struggling for relevancy in the competition. Needing a win to stay in touch with Sydney, Port Adelaide and Hawthorn at the top of the ladder, Collingwood had the challenge taken up to them by the Bulldogs, who showed grit, determination and dare to lead by a point at half time.

    That was extended to six points at the final break, and when Liam Jones and Jarrad Grant kicked the opening two goals of the last quarter, the Pies were down by 20 points. The game was not finished yet, with the Magpies springing into action with three consecutive goals. Now leading by just one point, the Dogs kept a cool head, with Jason Tutt standing tall inside 50 to kick the sealing goal.

    The final siren signalled that the Bulldogs had talented youngsters all over the park, not the least of them a lanky kid wearing the number four guernsey in just his sixth senior game by the name of Marcus Bontempelli.

    2. Sydney 14.14.98 v Port Adelaide 13.16.94 (2014)
    Sitting two games clear on top of the ladder, the Power went to Sydney full of confidence to take on the third placed Swans. After a tense, scrappy first quarter, the game opened up, with Sydney proving a class ahead on their home SCG deck.

    Lance Franklin Sydney Swans AFL Indigenous Round 2017

    (AAP Image/David Moir)

    Leading by nine points late in the third term, Lance Franklin decided to make his presence known. The superstar kicked Sydney’s final five goals of the match, including two sensational majors in the last quarter as the Power were coming hard. His efforts saw the Swans hold on in a thrilling finish, further enhancing his ability to perform on the big stage.

    1. Essendon 19.11.125 v Melbourne 18.15.123 (2007)
    In charge of the struggling Demons, veteran coach Neale Daniher made a selfless decision to step aside at the conclusion of the 2007 season to allow a fresh outlook for the team. However, continued bad on-field form forced his hand earlier than expected, so it was decided a Friday night clash between Melbourne and Essendon would be Daniher’s last as head coach.

    In an emotional night for Melbourne, they were jumped by the Bombers, who led by 37 points at quarter time. However, the Demons started to lift, kicking seven goals in both of the second and third quarters. Leading by 13 points at the last break, Essendon broke red and blue hearts when they came from behind to steal the win, with Scott Lucas running into an open goal with just seconds remaining on the clock.

    Despite not getting the result he wanted, it proved to be a thrilling finish to Daniher’s coaching tenure against the club he bled for on the field.