From the screamers to the howlers, the bombs to the flops, and the fabulous dashes across the field, there is no doubting the league has seen a plethora of highlights amidst controversies.
Not every amazing moment from the season will make this list, but here are five occasions where the AFL world stopped, and stared.
The second half of the season had just begun, and the Lions were surging – but even at home, they faced a challenge of a very strong Geelong side. And fans at the ground saw what could well be the spectacle of the season.
Down by almost nine goals in the third quarter, somewhere someone flicked Geelong’s “off” switch. A burst of speed and flurry of goals saw Geelong’s lead slowly dragged in. It had been all quiet on the maroon front for the first three quarters, but Brent Moloney got his hands on the ball, and three goals to “Beamer” and Ash McGrath, including the sealer after the siren, saw an eight goal to one pounding in the last quarter.
Tom Hawkins caused headaches just minutes out from the end, but the Lions eventually managed to reel in a phenomenal deficit in a short time. What made it even more special was that the control Geelong had on the game completely went out the window.
By far Brisbane’s best win of the season.
2. Jeremy Howe & his weekly high flying tricks
Forget the stereotypical one screamer a year, Jeremy Howe does it for fun, almost every week he plays. And boy does he fly high, as the photo here demonstrates. It’s a crash landing incoming.
Despite the tumultuous season the Melbourne Demons had, the talent of Howe in the air could not be missed. Howe isn’t just a high flyer; he is in and around the stoppages and is a fantastic long-term prospect for Melbourne. Will 2014 see even more of the aerial acts?
The Power got a new coach, and a new president in the 2012 off-season. Somewhere, a little spark developed into a raging fireball, and Port Adelaide ascended the ladder, much to the surprise of many fans.
A new star was born in Chad Wingard, while Oliver Wines made his mark in the midfield. It was immediately evident that a change at the top of the management chain was of great benefit to the club after a sluggish 2012.
Then there’s the Gold Coast Suns. The club is just three years old, but plenty of sides got some almighty scares from the new boys in town. Rather than having the whole team rely on captain Gary Ablett, the effort has been spread across the entire team, delivery is getting better, and the club has unearthed some gems; namely 2013 Rising Star Jaeger O’Meara, as well as Dion Prestia, Tom Lynch, and Maverick Weller, just to name a few.
Challenging for finals in your third season is a tough ask, and the Suns almost pulled it off, but were unable to get the wins. The future burns bright for the red and gold.
4. Brent Harvey (North Melbourne)
As he gets older, it seems Brent ‘Boomer’ Harvey just gets better. The North Melbourne veteran roved like a hawk, pouncing on the ball at the stoppages. Perhaps the impact was limited compared to previous years, but the former captain sent a big statement that he isn’t finished with yet.
The club just missed out on finals, too. Unfortunate close losses meant that the Roos lingered just outside the top eight for the majority of the season. However, the talent, the passion and the raw power of the side suggests that 2014 looms as more than just a blip on the horizon. Harvey will be 36 next year, and has signed a one year deal to play on in 2014. North Melbourne may well yet challenge.
5. Jeremy Cameron (GWS Giants)
As the baby side of the competition, fans knew it would take time before we saw the superstars emerge. One of those is Jeremy Cameron, and 2013 was his breakout year. More than 60 goals in a side that conjured just one win (against Melbourne) speaks volumes about work ethic.
Cameron showed great poise and confidence in his kicking and disposal in the forward line. Future prospects for both the Giants and Cameron look excellent; GWS need a key forward, and the 194cm Cameron can develop into a long-term candidate. When the players gain more experience, there can be no doubt the Giants will be a team that can take it up to the big guns in the AFL.
There was only enough room to fit five ideas into the post. Fremantle, amazing goals, and other high flyers are all on the list; but this was just a selection.
With three weeks of finals action still to come, safe to say fans are still to taste some special hours of football.