K rock Football

GFL Grand Final Rankings: 2010-19

St Joseph’s celebrates its 2017 premiership win. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Marcel Berens)

In a decade of grand finals in country Victoria’s premier competition, which ones lived up to expectation, and which ones didn’t?

We rank them 10-1.

10/ ‬2012 – South Barwon def. Bell Park by 51 points

Bell Park, which had come from fifth to play in the grand final, was no match for the Swans at the peak of their powers. It was the third consecutive decider between the clubs, and fourth in six seasons. The Dragons kicked eight goals, but South Barwon star Clinton Wells booted seven as he claimed best-on-ground honours, a seventh premiership medal and helped exact some small revenge for letting the 2011 flag slip from its grasp.

SOUTH BARWON  5.2, 7.4, 12.7, 17.9 (111)

BELL PARK  3.4, 4.6, 5.8, 8.12 (60)

Goals: South Barwon: C. Wells 7, J. Westwood 5, T. Richards 2, D. Kee, T. Maas, I. Baker

Bell Park: J. Graham 2, T. Sheringham, B. Johnson, L. Kennedy, N. Batchelor, J. Rock, B. Armstrong

Best: South Barwon: C. Wells, B. Raidme, A. Wiseman, J. Westwood, M. Fisher, P. Corrigan

Bell Park: J. O’Connor, T. Sheringham, B. Kennedy, N. Batchelor, B. Armstrong, J. Bright


9/ ‬2010 – South Barwon def. Bell Park by 25 points

The first of three consecutive grand finals between the Swans and Dragons never reached any great heights. Luke Buckland starred for South Barwon, which trailed by five points at half-time after a slow start. However, it was Paul Sullivan who claimed best-on-ground honours, becoming just the second player after Newtown & Chilwell great Basil Flynn to win the award in consecutive years after starring against St Joseph’s in 2009.

SOUTH BARWON  2.1, 4.4, 8.9, 11.14 (80)

BELL PARK  2.3, 4.9, 6.10, 7.13 (55)

Goals: South Barwon: L. Buckland 2, C. Wells 2, C. Tutungi 2, M. Corrigan 2, M. McKee, S. Stavenuiter, J. Mawson

Bell Park: J. Bright 2, T. Sheringham, K. Bucovaz, C. Hallam, D. Lowther, N. Batchelor

Best: South Barwon: L. Buckland, P. Sullivan, M. Corrigan, A. Biemans, C. Tutungi, A. Wiseman

Bell Park: T. Sheringham, T. Couch, J. Graham, D. Talbot, N. Batchelor, L. Anderson


8/ 2017 – St Joseph’s defeated St Mary’s by 63 points

After being dispatched by their arch-rival in the second semi-final (first loss of the season), Joeys dominated after quarter time to hand St Mary’s the most significant GF loss of the decade. A second best-on-ground medal in three years was the perfect farewell for veteran defender Daniel Lovick, while Ben Capra found himself a niche as an undersized ruckman.

ST JOSEPH’S 18.16 (124)

ST MARY’S  9.7 (61)

Goals: St Joseph’s: L. Featherstone 3, B. Moloney 3, J. Davis 3, J. McLachlan 2, K. Paliouras 2, R. Ferguson, B. Haintz, C. Mitchell, J. Macula, A. Hickey

St Mary’s: S. Dobson 3, T. Gillies 2, J. Garner 2, P. Killen, J. Blood

Best: St Joseph’s: D. Lovick, B. Capra, B. Moloney, B. McNamara, L. Featherstone, C. Mitchell

St Mary’s: R. Hall, A. Banjanin, J. Garner, Z. Sherman, S. Dobson, D. McMahon


7/ 2014 – Colac def. Leopold by 49 points

The Tigers become the first team to win the GFL premiership from the elimination final. They kicked 17 goals to seven after quarter time. Marcus Crook won the best-on-ground medal, but Jarryd Garner, who kicked four goals, was the star as Colac turned the game in the second quarter.

