AustralianFootball.com Celebrating the history of the great Australian game
In a Grand Final that is sure to be remembered as one of the greatest of the modern era, if not of all time, Sydney has clung on to defeat Hawthorn by 10 points and take out the 2012 AFL premiership. The match was underpinned by huge momentum shifts, with the result remaining uncertain until unlikely goal-kicker Nick Malceski kicked his second of the game with just 34 seconds remaining. Until that moment, picking a winner would have been about as tough as picking Saturday night's lotto numbers. And when the final siren sounded, Swans' players and fans alike shared a moment that for them was probably better than any lotto-win celebration could be.
The win was a hugely emotional one for John Longmire, with the Sydney coach paying tribute to his mother, who died earlier this year, in his post-match speech. Similarly, Jarrad McVeigh and his wife Clementine shared an emotional hug with their baby daughter Lolita-Luella after the match. The couple tragically lost their first daughter, Luella in August last year, at only one month old.
The game itself became the titanic struggle it promised to be in the first eight minutes, during which time neither side could manage a goal. A snap from Xavier Ellis finally gave Hawthorn the first goal of the match at the eight-and-a-half minute mark, before an incredible boundary-line snap from Malceski brought up the first for the Swans.
It would be another 13 minutes before the next goal of the match, and the Hawks would rue missed chances during this phase, with Lance Franklin, David Hale and Jarryd Roughead all spraying gettable shots. Franklin finally found the target with a set shot after a mark at the 23-minute mark, giving the Hawks a 9-point lead. Two goals on the burst from Luke Breust and Jack Gunston at the 28 and 29-minute marks gave Hawthorn a 19-point lead at quarter-time. It could well have been 25 points but another shot from Breust came just a fraction of a second after the siren sounded for the first break.
Two other features of the first quarter were a courageous mark by young Daniel Hannebery, taken as Hawk giant David Hale crunched him and a scintillating 80-metre run from Lewis Jetta, who left Cyril Rioli in his wake.
Quarter-time: Hawthorn 4.5 (29) v Sydney 1.4 (10)
The wind, while swirling, did not appear to have been a factor in the Hawks gaining the early ascendency but some began to wonder about its effect in the second quarter, when Sydney came out and took complete control of the game. Ex-Hawk Josh Kennedy, grandson and son of Hawk legends John Kennedy Senior and John Kennedy Junior respectively, got the ball rolling for the Swans with a long goal from outside 50. Kieran Jack and Jarrad McVeigh added goals shortly after, reducing the margin to just a point at the eight-minute mark. A running goal from 50 by Sam Reid gave the Swans the lead before Mitch Morton, who almost certainly would not have played had Ben McGlynn been fit, kicked two of his own to give the Swans a 16-point buffer. Franklin had a chance to narrow the gap just before half-time but shanked a set shot at goal to such an extent that not even a behind was registered. When the half time siren sounded, Sydney's return for the second quarter was six straight goals, during which time the Hawks could manage no more than a David Hale behind.
Half-time: Hawthorn 4.6 (30) v Sydney 7.4 (46)
Josh Kennedy opened the third quarter as he had the second, with a goal, after another fine run from Jetta. Moments later, when Lewis Roberts-Thomson brought up his first major, the margin was suddenly 28 points in Sydney's favour and the premiership appeared to be rapidly slipping from Hawthorn's grasp. But the Swans eight-goal run was broken by a dramatic momentum-shift back in Hawthorn's direction. The swing began with a Hale goal at the 14-minute mark, the first for the Hawks in 45 minutes. Two minutes later, a Buddy Franklin “special” from outside 50 brought the margin back to 16 points and Hawthorn was suddenly inspired. Another Franklin goal on the run was sandwiched between majors to Jack Gunston and Isaac Smith, with Smith's goal giving the lead back to Hawthorn for the first time in more than a quarter. A free to Jarrad McVeigh was converted and the Swans wrested the lead back just before the siren sounded to end the third term.
Three quarter-time: Hawthorn 9.10 (64) v Sydney 10.5 (65)
Cyril Rioli found Luke Breust in space within the first minute of the last quarter, and Breust's running goal restored the lead to Hawthorn. Barely a minute later, ruckman Hale snapped his second and the Hawks held sway by 10 points, having kicked seven of the last eight goals.
But the game's final momentum swing was back towards Sydney. Hannebery goaled on the run before Mitch Morton cleared a path for Kieran Jack to kick a major from the goal square. With eight minutes remaining in the match, scores were level and the thought of another drawn Grand Final began to enter the collective consciousness of everybody watching the match.
