The ten best Round 12 games from the past ten years

Josh Barnstable Roar Rookie

By Josh Barnstable, Josh Barnstable is a Roar Rookie

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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 12 in the past ten years.

    10. Geelong 13.11.89 versus Melbourne 18.5.113 (2015)
    Facing the prospect of a ten-game losing streak against the Cats, Melbourne ventured down the highway to Geelong where they hadn’t won in just under ten years. During their period of dominance the Cats used the Demons as a punching bag, regularly posting big wins over their old enemy. With favourite son Corey Enright celebrating his 300th game in front of an adoring home crowd, not much was expected to change.

    However, it was Melbourne who looked the better side on the day, holding a slender lead at every break. Each time the Cats threatened to get a run on, the Demons stopped them in their tracks with a plucky goal up the other end. With the first four goals of the final term Melbourne blew out their lead to 32 points, something not even the Cats could come back from.

    This game was significant for Max Gawn’s career, with the big Demon playing a breakout match with 19 disposals, eight marks, 44 hit-outs and a goal. Small forwards Jeff Garlett and Alex Neal-Bullen were also influential with seven goals between them.

    9. Port Adelaide 14.13.97 versus Western Bulldogs 15.10.100 (2016)
    Leading the pack outside of the top eight, Port Adelaide entered this game on the back of a two-game winning streak. The Western Bulldogs were also in good form and sat in the top four.

    After an entertaining and high-scoring first quarter the game tightened up. The third quarter had each side swap momentum, with Port Adelaide leading by ten points before the Dogs led by the same amount thanks to three goals in quick succession. The Power responded to take a nine-point advantage into the final break.

    With a five-minute burst at the start of the last term the Bulldogs grabbed back the lead. Both sides went goal for goal in the final stages of the match, with the Power unable to bridge a three-point gap, allowing the Dogs to leave South Australia with an important away victory.

    (Image: AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    8. Adelaide 17.13.115 versus St Kilda 16.15.111 (2012)
    As the second half of the 2012 season began, both Adelaide and St Kilda sat inside the top eight. They went head-to-head on a Friday night at AAMI Stadium, with many predicting the Crows to notch up a relatively easy win.

    It appeared that way then they got out to a 30-point lead in the second term; however, a fightback from the Saints cut the deficit to just 16 points at half time. St Kilda had a poor third quarter, allowing Adelaide to get their advantage back out to beyond five goals, but in a final quarter comeback St Kilda slammed on six of the final seven goals of the game, falling just short of securing an inspirational win.

    7. Melbourne 11.10.76 versus Collingwood 9.22.76 (2010)
    In the annual Queen’s Birthday encounter at the MCG Collingwood were expected to make quick work of the struggling Demons, who were languishing in the bottom four of the ladder. A dominant opening quarter wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard, with the Pies scoring 4.8 to Melbourne’s 3.2. Collingwood clung to a one-point lead at half time, with their accuracy in front of goal troubling them.

    That didn’t change in the third term, with the Magpies scoring a disappointing 1.9 for the term, but Melbourne was also missing the mark more often than not, kicking 1.5. In a frenetic final term the two sides traded blows, with Tarkyn Lockyer drawing the scores level with a goal. It would prove to be the final score of the match, resulting in a draw.

    (Image: AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

    6. Carlton 17.8.110 versus Port Adelaide 16.10.106 (2015)
    Anchored to the bottom of the ladder with just one win to their name, Carlton hosted top-eight hopeful Port Adelaide at the MCG on a Saturday afternoon, and few gave the navy blue a chance.

    In an entertaining and high-scoring game of football Carlton produced a strong third term to take a 23-point lead into the final change. That lead was extended when Troy Menzel kicked a goal early in the fourth quarter, but the Power stormed back into the match with four consecutive goals. It wasn’t enough, with the Blues holding on for an inspirational win, the first under caretaker coach John Barker.

    5. Collingwood 12.17.89 versus Carlton 17.17.119 (2008)
    With two wins separating these bitter enemies on the ladder, this match was shaping up as a classic ‘eight-pointer’ as the second half of the 2008 season got underway. With over 80,000 fans packed into the MCG on a Sunday afternoon the Blues and Magpies played out a high-pressure but low-scoring first half of footy, with Collingwood taking a ten-point advantage into half time.

