Round 1 – Hawthorn v Melbourne: Just glad it’s footy season

By Steve Healy

Some people don’t like footy. Other people do, but only to the extent of watching the odd game on TV and going to the odd game every season. There are some passionate ones, who know their stuff most of the time but are wondering who this new number 41 is running out in their team’s jumper for the first time. But I don’t fall into any of those categories. I’m a few levels above. The same goes for Damo, my Carlton-supporting friend who is going to the game with me today.

The new season means so much to me, and other Melbourne supporters, and other supporters in general. I’m just happy to be donning the Melbourne Guernsey for the first real time this year. The new season brings hope, or does it? Why do we always hear this? Is it only because a team can’t have a bad record when they are 0-0? I confuse myself with all these “what ifs” as I wait for Damo outside Richmond station.

After a terrible attempt from Damo to convince the ticket seller that he was born in 1995 (instead of 1994) to save about eleven dollars, we settle into the first level at the Punt Rd End, adjacent to the Melbourne cheer squad, but still around a fair few Hawthorn fans. I have brought my footy, knowing that there’s an opportunity to have a kick on the ground afterwards (courtesy of Jimmy Stynes). Damo and I have an interesting conversation in the lead up to the opening bounce, of course with a Herald Sun V The Age argument here and there. Motorcycles fly left, right and centre in the lead up to the opening bounce, which is a new sight.

I warn Damo that Scully and Trengove will have no first-game nerves and the Hawks will get up in a close one. After Davey and Green kicked the first two behinds of the match, I am unconvinced that we will take it to the Hawks. Renouf is losing the hit outs to Jamar, but shows no signs of fatigue as the only Hawthorn ruckman. Osborne bangs one home from 50, Roughead marks and goals, elevated rookie Graham Moss kicks two in the first quarter alone, and the other first gamer for the Dees James Strauss (second year player) shows no awareness which results in a goal to Brown, who is playing permanently as a forward today in the absence of Buddy (and doing a fine job too, giving up 15 centimetres on Frawley). The score of 0.3 3 to 6.3 39 haunts me as I look scoreboard-ward, and Damo shows no sorrow (did I mention he barracks for Carlton) and tries to choke me with my Melbourne scarf. Brad Green also gets stretchered off, but it doesn’t look too serious, hopefully he can return.

The Red and Blue fans are in a state of shock, but at the same time, did they expect anything more? The second quarter is all the same, except the Hawks are a bit more inaccurate at the start. Hodge kicks one, who is playing a blinder, Campbell Brown kicks his second, and Carl Peterson is making an impact in his first game for the Hawks. Looking at him reminds me of Jurrah. Finally, the Dees get their first, through a set shot from Jamar, who just sneaks it through. Ladson gets one in the Hawks (who is also playing well in his first game in a while) and Peterson marks outside the 50, takes a bounce, and delivers it home. The Dees trail, 1.6 12 to 10.8 68 at half time. I have nothing more to say.

And the onslaught continues… Brown dribbles through his third, Morton kicks a goal (at least the Dees have the better Morton), and Rhan Hooper enhances his brown and gold baptism with two attractive goals. I feel like I am seeing the Demons against Hawthorn two years ago again, or against Geelong in Round 19 of the same year. I finally get a chance to cheer when Green (who just came back on the ground) gets a toe on a ball bouncing goal ward. A couple of misses from Hawthorn follow, including one from Roughead, who doesn’t have his kicking boots on today. Miller kicks the Dees third, a similar one to Green, and now the Melbourne faithful are shouting as one (only joking). Roughead kicks his second, Joel MacDonald misses an easy shot in his first game for the Dees, and things still aren’t improving all that much. Green kicks his second, and is making a case as best player for the Dees, despite being off the ground for almost the entire first half. The margin’s still 71 points at three quarter time (4.9 33 to 15.14 104), and the talk between me and Damo turns to whether the Demons can finish by less than 56 points to avoid last spot and give the Blues first spot, so it’s a win for both of us if it happens.

It is clear in the final term that the Hawks aren’t taking the game with 100% intensity any more. As a result, the Dees get a few cheap goals, including two in a row from Petterd, who has had good hands all day. Mitchell gets a goal for the Hawks, and the margin is stretched out to 71. The Hawks startle to a halt in the final few minutes, allowing the Demons to kick 2.3, including a good goal from Jordie McKenzie, who was elevated from the rookie list. After the siren, Ricky Petterd misses to put the Blues on top and the Dees off the bottom, which is the highlight of the day. The siren sounds, and the fans await an entrance on to the MCG.

The Dees made a shocking selection choice today- playing Jake Spencer instead of Stefan Martin. This move should well have been done, with Spencer finishing with just two possessions and seven hit outs. Hodge was easily the best on ground.

On my way home, I notice that the local footy ground has its goal posts in place. I grab my footy out of my bag, run along the boundary line, and shank it from a fair distance out. The strong right to left breeze just brings the ball inside the far goal post after a bounce or two. It was an ugly goal, but in a way it was a better kick than many that were shown at the MCG today. I’m just glad that it’s the season.

Melbourne 0.3 1.6 4.9 8.13 (61)

Hawthorn: 6.3 10.8 15.14 17.15 (117)

Goals

Melbourne: Miller 2, Petterd 2, Green 2, McKenzie, Jamar.

Hawthorn: Roughead 3, Brown 3, Moss 2, Osborne 2, Hooper 2, Peterson, Morton, Hodge, Mitchell, Ladson.

Best

Melbourne: No one worthy

Hawthorn: Everyone

My Votes: 3. Luke Hodge (HAW), 2. Sam Mitchell (HAW), 1. Campbell Brown (HAW).

Umpires: Stewart, McLaren, Kamolins.                Crowd: 45,615

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.

Comments

  1. Melbourne: No one worthy

    Hawthorn: Everyone

    What about Brad Green? He was worthy I believe.

    And about the Jake Spencer and Stefan Martin selection debacle, I believe Melbourne were tanking..

  2. Oh and good report too, there’s always next week..

  3. Steve Healy says:

    Thanks mate.

    I didn’t think Green was worthy in the end, I wasn’t really happy with everyone’s performance, and looking at Hawthorn’s team, I couldnt spot anyone who did wrong.

    Tanking is out of the equation this year, but I just hope we dont win a 3rd wooden spoon

  4. Graham Moss?

  5. Damian Watson says:

    Yeah great report Steve,

    I have to apologise for that attempt to pay for a junior ticket, well it was worth a try.

    The senior players like Miller and Davey were the key factors in that loss they didn’t impose themselves on the contest leading into a relatively quiet afternoon.

  6. Steve, a good report. For mine, the Hawks were slick and the Dees were plain awful. However, Melbourne did show there is a future of some sort with the youngsters they had out on the paddock. There is some hope for you lot. I think the problem lies with the more senior players. They remind me of those Richmond players of the late ’90s / early noughties who all had great skill and experience (and trendy haircuts) but not much passion or genuine leadership, it appeared.

  7. Steve Healy says:

    4- Oh, I knew you’d point that out!!!! lol, I was already told about that mistake by someone.

    I agree Damo, our seniors players let us down extremely, not a good start to the season.

    Thanks Sasha, the only senoir players that are on field leaders really are McDonald, Moloney and Green.

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