2012 countdown: Top 10 rivalries

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 25 Desember 2012 | 14.43

Geelong players mob Tom Hawkins after the power forward steered the Cats to victory against Hawthorn. Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: Herald Sun

The best pictures of the 2012 AFL season

GEELONG and Hawthorn played out two classics but was the feud between former Collingwood allies Eddie McGuire and Mick Malthouse the biggest rivalry of the season?

Over the next 10 days we'll name the highlights, lowlights and simply strange moments of the year in footy in a countdown of top 10 countdowns.

We kicked off the series last week with the best 10 AFL games of 2012,the top 10 marks, the top 10 goals, the top 10 brain fades and the top 10 individual performances.

Today the countdown continues with the top 10 rivalries of the year.

Did we get it right? Leave a comment below

10. Mullet Wars: Maric v Walker
What started as a bit of fun between ex-teammates quickly turned into one of the most talked about do's in the game. The Mullet Wars, featuring Tiger Ivan Maric and Crow Taylor Walker dominated the headlines, the former claiming line honours with his more rugged, wild man mullet. Big Ivan also fired a shot across Walker's bow during the season, claiming the Crow forward had spent a bit of time "grooming" his look. Maric said his mullet was a long-term proposition. "It hasn't crossed my mind to cut it off…my plan is long term," he told SEN in May.

9. Tom Scully v Melbourne
Melbourne fans did little to hide their disappointment when Demon defector Tom Scully suited up for the first time against his old side as a GWS Giant. Scully was welcomed back onto the hallowed MCG turf with fans holding up money bags and "$cully" and "Juda$" emblazoned banners for the Round 13 clash. But the No.1 draft pick handled himself with aplomb, helping himself to 19 disposals including five tackles in the Giants 78-point loss.

8. Alastair Clarkson v MCG coaches box wall

Frustration got the better of Clarkson when he slammed an open hand through a wall in an MCG coaches box after Hawthorn leaked a late goal to nemesis Collingwood in Round 17. Clarkson was responding to an error which Magpie Chris Tarrant seized upon to cut the margin to 16 points at the first break. The premiership coach put his hand through the wall, leaving a chunk of plaster missing and a gaping hole in his wake. Channel 7 cameras captured Clarkson's wild moment of madness but Mick Malthouse defended the action, saying only those in the caper understood the frustration some player errors caused. Clarkson agreed to fork out the cost of repairs.

FoxSports Source: Fox Sports

FoxSports Source: Fox Sports

7. Clarkson v junior football umpire
Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson copped a reality check in July when he was banned for four weeks after verbally abusing a junior football umpire. The ban stemmed from an incident in which it was alleged Clarkson, who was acting as the runner for his son's U9 team, told a 19-year-old umpire's adviser to "F--- off" when the official told him to stop coaching players on the ground. Clarkson accepted full responsibility and said he had been left humiliated and disappointed by his actions at the South Metro Junior Football League game. "I got myself involved in a situation, with my profile and experience from the game, that I should have known better," he said at the time. "I should have pulled myself out of that situation or handled myself better in that situation." Clarkson will miss the first four games of his son's 2013 SMJFL season.

6. Mick Malthouse v Brett Ratten
Brett Ratten was confident of keeping his job. Mick Malthouse was happy being a media commentator. That was until Carlton did the unthinkable and lost to Gold Coast. The Suns pounced on the Blues, kicking the first six goals of the match, to set up a memorable 12-point victory at Metricon Stadium in Round 22. The shock loss sparked Blues chiefs into a round-table at the Malthouse residence. Days later, Ratten oozed class during his Visy Park swansong, thanking the club for the opportunities it had given him as a player and coach. Two weeks later and Malthouse was endorsed as Blues coach at an at-times fiery press conference. Malthouse remained adamant his first met with the Blues hierarchy after the loss to the Suns, despite speculation the takeover had been on the cards for some time. "There are going to be those naysayers saying that (the first meeting) happened before (last Monday)," he told the media scrum. "I have no doubt there are doubts about that."

5. Hawthorn v Sydney
Hawthorn drew first blood. But Sydney landed the knock out blow as the Swans went on to secure a fourth flag. Ryan O'Keefe starred in both games (Round 22 and Grand Final) with a combined total of 58 disposals, 27 tackles and five goals. Lance Franklin (seven goals in two games) and ball magnet Josh Kennedy (61 possessions, three goals) also made the most of their opportunities. Hawthorn leads the head-to-head ledger 6-4 over the past 10 matches.
4. The Weapon v Essendon player's hamstrings
The Weapon was the talk of Windy Hill during 2012 when the bulk of Essendon's list was cut down by soft-tissue injuries. The Bombers struggled to field their best side for much of the season, with Michael Hurley, Nathan Lovett-Murray and David Zaharakis among the worst affected by hamstring and quadriceps strains. The Bombers had more than 25 soft-tissue injuries for the season, Hurley tweaking his hamstring on three separate occasions.  Despite the apparent crisis, Essendon stuck by its man - the Weapon – writing off the injuries to heavy pre-season workload aimed at preparing the young Bombers for a tilt at the flag.

3. Travis Cloke v Collingwood
It was one of the longest contract negotiations in AFL history. But Collingwood got its man when power forward Travis Cloke inked a new four-year deal worth an estimated $4m. The negotiations coincided with Cloke's dramatic form slump and caused coach Nathan Buckley to accuse the forward of damaging his and the club's "brand". Cloke was sought after by as many as six clubs including Fremantle, Adelaide and Carlton.

2. Hawthorn v Geelong
As far as rivalries go, it doesn't get any bigger than Hawthorn and Geelong. The Hawks have lost nine on-the-trot to the Cats since their shock win in the 2008 Grand Final. Big Cat Tom Hawkins was the difference in 2012. The power forward slotted six against the Hawks in Round 19, including one after the siren for a thrilling two-point victory. Tomahawk was again prominent in Round 2, kicking three goals as the Cats went on to record another two-point win despite trailing the Hawks going into the final change. James Podsiadly stood tall with five goals, while skipper Joel Selwood almost knocked himself out crashing into Hawk Brendan Whitecross' legs late in the game. Kennett's Curse, hoodoo, call it what you like… watch out when these two renew pleasantries in Round 1, 2013.

1. Malthouse v McGuire
Hard to see Mick Malthouse getting a Christmas card from Eddie McGuire after a series of 2012 tongue-lashings between the former Collingwood allies. Malthouse re-ignited the feud after the Magpies Round 3 loss, claiming the players weren't responding to Nathan Buckley's style. McGuire hit back, urging Malthouse to "move on" and "give Bucks a go". The pair also butted heads during the Travis Cloke saga and Brett Ratten's departure from Carlton.

Follow Gilbert Gardiner on Twitter @gilbert0408

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