    The second half saw the game open up considerably. The Pies managed to extend their lead to 24 points in the third term, but it was a navy blue avalanche that would follow. Carlton slammed through 13 of the final 17 goals of the match, including eight in a barnstorming final quarter, to claim a 30-point win and keep their season alive.

    Brendan Fevola was magical up forward for the Blues, kicking eight goals, including four in the match-winning fourth term.

    (Image: AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    4. Geelong 13.10.88 v Hawthorn 13.5.83 (2011)
    Going into their Round 12 clash with Hawthorn in 2011, Geelong remained unbeaten, with their brown and gold rivals just two wins below them on the ladder. On a cold Melbourne night at the MCG the Cats and Hawks played out yet another thriller full of momentum swings.

    The Cats got out to a handy 19-point lead at quarter time, but it was quickly eradicated when Hawthorn slammed through five goals in a row early in the second term. It would be short-lived, however, with the Cats answering with five unanswered goals of their own. Still clinging to their lead at half time, the Hawks kept Geelong goalless in the third quarter, allowing Alastair Clarkson’s men to skip out to a 17-point advantage at the final break.

    In a tense fourth quarter Geelong grabbed back the momentum, keeping Hawthorn completely scoreless while kicking 3.4 of their own to win by five points. James Podsiadly was instrumental in the win, kicking six goals, while Hawthorn’s loss was compounded by the fact Jarryd Roughead would miss the remainder of the year with a torn Achilles tendon.

    3. Carlton 14.11.95 versus St Kilda 16.8.104 (2009)
    Having won their first 11 games of the season, St Kilda looked almost unbeatable when they came up against Carlton, who were putting together an impressive season of their own with a 6-5 record. 50,820 fans packed into Etihad Stadium to see these two sides clash under the Friday night lights.

    The Saints started very strongly, displaying the excellent form that had seen them unbeaten to this stage of the season. They slammed on the first five goals of the match, but the Blues responded to save some face on the scoreboard. Not only did they respond, but they answered back in the second quarter, kicking five unanswered goals to cut the deficit to under a goal.

    With their inspirational captain Chris Judd battling a broken nose, the Blues tried desperately to keep the Saints, who had got back out to a lead of 26 points during the third quarter. A late goal to Irishman Setanta Ó hAilpín saw the margin sliced to four points, but it was an unlikely hero who stood up for St Kilda.

    With a minute left on the clock Zac Dawson took an uncontested mark in the forward pocket, with the defender slotting just the second goal of his career to seal the win for the Saints.

    (Image: AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    2. Adelaide 10.12.72 versus Hawthorn 11.10.76 (2008)
    Sitting on top of the ladder with just one loss to their name, the Hawks looked like the only team capable of ruining Geelong’s back-to-back flag chances. Out for revenge were the Adelaide Crows, whose finals chances were ended the previous year on the back of a sensational Lance Franklin goal in the dying seconds at Etihad Stadium.

    On a Saturday night at AAMI Stadium 44,559 packed in to watch the Crows take it up to the ladder-leading Hawks. In an incredibly tight contest Adelaide led at every break by an ever-increasing margin – one point at quarter time, two points at half time and three points at three quarter time.

    Halfway through the final term Adelaide held an eight-point lead, but Hawthorn responded with two crucial goals, the last of them from inspirational leader Luke Hodge, who put his side in front. The Hawks managed to hold on for a tight win, with Franklin not as effective as his previous encounter with the Crows, kicking a wayward 1.6.

    1. Geelong 16.11.107 versus Carlton 15.12.102 (2014)
    Coming off a 110-point shellacking at the hands of Sydney, Geelong entered their Round 12 encounter with Carlton under serious pressure to respond and stake their claim as a top-eight side. Carlton, on the other hand, were struggling to string wins together and sat more than three games outside the top eight.

    Despite holding a 15-point lead early in the second quarter, Carlton surrendered their advantage by half time, with Geelong kicking seven goals in the second term. They looked a much better outfit in the second half – until the Blues stood up and slammed on six consecutive goals without answer from the Cats.

    Now facing a 16-point deficit, Geelong responded with two quick goals; however, their charge was thwarted by Bryce Gibbs, who slammed home his fourth major for the night. A snap from George Horlin-Smith cut the margin to one point, and then a Herculean effort from Joel Selwood saw the Cats’ skipper thread through the match-winning goal on the run from the forward flank with just seconds remaining, breaking navy blue hearts across Etihad Stadium.

    Thanks for reading, and make sure to tune into my Team of the Week at the conclusion of Round 12!

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