The 2012 season began with the first ever Sydney Derby between the Swans and new AFL club, GWS at ANZ Stadium. The match was a stand-alone round one fixture, and was played a week before the rest of the league commenced the AFL season the followed weekend.
The Swans took out the inaugural Derby by 63 points, and the win was the beginning of a five-match winning streak, which saw the Swans also defeat Fremantle, Port Adelaide, North Melbourne and Hawthorn in the opening five rounds of the 2012 season.
The Swans’ 37-point come-from-behind win over Hawthorn in Launceston was of particular significance, with co-captain Adam Goodes playing his 304th game, to take over former Swan Michael O’Loughlin as the Swans games record holder.
After a rough patch, which saw the Swans fall to Adelaide, Richmond and St Kilda within a four-week period, Sydney bounced back to produce a nine-game winning streak – the longest winning streak the club had produced since moving to the Harbour City – between rounds 10 and 20. Thrilling wins over Essendon and Geelong, and a dominant away win over rivals West Coast in Perth were the highlights of the nine game winning run.
The final four rounds of the season tested the Swans, who came up against top sides Collingwood, Hawthorn and Geelong in the final month of football. Losses to those three sides saw the Swans slip to third on the ladder at the conclusion of the regular season, and set up a Qualifying Final clash with Adelaide at AAMI Stadium.
Led by co-captain Adam Goodes and midfielders Ryan O’Keefe and Josh Kennedy, the Swans burst out of the blocks at AAMI Stadium, and lead from start to finish to claim a historic 29-point win over the Crows, and secure a home Preliminary Final in Sydney a fortnight later. A season-ending hamstring injury to small forward Ben McGlynn was the only dampener of the match for the Swans.
Following the results in the Semi Finals, the Swans took on Collingwood, following the Magpies impressive win over West Coast the week before. Despite losing the last ten contests against Collingwood, Sydney stepped up their game to claim a monumental 26-point win over the Pies, and book their place in the 2012 decider against Hawthorn.
The win over Collingwood was even more memorable as it also marked Swans veteran Jude Bolton’s 300th game, which he celebrated by kicking the final goal of the match to advance the Swans to a place in the Grand Final.
The Swans entered the Grand Final as the underdogs against minor premiers Hawthorn, but the game would prove anything but one-sided. Despite Nick Malceski kicking a stunning goal to open the team’s account at the Punt Road end of the MCG, the Swans trailed in the first quarter but fought back in the second to pile on six unanswered goals to hold a 16-point lead at the long break.
The Swans kicked the opening two goals of the second half to lead by 28 points before the Hawks fought back to trail by just one point at three-quarter time. Hawthorn broke away early in the final term to hold a 12-point lead midway through the final term. But the Swans dug deep again, and final term efforts from Ryan O’Keefe, as well as goals to Dan Hannebery, Kieren Jack, Adam Goodes and the stunning sealer from Malceski resulted in the Swans winning their second premiership in seven years and the fifth ever for the club. The final score was Sydney 14.7 (91) to Hawthorn 11.15 (81) with John Longmire and co-captain Jarrad McVeigh lifting the cup on the MCG after the match.
2012 Grand Final, at MCG, September 29
|Sydney Swans||1.4||7.4||10.5||14.9 (91)|
|Goals: Jack 2, Kennedy 2, Malceski 2, McVeigh 2, Morton 2 ,Goodes, Hannebery, Reid, Roberts-Thomson|
|Best: Hannebery, O'Keefe, Kennedy, McVeigh, Jetta, Goodes|
|B:||Rhyce Shaw||Ted Richards||Martin Mattner|
|HB:||Alex Johnson||Heath Grundy||Nick Smith|
|C:||Lewis Jetta||Kieren Jack||Dan Hannebery|
|HF:||Craig Bird||Sam Reid||Ryan O'Keefe|
|F:||Jarrad McVeigh (Capt.)||Adam Goodes (Capt.)||Lewis Roberts-Thomson|
|Foll:||Shane Mumford||Josh Kennedy||Jude Bolton|
|I/C:||Nick Malceski||Mike Pyke||Mitch Morton|
|Sydney Swans captain Jarrad McVeigh celebrates the final siren of the 2012 Grand Final|