02/03/2024
A-Z of Round 12

Individual brilliance and team statements highlighted an excellent first bye round. (Pictures @freodockers @sydneyswans @GeelongCats)

The first bye round meant less footy, but no less entertaining footy, with statements made and moments of individual brilliance throughout.

The first bye round meant less footy, but no less entertaining footy, with statements made and moments of individual brilliance throughout.

The Inner Sanctum takes you through Round 12, complete from A-Z. The defining highs, lows, and controversies surrounding Round 12 of the 2022 AFL Premiership season.

A is For Avoiding Being on the Wrong Side of History: The West Coast Eagles were on the watchlist for some pundits on Saturday afternoon in their game against the Adelaide Crows. The Eagles had lost seven consecutive games by a margin of more than 50 points with the Crows looking to follow suit and dispatch the Eagles. The Eagles finished with three goals and four behinds in the last ten scores of the game to avoid making history for the wrong reasons running out losers by 31 points.

B is For Boat Had Sailed: The Western Bulldogs certainly came home with a wet sail, but they missed take off after conceding seven goals to one in the first quarter. Off the back of Tom Liberatore, the Bulldogs dominated the Cats for the middle part of the match and even got to within five points in the last quarter but subsequently ran out of steam. This is not a new phenomenon for the Dogs in 2022, with the Round 2 clash against Carlton a similar story.

C is For Captains Corner: When Max Gawn is on, good luck. The Dees captain was in rare form, even by his standards, and very nearly carried his team over the line against the plucky Swans. 28 disposals, nine marks, and three goals should see him with the three Brownlow votes despite Melbourne’s loss.

D is For Daring Jack, Bites Back: One man that has had pressure heaped on him from all sides was West Coast Eagles spearhead Jack Darling. The Eagles forward met criticism with a rare highlight for Eagles fans kicking two second-quarter goals to help his team stem the flow that the Crows enjoyed up to that point. He had 15 disposals, four marks and three tackles to round out a decent performance after a four-goal game last week.

E is For Emerging Superstar: We may have a new leader in this year’s Rising Star award, Sam De Koning. He may not have the same eye-catching leap as his older brother, but those hands are as safe as houses. Five intercept possessions, eight spoils and eight marks were had on Friday night following a dominant performance last week. De Koning also limited Aaron Naughton’s impact on the game to very little, an exciting battle between the two key poles for many years to come.

F is For Francis’ Freakish Goal: He had a slow start in the first half but Jason Horne-Francis sprung to life halfway through the third quarter. After an initial fumble, he gathered, bulked around two opponents and snapped a special goal to give North a moment of brightness in what was a disappointing game.

G is For Golden Gulden: Oh Errol. Errol Gulden has rarely looked nothing but composed on a footy field, and in the fourth quarter against Melbourne, Gulden added another feather to his cap. Gulden had eight disposals (five contested) in the last quarter and then with this monster from 50, the 19-year-old put the Swans in the lead, a lead which they would not relinquish.

H is For Heading North, then South: North Melbourne started off well, kicking four goals to one and going into the first break with a 17 point lead, but it was all downhill from there. With Cameron Zurhaar out due to injury, North was really feeling the pinch, remaining goalless in the second term, and only managing three more goals for the rest of the game.

I is For Insane Timeslot: Even six weeks ago, it was evident that Brisbane and Fremantle were two of the league’s best sides. So why then, does the AFL schedule the match of the round at 5.20 pm on a Sunday night? It makes sense for the Perth fan base, but for the east coast of Australia football lovers, a better timeslot would have given more the opportunity to enjoy the great match that it was between two high-quality sides.

J is For Junior Brayshaw Domination: In a battle of high-quality sides and high-quality midfielders, one stood out above the rest. Andrew Brayshaw dominated in the midfield, amassing a huge 39 disposals, as well as six tackles. He was the highest-ranked player on the field and helped his side beat the top two side in the Brisbane Lions. With Nat Fyfe set to return and Brayshaw now among the elite midfielders in the competition, things look good for the Dockers.

K is For Koschitzke Kicks Off the Comeback: Hawthorn looked all at sea for the bulk of the first half against Collingwood. Handling errors and missed targets were the order of the day, but 40 seconds into the third quarter things started to look different. Jacob Koschitzke kicked a goal in the first minute.  Luke Breust, Mitch Lewis, and Sam Butler followed suit. After leading by five goals at one point, Hawthorn had caught Collingwood, 16 minutes into the second half, and stole the lead, setting up a fascinating final quarter of football.

L is For Little Man, Big Game: Adelaide Crows defender Rory Laird is often a player that performs week in and week out for his team. The midfielder had a day out in wet weather conditions at Adelaide Oval having 33 disposals, two marks, nine tackles, and a goal.