COLAC  2.2, 10.5, 16.9, 19.14 (128)

LEOPOLD  4.7, 6.9, 10.10, 11.13 (79)

Goals: Colac: J. Garner 4, J. Linton 3, J. Carmody 3, M. Buchanan 2, K. Newton, K. Leersen, L. Veale, K. Smartt, M. Crook, J. McGuane

Leopold: M. Patten 3, S. Close 2, J. Tom 2, G. Hardy 2, J. Walker, M. Thompson

Best: Colac: J. Garner, A. Adams, J. Dare, M. Buchanan, M. Crook, L. Simpkin

Leopold: T. Ruggles, M. Thompson, B. Howarth, M. Pitt, J. Larcombe, M. Patten


6/ 2016 – Leopold def. St Mary’s by 36 points

In their 25th GFL season, the Polders finally reach the top of the mountain. Captain Jai Thompson, who had been injured early in the loss to Colac two years earlier, was inspirational and took home the best-on-ground medal. However, Brandon Howarth’s six goals were the difference as Leopold overcame a 12-point deficit at half-time. Teenage ruckman Jack Berry was also brilliant in his battle with the experienced Andrew Banjanin. The win meant so much to the Lions they wrote a book about it.

LEOPOLD 3.4, 4.5, 8.7, 14.9 (93)

ST MARY’S  2.2, 6.5, 7.7 8.9 (57)

Goals: Leopold: B. Howarth 6, L. Wagener 2, M. Patten, N. Bourke, A. Moloney, B. Carmichael, G. Hardy

St Mary’s: Z. Sherman 2, C. Jones, B. Dobson, T. Gillies, J. Garner, J. Eddy, T. Lang

Best: Leopold: J. Thompson, B. Howarth, D. Keast, J. Berry, A. Moloney, J. Lothian

St Mary’s: C. Jones, R. Hall, J. Welsh, H. Kol, D. McMahon, N. Connors


5/ 2013 – South Barwon def. Grovedale by 20 points 

The Tigers’ first GFL Grand Final appearance wasn’t a match for the ages. However, it will be forever remembered for the emotion that flowed post-siren as Swans co-coach Casey Tutungi received his medal three months after being left a quadriplegic in an on-field accident. While the margin was only 16 points at three-quarter time, those at Kardinia Park that afternoon knew there was only going to be one winner. Captaining South Barwon at just 23, Anthony Biemans was a deserving winner of the best-on-ground medal.

SOUTH BARWON  4.2, 5.8, 9.11, 13.16 (94)

GROVEDALE  3.0, 4.1, 8.1, 12.2 (74)

Goals: South Barwon: C. Wells 3, D. Hansen 3, J. Duncan 2, T. Richards, M. Herbison, J. Edwards, J. Westwood, M. McKee

Grovedale: J. Erskine 3, A. Donohue 2, R. Abbott 2, M. Costello, C. Young, A. Gubbins, M. Smith, L. Hogan

Best: South Barwon: A. Biemans, J. Kerby, P. Hardy, M. Herbison, T. Stewart, T. Maas

Grovedale: J. Young, B. Percy, A. Gubbins, N. Deans, R. Hall, R. Abbott


4/ 2015 – St Joseph’s def. Newtown & Chilwell by 18 points

Eagles’ spearhead Luke Forbes fired with six goals against his former club, but Dale Carson’s five-goal third-quarter cameo after being swung from defence to attack turned the game on its head as Joeys ended 26 years of heartache. Trailing by 24 points early in the third quarter, St Joseph’s coach Heath Jamieson had to do something to change his team’s fortunes. The Carson moved proved to be the catalyst. Daniel Lovick capped off his return from a stint in the Goulburn Valley league with best-on-ground honours. The Eagles were brave in defeat having come from fifth to reach their first decider in a decade.

