4.30pm on Friday night and it’s pouring rain with howling winds as we leave my home near Colac. Off to the Hawthorn v Collingwood final with Boonie. I met Boonie,our diminutive second XI keeper, for the first time during the last cricket pre-season. We quickly bonded over our mutual love of Collingwood, cricket statistics and Batman. A great addition to a cricket club dominated by Geelong supporters. On the way I am worried about our seats, they are out in the open and the weather is not good. Forward pocket, Ponsford Stand, 14 rows from the fence. According to Ticketek they were the best availalable at 9.02AM on Monday. But by the time we pass the Little River turnoff the roads are dry, the wind has dropped. Good for our seats, maybe not for the Pies who will need all the help they can get tonight against the rampaging Hawks.
We take our seats near where Collingwood run out, right behind the banner. Eddie’s on the boundary in front of us clapping the boys as they run out, to our right we can see the formidable presence of Joffa. Hawthorn dominate the early stages but don’t score the games first goal until Hodge slots one through. Wellingham replies almost instantly at our end to get the cheer squad going. Hawthorn get away to be 15 points up at quarter time. Tarrant and Franklin look like they’re constantly at it up the other end, looking forward to seeing them up close in the second quarter.
The Pies play their best footy in the second half of the second quarter and hit the front with 4 minutes remaining in the half after 3 goals in a row to Wellingham, Shaw and Krakouer. Jolly is dominating the ruck, Pendlebury and Swan are clearing the ball, I’m feeling we can win this. Smith goals for the Hawks then shortly after Hale goals after a contentious free and the Hawks are 11 points up. A policeman walks down the aisle past us checking the crowd. Line of the night from the (I presume) Pies fan near us who yells out “don’t worry about us mate, you should be investigating the three crooks in green out on the ground”. The copper laughs, obviously he’s been watching too. Buddy goals after the siren, he is just starting to come in to the game after being out-niggled by Tarrant. 18 points down at the long break.
Third quarter starts and Cloke gets a free right in front of goal. Only to be immediately stripped of it for a free to Franklin in the middle of the ground against Tarrant for the same sort of niggle they let go for the entire first half. Hawthorn goals soon after then Cloke gets his second. But the Hawks look a class ahead of us. Mitchell is playing a blinder and Gibson is killing us playing loose in defence. Where is his man? If he doesn’t have one who is our loose man? Cannot answer either question. Our best clearing defender Shaw is playing up forward alot while Johnson and Toovey turn the ball over down back. We need two Heath Shaws. A late Cloke goal sees us 24 points down at three quarter time. Still in it but tough against this quality of opposition. A nervous Boonie decides he needs a drink at the last break. The $9.80 he paid for his scotch and coke in a plastic cup is nearly as expensive as the Pies turnovers coming out of the backline.
Four straight goals to the Hawks to start the last quarter and it’s all over. Mitchell and Breust are slaughtering us. Jolly is beating Hale in the ruck but Hale is doing more around the ground. Franklin and Hodge getting late stats. Cloke and Krakouer keep kicking goals. If I was told before the game that Cloke and Krakouer would kick 10 between them I would have been confident of a win. But Hawthorn are in a different league tonight. Their fans near us know it as they start singing the Hawthorn song halfway through the last quarter. Some Pies fans left early but Boonie and I stay until the bitter end. At least it hardly rained. I was disappointed with the result but expected the Hawks to be tough to beat. Was proud of the effort the Pies put in, we hit them hard but were outclassed. After watching West Coast demolish North next week will be just as tough. With a bit of luck we might get undercover seats on the wing. Just in case it rains.
Recorded the game with a view to watching when I got home, but as it was 1.30 am and we lost just hit delete and went to bed.