A rushed behind gave the Swans the slenderest of leads before Adam Goodes, who had damaged his posterior cruciate ligament in the first quarter, played a roving role and snapped truly. Still the Hawks would not be denied. Several further forays forward produced a behind to Gunston, and two behinds to Brad Sewell, who had been the Hawks' best player all day. These points cut the margin back to just four points.
Finally, with less than 40 seconds remaining, it was the man who had kicked the Swans' first goal, Nick Malceski, who settled the result with another brilliant snap. It was a remarkable performance from a man who had kicked only four goals for the entire season leading into this game.
Full time: Hawthorn 11.15 (81) v Sydney 14.7 (91)
Ryan O'Keefe, who was prominent for the Swans when Hawthorn surged to an early lead, and who laid an amazing 15 tackles for the match, was rewarded with the Norm Smith medal for his best-on-ground performance. Dan Hannebery and Canadian Mike Pyke were also brilliant. Brad Sewell was almost a match-winner for Hawthorn, while Sam Mitchell and Lance Franklin too were very good, although several Franklin misses proved costly.
The win was the Swans' fifth Grand Final triumph in 116 seasons. Four of those have been by 10 points or less. Hawthorn's loss was its first in a Grand Final since 1987, when they succumbed to Carlton in 30 degree heat.
The Grand Final proved to be a thrilling advertisement for the game, incorporating a wonderful mix of pinpoint kicking and handball, courageous marking, unprecedented tackling intensity and a grandstand finish. It was a match that will be remembered by all footy fans, not just supporters of Hawthorn and the Swans, for many decades to come, and for all the right reasons.
Hawthorn: Franklin 3; Hale, Gunston, Breust 2; Smith, Ellis
Sydney: Kennedy, McVeigh, Jack, Morton, Malceski 2; Goodes, Hannebery, Roberts-Thomson, Reid
BEST - THE AGE
Hawthorn: Franklin, Sewell, Mitchell, Gibson
Sydney: O’Keefe, Hannebery, Pyke, McVeigh, Roberts-Thomson, Goodes, Johnson, Kennedy
BEST - AFL.COM.AU
Hawthorn: Franklin, Sewell, Burgoyne, Mitchell, Breust, Hale
Sydney: Hannebery, O'Keefe, Kennedy, McVeigh, Jetta, Goodes
NORM SMITH MEDALLIST: Ryan O'Keefe
Alastair Clarkson (Haw): We played a very, very good football side today and when you front up to a Grand Final it's always going to be an epic battle. We played against a football side today that are very, very talented. We're disappointed we didn't get the result. There were stages throughout the course of the game where we played well and Sydney didn't play so well and there were stages where Sydney played well and we didn't play so well.
When you come to the "big dance" at the end of September, you're not going to win them all the time. Allan Jeans came here on nine occasions and won four, so we just need to keep turning up. Along the way, there's going to be some heartbreak but along the way there will also be some joy. We didn't get that today but we're hopeful that if we learn from our season, it will get ourselves another chance to have a crack at it.
They just had a little bit more polish when they went forward than what we did. We had a lot of opportunities [but] our inside-50 entries just weren't polished enough.
John Longmire (Syd): It's fantastic. I was lucky enough to play in one (premiership) in my last game and now as a coach to see the 22 players experience it, some for the second time, but many for the first time, it is one of the great experiences I've had, to be able to see the joy on their faces and get reward for what's been a fantastic season.
Today we'll really savour the Grand Final victory. It doesn't happen too often and you've got to make sure you really enjoy it, whether you're Ryan O'Keefe or Adam Goodes, who have been there before, or Luke Parker who's 19 years of age.
I thought there was a scoring end with the wind and we just needed to hold strong there for a period of time and we made a couple of adjustments at quarter-time according to the conditions. The players were able to then get on top and start to get the momentum. Kicking straight makes a difference - I think we kicked six in that second quarter. We took our chances when we had to and that's so important.
[Ryan O'Keefe] came up to me before the game and said, "Don't worry about it, we'll be right" and he was right, which I'm pretty happy about!