ST JOSEPH’S  3.3, 4.6, 11.12, 13.15 (93)

NEWTOWN & CHILWELL  1.2, 7.6, 8.6, 11.9 (75)

Goals: St Joseph’s: D. Carson 5, P. Carson 2, D. Gibbs 2, J. Macula, R. Williams, A. Hickey, J. Davis

Newtown & Chilwell: L. Forbes 6, T. House, D. McFarlane, D. Feery, M. Condy, J. Sheahan

Best: St Joseph’s: D. Lovick, D. Gibbs, D. Carson, L. Howe, R. Kershaw, J. Macula

Newtown & Chilwell: D. Feery, L. Forbes, M. McMahon, P. Hinkley, R. Condy, T. Brow


‪3/ 2018 – St Joseph’s def. St Mary’s by 9 points

Best-on-ground ‘Super’ Joe Macula willed Joeys to victory and the club’s first back-to-back flags after they trailed at every change and by as much as 22 points early in the third quarter. Braint Haintz was also outstanding in the crucial final quarter. For St Mary’s, it became the first club to lose three consecutive GFL grand finals. In what was his last game for the club, Sam Dobson kicked five goals after returning from Geelong VFL duty.

ST JOSEPH’S  4.2, 4.4, 9.6, 13.8 (86)

ST MARY’S  4.3, 6.8, 10.8, 11.11 (77)

Goals: St Joseph’s: J. Davis 3, B. Haintz 2, A. Hickey 2, R. Ferguson 2, B. Rees, J. Macula, C. Tudor, L. Anderson

St Mary’s: S. Dobson 5, J. Garner 2, H. Benson, P. Dowling, D. Bond, Z. Sherman

Best: St Joseph’s: J. Macula, B. McNamara, D. Measures, A. Hickey, B. Haintz, R. Ferguson

St Mary’s: S. Dobson, J. Garner, R. Hall, H. Kol, H. McMahon, J. Blood


‪2/ 2011 – Bell Park def. South Barwon by 6 points

On a beautiful spring afternoon, the Dragons overcome 27-point three-quarter time deficit. Charlie Hallam claimed the best-on-ground medal, but veteran defender Dean Talbot kept them in it. Bell Park coach John Fitzgerald, who had taken South Barwon to its maiden GFL premiership ten years earlier, didn’t miss his former club in his post-match speech. Wearing No,56, and playing just his 15th senior game, an 18-year-old named Tom Stewart was among the goalkickers for the Swans.

BELL PARK  3.3, 4.4, 5.8, 11.12 (78)

SOUTH BARWON  4.1, 7.2, 10.5, 11.6 (72)

Goals: Bell Park: J. Bright 2, C. Hallam 2, L. Kennedy 2, J. Sheringham 2, J. Graham, M. Bright, T. Couch

South Barwon: J. Westwood 3, I. Baker 3, J. Westwood 2, C. Wells 2, T. Stewart

Best: Bell Park: C. Hallam, D. Talbot, J. Bright, M. Cuthill, B. Kennedy, L. Kennedy

South Barwon: C. Tutungi, L. Buckland, J. Kerby, B. Weadon, J. Westwood, P. Corrigan


1/ 2019 – St Mary’s def. Colac by 2 points

Nick Connors was ‬the hero with a late long goal in a gripping contest that the Saints nearly kicked themselves out of with early inaccuracy. Andrew Banjanin’s final piece of ruck work absolute genius as St Mary’s, which had snuck into the finals with a last-round win over Leopold, narrowly avoided a fourth-straight grand final defeat in Glenn Keast’s 200th game as a GFL coach. Ben Moloney, who had copped plenty of grief for choosing the Saints over St Joseph’s, where he played in a premiership in 2017, after calling time on his VFL career, had his decision vindicated in being named best-on-ground.

ST MARY’S  3.7, 5.8, 8.10, 10.14 (74)

COLAC  0.0, 2.5, 6.10, 10.12 (72)

Goals: St Mary’s: D. Bond 4, J. Blood 2, J. Travaglini 2, B. Moloney, N. Connors

Colac: J. McGuane 2, A. Garner 2, K. Spokes, C. Stephens, A. Walters, T. Woodmason, L. Gorwell, J. Simpkin

Best: St Mary’s: N. Connors, T. McMullan, B. Moloney, P. Dowling, D. Bond, A. Banjanin

Colac: Z. Zdybel, J. McCormack, D. Felekos, R. Monaghan, T. Woodmason, E. Floyd