While the AFL is on COVID-19 hiatus, David Schout is reliving some of the most notable upsets and bad beats over the years. This week, a high-scoring affair from 2012.

North Melbourne and Geelong were due to face off this weekend, in what would have been Round 11 of the 2020 AFL season. And while we’re still a fortnight away from the season recommencing post the COVID break, we’re sifting through the archives to find clashes from the past that surprised both bookies and punters alike.


North Melbourne had finished one spot outside the AFL finals in both 2010 and 2011 – the first two seasons of Brad Scott’s coaching tenure. And while Scott was awarded a contract extension at the beginning of 2012, there was pressure from fans to deliver. His side started the season with a two-point loss to rivals Essendon (after ruckman Hamish McIntosh narrowly missed an after-the-siren shot at goal), followed by a 129-point thumping of GWS. But Round 3 would be the real marker on where Scott’s list was at. The Roos had lost their previous seven clashes against Geelong, and hadn’t tasted victory over them since 2007.

The Cats, by contrast, were the AFL’s golden boys in early 2012. Having won three of the last five flags, Brad’s twin brother Chris was overseeing one of modern footy’s best sides. And having just lost an Easter Monday thriller to the Hawks, they were keen to reassert their dominance on the competition.


Unsurprisingly, Geelong started as strong $1.23 favourites despite being away from home. The Kangaroos started as $4.20 outsiders, with some bookies giving them as much as a 32.5-point head-start in the handicap markets.

‘Slick, fast, skilful’

North Melbourne got the early jump, booting the first three goals through Ryan Bastinac, Aaron Edwards and Liam Anthony. A James Podsiadly major steadied things for the Cats, but another one from the Roos (through Lindsay Thomas) gave them a 20-point quarter-time lead.

The second quarter was more even, with both sides trading blows on the scoreboard but despite the efforts from the reigning premiers, Brad Scott’s side maintained a 21-point lead at the main break. Pre-game, North were $8 with the bookies to lead at both half-time and full-time in AFL markets.

Maintaining the rage

Edwards bagged his third to start proceedings in the second half before youngster Jack Ziebell and Ryan Bastinac (who both finished with four) got in on the act. By the final change of ends, North Melbourne had extended their lead to 36 points, which was furthered when Bastinac kicked the first of the last term. Geelong, as they always did, threatened in the final stages but it was too little, too late, the Kangaroos running out 17-point victors. The 131-114 scoring (total points 245) far exceeding the pre-game line of 198.5 set by the bookies.

Final Score

Round 3 of the 2012 AFL season, April 15

North Melbourne    4.5   9.5  16.8  20.11  (131)  def

Geelong                         1.3   5.8  9.14  16.18  (114)

NM: Edwards Bastinac Ziebell 4, Adams McInstosh 2, Anthony Harper Harvey Thomas

GEEL: Podsiadly 5, Hawkins 4, Motlop 2, Byrnes Duncan Gillies Horlin-Smith Taylor

Brownlow Votes: 3 Jack Ziebell (NM), 2 Brent Harvey (NM), 1 Michael Firrito (NM)