UMPIRES: Rosebury, Stevic, Meredith
|14||Birchall, Grant||10||4||4||14||0||0||0||0||0||0||24y 245d||152||16|
|22||Breust, Luke||7||1||7||14||2||0||0||8||2||0||21y 323d||41||75|
|9||Burgoyne, Shaun||11||2||10||21||0||0||0||10||1||0||29y 344d||221||205|
|8||Ellis, Xavier||9||0||2||11||1||0||0||1||1||0||24y 214d||84||28|
|23||Franklin, Lance 'Buddy'||14||8||10||24||3||4||1||6||2||1||25y 243d||161||520|
|6||Gibson, Josh||3||3||8||11||0||0||0||3||0||0||28y 200d||124||2|
|19||Gunston, Jack||6||4||2||8||2||1||0||3||2||0||20y 349d||33||59|
|20||Hale, David||6||3||6||12||2||2||30||2||1||0||28y 130d||173||162|
|15||Hodge, Luke||13||3||4||17||0||0||2||1||3||1||28y 106d||205||144|
|3||Lewis, Jordan||7||1||13||20||0||0||8||7||3||1||26y 158d||169||90|
|5||Mitchell, Sam||9||1||15||24||0||0||0||5||2||1||29y 353d||221||53|
|28||Puopolo, Paul||4||0||2||6||0||0||0||7||0||0||24y 302d||41||32|
|33||Rioli, Cyril||4||4||10||14||0||0||0||4||1||1||23y 77d||106||140|
|2||Roughead, Jarryd||9||3||5||14||0||3||18||0||0||2||25y 250d||159||294|
|21||Savage, Shane||4||1||0||4||0||0||0||2||0||0||21y 268d||41||26|
|25||Schoenmakers, Ryan||7||2||5||12||0||0||0||1||0||0||21y 326d||60||5|
|12||Sewell, Brad||16||4||17||33||0||2||1||11||0||0||28y 240d||169||26|
|26||Shiels, Liam||13||2||5||18||0||0||0||3||1||1||21y 153d||64||19|
|16||Smith, Isaac||10||1||5||15||1||0||0||3||0||0||23y 274d||38||37|
|24||Stratton, Ben||5||1||4||9||0||0||0||3||0||1||23y 212d||52||1|
|4||Suckling, Matt||14||5||2||16||0||1||0||1||1||1||24y 66d||54||24|
|11||Young, Clinton||13||3||6||19||0||0||0||3||1||0||26y 226d||116||60|
|14||Bird, Craig||10||4||9||19||0||1||0||6||0||2||23y 252d||87||37|
|24||Bolton, Jude||6||2||7||13||0||0||0||7||0||0||32y 198d||301||167|
|37||Goodes, Adam||7||2||7||14||1||0||0||6||0||0||32y 265d||319||389|
|39||Grundy, Heath||7||3||7||14||0||0||0||2||0||3||26y 119d||114||21|
|4||Hannebery, Dan||12||4||17||29||1||0||0||5||0||0||21y 218d||77||26|
|15||Jack, Kieren||9||3||5||14||2||0||0||9||1||2||25y 93d||114||78|
|32||Jetta, Lewis||12||3||0||12||0||1||0||1||1||1||23y 148d||65||61|
|34||Johnson, Alex||10||4||5||15||0||1||0||3||0||0||20y 211d||45||1|
|12||Kennedy, Josh||14||2||12||26||2||1||0||4||0||3||24y 101d||86||53|
|9||Malceski, Nick||14||2||3||17||2||0||0||7||0||1||28y 45d||126||54|
|29||Mattner, Martin||5||1||6||11||0||0||0||6||0||1||30y 54d||215||40|
|3||McVeigh, Jarrad||17||7||4||21||2||0||0||9||2||1||27y 175d||194||141|
|10||Morton, Mitch||6||2||5||11||2||0||0||4||0||1||25y 245d||76||110|
|41||Mumford, Shane||3||2||3||6||0||0||14||3||1||2||26y 86d||78||30|
|5||O'Keefe, Ryan||15||3||13||28||0||0||0||15||0||0||31y 249d||257||248|
|26||Parker, Luke||2||0||1||3||0||0||0||2||1||1||19y 340d||32||13|
|38||Pyke, Mike||7||6||9||16||0||0||29||3||2||0||28y 189d||46||13|
|20||Reid, Sam||6||3||7||13||1||1||0||3||0||0||20y 277d||46||54|
|25||Richards, Ted||7||2||4||11||0||0||0||5||0||1||29y 262d||181||31|
|30||Roberts-Thomson, Lewis||6||7||8||14||1||1||1||4||2||1||29y 21d||170||51|
|2||Shaw, Rhyce||9||3||6||15||0||0||0||2||0||0||30y 349d||187||41|
|40||Smith, Nick||6||4||5||11||0||0||0||4||0||1||24y 109d||74||8|