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My top 10 AFL finals of the decade

Donal new author
Roar Rookie
18th December, 2019
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Donal new author
Roar Rookie
18th December, 2019
19
1028 Reads

There have been some very memorable finals over this decade, so I’ve decided to make a list of my top ten finals – just a quick note, this is from a neutral point of view as I support the Brisbane Lions who only played two finals this decade.

10. 2011 Semi-final – West Coast Eagles versus Carlton
A high scoring shootout which was played at a frantic pace throughout the whole game. With goals coming in bursts, West Coast’s accuracy in the first half was telling – converting eight goals straight in the second quarter.

The Eagles extended their lead to 21 points midway through the last quarter before – in keeping with the pattern of the game – Carlton rattled on three quick goals to set up a grandstand finish in which West Coast prevailed.

9. 2017 Elimination final – Port Adelaide versus West Coast
An epic elimination final that was won by a goal after the extra time siren from West Coast’s Luke Shuey. Eric Mackenzie saved the game for the Eagles during normal time – with scores level and time ticking down, the ball was heading through for a crucial Port Adelaide behind.

Mackenzie had the presence of mind to crash into the post with the ball going out of bounds and resulting in a throw in, setting up the opportunity for Shuey to be the hero.

Luke Shuey West Coast Eagles AFL 2017

(AAP Image/David Mariuz)

8. 2012 Preliminary final – Hawthorn versus Adelaide
Hawthorn came into this game as massive favourites to progress through to the grand final. Despite the Hawks’ six goal third quarter putting them 16 points up at the final change, Adelaide stormed back into the game – taking the lead through sub Graham Johncock.

Immediately, Shaun Burgoyne put himself in at the center bounce and won the all important clearance before kicking the ball deep forward where Cyril Rioli marked and put Hawthorn back in front. The Hawks were going to the grand final.

7. 2013 Elimination final – Carlton versus Richmond
Richmond were finally back in September action in front of 94,000 – and they were up against arch nemesis Carlton in unforeseen circumstances. The Tigers were dominating proceedings early on – getting as much as 32 points in front during the start of the third quarter – but a Chris Judd inspired second half performance led Carlton to a miracle comeback which was capped off when Judd himself scored the sealer in the last quarter.

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6. 2011 Preliminary final – Collingwood versus Hawthorn
This was a tense contest between two fierce teams. Collingwood went into the last quarter trailing by 17 points, but moments of individual brilliance across the ground made for a remarkable comeback. Deep into the last quarter Lance Franklin pushed off Chris Tarrant, gathered the ball running towards the boundary line and dribbled a goal through. However, Luke Ball bobbed up minutes later kicking the winning goal for the Magpies.

5. 2013 Preliminary final – Hawthorn versus Geelong
An epic game between two great teams had a fitting finish. Hawthorn stormed back from a three quarter time 20-point deficient thanks to the ever reliable big game player Shaun Burgoyne putting the Hawks back in front.

They went onto break on the Kennett’s curse, beating Geelong for the first time since 2008 grand final.

4. 2012 Grand final – Hawthorn versus Sydney
This was a grand final of vast momentum swings in an epic encounter. Hawthorn had the momentum to begin, with ending the first quarter with a flurry of goals. Sydney then stole the momentum back and ran with it, piling on eight goals in a row.

Hawthorn were on the ropes before the momentum swung again – with the Hawks kicking another five unanswered goals. But in the end, Hawthorn’s inaccuracy cost them dearly in the last quarter as Sydney recorded a memorable win.

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3. 2010 Grand final – Collingwood versus St. Kilda
The last drawn grand final we’ll ever see, it was a phenomenal spectacle both teams giving their all. Opposing captains Nick Maxwell and Nick Riewoldt lead the way for their respective teams and Saints duo Lenny Hayes and Brendan Goddard were instrumental in getting St. Kilda back into the game. It was one of those games where there didn’t deserve to be a winner and a loser.

2. 2016 Preliminary final – Greater Western Sydney versus Western Bulldogs
It was the new up against the old in one of the toughest fought games ever played. Yet another game of incredible moments with lots of goals to be celebrated – plus injuries to both Callan Ward and Jordan Roughead were big loses for both sides. The Bulldogs scored a team-lifting goal just prior to three quarter time thanks to the crashing and bashing of tough nut Caleb Daniel.

Whilst others were tiring, Jason Johannisen was running all over the ground – even setting up a goal to Marcus Bontempelli which put the Bulldogs in front. The Giants hit right back to make scores level again, but Tom Liberatore saw Jack Macrae out the back of a pack and hit him on the chest – and Macrae made no mistake in converting. The Western Bulldogs had broken the drought of losing preliminary finals in one of the best ways ever.

Clay Smith Western Bulldogs AFL Final 2016

(AAP Image/Craig Golding)

1. 2018 Grand final – Collingwood versus West Coast
This was truly a grand final that had it all. Collingwood raced out of the blocks kicking the first five goals, but West Coast restored the margin at quarter time – somewhat fortunately as Willie Rioli scored a goal with the back of his heel. The Eagles then came out more aggressive in the second quarter with Liam Ryan landing a big bump on Brayden Maynard.

With scores level at the last break a rush of goals came from the likes Jordan de Goey and big American Mason Cox to put the Magpies 11 points in front. Despite West Coast pushing, they just couldn’t find that goal to take the lead back.

With two minutes left, Jeremy McGovern left his opponent to take a big mark. He immediately played on, kicking lace out to Vardy, who kicked high to half forward were ‘Flyin Ryan’ soared and took a spectacular grab. He played on quickly to find Dom Sheed right up against the boundary – and with under two minutes left, they had to take this chance. Sheed delivered the perfect drop punt right through the middle to seal a memorable premiership for West Coast.