AFL: 2012 Grand Final Review: Sydney v Hawthorn


The 2012 AFL Grand Final will go down in history as yet another scintillating clash.  This time, the Sydney Swans defeated Hawthorn by 10 points in the dying minutes to clinch an emotional victory.

It is the Swans first premiership since 2005, denying the minor premiers the Hawks their shot at the flag.

With a monster crowd of 99,683, the Swans went into the match rank underdogs against the high-flying Hawks.  Ryan O’Keefe collected the Norm Smith medal in a match dominated by spurts and bursts.

Hawthorn, despite missed chances in front of goals (namely Lance Franklin, who finished with 3.4), went into quarter time with a 19 point lead, thanks to three quick goals and a host of other stats going their way.  But the Swans dug deep and didn’t give up, going from 28 points up in the third quarter and running rings around the Hawks to 12 points down in the last, but found a sealing goal thanks to Nick Malceski, who snapped high out of a pack.

Veterans Adam Goodes, O’Keefe and Jude Bolton showed that age couldn’t weary them, Goodes having his knee strapped due to a torn posterior cruciate ligament.  Lewis Roberts-Thomson sent Swans fans into a frenzy the entire match, playing a pivotal role in his sides victory.  While the accolades have never seemed to reach him, Roberts-Thomson has been a stalwart, providing a rock-solid platform during his 170 games.

The crowd was also treated to another Lewis Jetta spectacle-and Cyril Rioli was the chaser.  Jetta ran halfway down the ground from the backline before drilling it to his intended target.  Rioli was some metres behind and had no chance to catch him.

For Hawthorn, missed chances in the first quarter proved to be very costly.  Franklin’s early misses allowed Sydney to claw back at the lead, and they kicked eight straight from the start of the second term to midway through the third, when Hawthorn broke the scoring rut.

Hawthorn youngster Jack Gunston showed that he was capable of taking the fight to the Swans, but the likes of Daniel Hannebery, Bolton and captain Jarrad McVeigh wanted one thing: a premiership, and they would stop at nothing to get it.  McVeigh’s 21 possessions and two goals capped off an emotional day for him, while defender Alex Johnson capped off a full 25 game season with a fantastic performance from the backline.

Hawthorn will rue the opportunities missed, being pipped in the dying minutes.  Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge, on return from illness, was disappointed at the end but praised his teammates for a stellar season.

With season 2012 now finished, and season 2013 6 months away, the tired and sore bodies of the grand final teams will be looking forward to an extremely well deserved rest.

Votes (mine):

5. Ryan O’Keefe

4. Daniel Hannebery

3. Jarrad McVeigh

2. Sam Mitchell

1. Lewis Jetta

(image source: AFL)

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