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Triumphs and Heartbreak – Top 5 AFL Finals matches of the teens

The 2010s produced some of the most mouthwatering AFL football we’ve witnessed in our lifetime.


Photo by Stefan Lehner on Unsplash

With drought-breaking glory, heartbreaking losses and the birth of new legends to the game, the 2010s will be classed as one of the greatest decades of AFL football in history.

COVID-19 has put a halt to the 2020 season, so why not take a look back at some of the greatest AFL Finals matches of the last decade. Here are my top five finals matches of the 2010’s.

#5 Geelong v Hawthorn – 2016 Second Qualifying Final

After breaking the ‘Kennett curse’ in 2008, these two old rivals would face off in a Friday night blockbuster at the MCG. These two foes have the greatest rivalry of the modern era, with close encounters almost guaranteed every match.

Geelong led by 14 points midway through the second quarter, before the Hawks turned the tables and lead by 17 points just before three quarter time.

The Hawks controlled the last quarter, holding onto a slender lead. With five minutes left, Geelong’s Josh Caddy kicked a goal to put Geelong back in front.

With only seconds remaining, Luke Breust found Isaac Smith inside the Hawthorn forward-50, leaving Smith to kick after the siren.

He missed, and with Geelong holding onto the win by a mere 3 points, it sent the Hawks directly into the preliminary final after an exceptional game of football.

Watch the final two minutes below:


#4 Sydney v Western Bulldogs – 2016 Grand Final

The drought breaker.

The Western Bulldogs won their last premiership way back in 1954, their first and only. They came close again in 1961, reaching the Grand Final ultimately losing to Hawthorn.

It was a long time between drinks, but the Bulldogs fought their way into the Grand Final in 2016, coming up against seasoned performers on the big stage, Sydney.

Australia loves an underdog and this case was no different, with the whole of Australia supporting them, the Bulldogs looked to end their 62-year drought.

It was a close game all day, with the biggest margin being only 16 points. The Bulldogs lead by eight points heading into the final quarter, but Sydney wasn’t done, fighting back twice to narrow the margin to one point, before Liam Picken and Tom Boyd changed the game for the Bulldogs.

The second longest premiership drought in AFL history was over. Watch all the highlights below:

#3 Collingwood v St Kilda – 2010 Grand Final

At the beginning of the decade, we witnessed something incredible, the third Grand Final in AFL history to end in a draw when Collingwood played St. Kilda.

It was all Collingwood in the first half of the match, dominating all over the ground and on the scoreboard. They lead by a solid 24 points at half time but St. Kilda fought back in the third quarter, keeping Collingwood goalless.

Collingwood had the lead into the final quarter but St. Kilda never gave up, taking the lead with six minutes remaining. But Collingwood hit back fast, and with less than two minutes remaining, it happened. The moment that would haunt St. Kilda supporters all decade, as the ball bounced away from Stephen Milne and across the goal line for one behind.

The match ended in a draw, with both teams returning to the MCG the week after to decide the premier for 2010, with Collingwood winning the replay.

An incredible match full of highlights, check out the last four minutes here:


#2 West Coast Eagles v Port Adelaide – 2017 Elimination Final

All I can say is wow.

It was all to play for in the 2017 Elimination Final, with the winner continuing their path to Premiership glory, and the loser left licking their wounds until next season.

The Eagles built a commanding lead early, in which Port Adelaide spent the remainder of the game reducing.

Port Adelaide hit the lead half way through the final quarter and the lead changed hands several times before the final siren blew. It was a draw.

For the third time in AFL Finals history, there was to be extra time to determine the winner of the match. The two extra-time periods did not disappoint, with physical and nail biting football played throughout.

With only seconds to go, Luke Shuey was awarded a free kick, with the siren blowing shortly after. Shuey had the chance to send his team one step closer to the Grand Final.

He walked in and kicked the winning goal. Watch the highlights here:


#1 West Coast Eagles v Collingwood – 2018 Grand Final

On the biggest stage of them all, one man gave the West Coast Eagles an unbelievable premiership win.

The Eagles were down by as much as five goals at the beginning of the match, a margin that should’ve been almost impossible to overcome.

Collingwood were a dominant side on at the MCG, and were favourites to win the 2018 Grand Final and they were in the position to do so.

West Coast chipped away at the margin all game before gaining the lead midway through the third quarter. From then it was game on.

Collingwood stretched their lead out to over 10 points during the final quarter, but one last ditch effort saw the ball fly from one end to the other resulting in a controversial mark to West Coast Eagles midfielder Dom Sheed.

It’s now well documented that Sheed and fellow teammate Liam Ryan, who was a part of the scoring drive, were not meant to be on the field at this time. 

Sheed, with an army of Collingwood supporters behind him hurling abuse, went back and put the West Coast Eagles in front with less than two minutes remaining.

The rest is history, in one of the best Grand Finals in recent years, the Eagles had come back from the dead and etched their name into AFL folklore.

Watch the final two minutes below:

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