M is For Miller’s Milestone: The Suns shone in Touk Miller’s 150th game, but none brighter than the milestone man himself. The skipper collected 32 disposals, laid eight tackles, and had a career-high 13 clearances, as Gold Coast recorded another win.

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N is For No Buddy, No Worries: Sam Reid lined up for game 168 against Melbourne alongside Logan McDonald, and the duo more than covered the loss of the suspended Lance Franklin. The pair combined for six goals and 32 disposals, while Reid added 10 tackles, and McDonald nine score involvements.

O is For Ollie Ollie Ollie! Oliver Henry is fast becoming a big hit with the Collingwood supporters, and with good reason. Against Fremantle, he came into the match early after being named as the medical sub and kicked four goals. Then the following week he kicked three more in a low-scoring win over the old enemy Carlton. Against Hawthorn, he wasn’t as prolific, but a goal after the siren to send the Pies into three-quarter time in front and a clutch mark and goal deep into the final quarter were pivotal in his team’s win.

P is for Poor Decision: What was going through Bailey Smith’s head? Smith’s decision to headbutt Geelong’s Zach Tuohy, costing a two week suspension, is a further blow to the struggling Western Bulldogs. They are now without the hard-running ball magnet whilst sitting ninth on the ladder and top four looking like a pipe dream. The Dogs’ seemingly endless midfield depth will now be tested, in a time when many teams no longer fear last year’s grand finalists.

Q is For Quality, Qwazy, Goal: Brisbane’s ball movement was often stymied by the Fremantle Dockers, so some variation was needed. This goal to Charlie Cameron at the start of the third quarter gave the Lions the start they wanted in the second half. Unfortunately, they were outclassed from that point on.

R is For Robbery: The Cats are cashing in on what now looks like a daylight robbery trade. You could mount an argument that Jeremy Cameron is the best forward in the game, and on Friday night he proved the difference in a stunning six-goal performance including the game sealer. Although three first-round picks were involved in his trade to Geelong, he could prove the difference in its quest to claim its tenth premiership. Cameron has kicked 38 goals in 12 games this year. With Tom Hawkins by his side, they form a lethal one-two punch.

S is For Subbed out, again: Ben McKay can’t catch a break. Following a blow to the head, the luckless Roo was subbed off due to concussion protocols. Not a record he’d be too proud of, McKay has been subbed out four times from his seven games this season, with no other player being subbed off more than twice.

T is For Twin Towers: Adelaide Crows fans were treated to a feast with Darcy Fogarty and Taylor Walker imposing themselves on the scoreboard in a big way, in the same game. Walker and Fogarty were dynamic in contributing three goals each as mercurial forward, Shane McAdam, joined in with three of his own.

U is For Unfamiliar Form-line: One loss is one thing, but two? Melbourne finds itself on a losing streak going into Queen’s Birthday against Collingwood, after Sydney, a week after Fremantle ended its 10 game winning streak, also saluted against the Dees at the G. Turns out the Demons are human after all and they will be desperate to arrest the slide next Monday.

V is For Valiant, But Still Defeated: To paraphrase the great philosopher Forrest Gump, Hawthorn is like a box of chocolates., you never know what you’re going to get. The Hawks have often started matches strongly this year, here they were four goals down halfway through the second term. The comeback came from the sky with the rain in the third quarter, but ultimately it was too little, too late. Just like in their Round 3 clash with the Blues, the early lead was too much for the Hawks to overhaul.

W is For Who Dares, Dar-wins: After a solid start to the season, Gold Coast are knocking on the door of the eight following a 62 point downing of North Melbourne. The Suns recorded their second win in a row in Darwin and fourth win in five matches. Thirteen individual goal scorers and a seven-goal second term put them comfortably in front of the Roos, as they set a club record of 81 inside 50s.

X is For X-Factor Ginnivan: You may love Jack Ginnivan, you may hate him, but you cannot deny that he is very entertaining. He’s the sort of player that will do things that others won’t think of, and a part of the package is that he draws free kicks for high contact. Some will say that it’s a skill, whilst the less friendly observers call it sharp practice. Whatever it is, Ginnivan drew two free kicks early on in the first term against Hawthorn that at the end of the day proved pivotal to the result.

Y is For You May Never Have Heard of Him: Just 29 games prior to this season, Bailey Banfield has been a vital, yet unheralded contributor to the resurgent Fremantle Dockers, playing in all 12 games in 2022.  Round 12 finally saw Banfield receive credit for all his hard work, with the small forward kicking three goals in the third quarter blitz and four for the game.

Z Is For Zac Attack: In a high-quality contest with many multiple goalkickers, Zac Bailey was a cut above the rest.  Four goals and 22 touches was a dominant display. What was most impressive was Bailey’s ability to beat his man with ease and find a way out of trouble when few others couldn’t. If he wasn’t already rated by fans, today’s game should see a few more seeing how good a player he is.

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