With the 2018 AFL Finals Series only just around the corner, Bevo looks at the top greatest finals in the past decade. These are the great finals that are etched into history and are remembered forever by fans and players.
Here’s Bevo’s top 10 AFL finals of the past 10 years:
2013 Elimination Final: Richmond vs Carlton
The lead up to this game was almost as big as the game itself, Richmond playing finals for the first time since 2001 and Carlton sneaking into the finals after finishing ninth but being promoted due to the Essendon drug saga.
In front of a record elimination crowd of 94,060 fans, the Tigers looked to have the game under control and lead by as much as 32 points; however the Blues were inspired by their Brownlow Medallist star Chris Judd and produced one of the biggest turnarounds in finals history to eventually win by 20 points. There was much joy for Blues fans, however for Richmond it was another case of what could’ve been.
We all know that this disappointment has turned to joy for the Tigers after winning their first flag since 1980 in winning the 2017 AFL Premiership.
2015 Elimination Final: Western Bulldogs vs Adelaide
In a game which had 30 goals scored between both sides it was the Crows who prevailed by seven points in a classic final which ebbed and flowed throughout.
The Crows took an 11 point lead into three-quarter time, however, in a game which had plenty of momentum swings; the Dogs hit the front in the last term and looked to have the game won when they turned an 11-point deficit into an eight-point lead.
The Crows dug deep though and ended up winning the game, an incredible effort when you consider they lost their coach Phil Walsh earlier on in the year.
2013 Preliminary Final: Hawthorn vs Geelong
It was the night when the famous ‘Kennett Curse’ was broken with the Hawks defeating the Cats for the first time since the 2008 Grand Final with a memorable five-point come-from-behind victory.
The Hawks were down by 20 points at three-quarter time and typical of many games between these two sides within the past ten years, this game went right down to the wire, with Alastair Clarkson’s team storming home to win the game.
The Hawks went on to win the Grand Final against the Fremantle Dockers and it was the start of a three-peat era of premierships by Hawthorn.
2009 Grand Final: Geelong vs St Kilda
An inaccurate Cats team held off the Saints to win an epic Grand Final by 12 points.
The Saints managed to strangle the Cats all day, restricting their inside 50 entries and looking the better side for much of the contest. But the Cats managed to kick the only three goals of the last quarter to hold on.
The moment of the game though was in the dying minutes when the game was up for grabs. The ball was in the centre of the ground and the Saints were desperate to score a goal. Geelong’s legendary defender Matthew Scarlett had other ideas though and a clever toe-poke to Gary Ablett led to a Paul Chapman winning goal for the Cats and they were home.
2014 Preliminary Final: Hawthorn vs Port Adelaide
In another cracking final it was the Hawks who prevailed to win by three points against the Power. The Hawks went on to make it through to the Grand Final which they eventually won against Sydney.
The game had lots of lead changes and momentum swings, however Port kicking 3.9 in the first quarter clearly came back to bite them as it kept the Hawks in the game when Port should’ve led by much more at quarter time.
The Hawks appeared to be home with a 28-point lead early in the last quarter but the Power came from nowhere to almost steal it but just fell short.
2009 Semi Final: Collingwood vs Adelaide
In one of the best games of the year, Collingwood stole the game from the Crows to win by four points thanks to a late set-shot goal by John Anthony.
The Crows thought they had the game won, however, a controversial free kick with 20 seconds left on the clock against Adelaide’s key defender, Ben Rutten, resulted in Anthony shooting for the Pies to advance.
The victory sent the Magpies through to the Preliminary Final against the Cats. One feels that the Pies played their final a week early as they were beaten convincingly by the eventual premier’s Geelong by 73 points.
2012 Preliminary Final: Hawthorn vs Adelaide
The game had many lead changes and the Crows lead by seven points at quarter time and five at half time, only for the Hawks to take a 16 point three-quarter time lead. However, the Crows put up an almighty fight to get ahead by one point with only five minutes remaining.
The Hawks managed to kick ahead with a couple of late goals and held on to make it through to the 2012 AFL Grand Final which they ended up losing to Sydney.
2017 Elimination Final : Port Adelaide vs West Coast
In one of the best finals ever seen, the West Coast Eagles produced an amazing come-from-behind victory in extra time to snatch victory over the Power by two points at the Adelaide Oval.
The Power looked to have the game won twice, once in the third quarter and again in extra time when they lead by 13 points. But a free kick paid to Luke Shuey in the dying minutes of extra time led to a shot after the siren to win the game for the Eagles.
Shuey converted the set shot and it was joy for the Eagles and heartbreak for the Power. Port will rue the fact that they kicked 8.12 and it proved to be costly in the end.
2016 Preliminary Final: GWS vs Western Bulldogs
Two of the most exciting young teams of the 2016 season did battle at a sold out Spotless Stadium in western Sydney with the winner given the ultimate prize, a spot in the 2016 AFL Grand Final.
The Bulldogs were looking to make their first Grand Final since 1961 and the Giants their first in their club’s history.
The game itself was an absolute cracker and with only two minutes to go on the clock, Devon Smith from the Giants were had a chance to square the ledger with a shot at goal, but missed.
The ball then went down the other end and Bulldogs forward Tory Dickson kicked a point which proved to be the final score of the game and the Dogs held on for a memorable victory. The Dogs went on to win the 2016 AFL Grand Final against the Sydney Swans by 22 points. The win broke a 62-year premiership drought, the longest drought in VFL/AFL history.
2010 Grand Final: St Kilda vs Collingwood
It was the Grand Final that will go down in history as one of the greatest of all time and for Saints fans, perhaps the one that got away. If only the ball had bounced the right way for Stephen Milne then the Saints premiership drought going all the way back to 1966 may have ended.
The game had everything and so many lead changes and who could forget Brendon Goddard’s incredible pack mark and goal that almost lifted the roof off the MCG.
In the end the game finished in a draw and the replay the week after was a bit of a fizzer with Collingwood winning the game easily by 56 points.