AFL Round 9 – Hawthorn v Gold Coast: Visions Of Things To Come

Some games are circled in red ink, in November the preceding year with the release of the draw. Ess v Haw…R18…Fri July 26.  Immediately check work commitments. Births, deaths, marriages – cancelled. Disconnect the phone. An event that cannot be missed nor allow for distractions of any nature. If the world is to end it will have to wait, there are more important things to deal with first.

Then you get to games such as those with the new expansion clubs. There is no history or tradition (even Campbell Brown’s departure was amicable).  There was not even the likelihood of a contest if the experts were to be believed. This game hasn’t been circled. It is Round 9 which, on closer inspection, appears to be located between Rounds 8 and 10. Like a small town on a long road to somewhere else, it is to be passed without a sideways glance. There are no blips on the radar, no stories leading to a climax in the media. Barely a ripple on the lake of football consciousness. Even the Almanac gods have not bothered to provide a GC scribe for the game in the unlikely event. The sort of game where a check of the weekend weather predictions can alter plans.

However, the predicted rain earlier in the week doesn’t appear to have materialised so a day at the footy is on. It is very overcast but mild with little more than a minor zephyr blowing the remaining colour off the trees and into piles blocking the gutters, quite pleasant really. Parking the car off Smith St in Fitzroy – saving $10 and the interest of parking inspectors – it is a relaxing stroll through this bohemian suburb of artist types sipping an array of beverages, oblivious to what is occurring in the Colosseum down the road.

Not until I cross Victoria Parade do a spy a few dabbles of brown and gold. A few families with with little Buddy’s and Cyril’s in tow. More of a Sunday family outing than a fight to the death. Inside the G it is not hard to find a seat although it was hard to find a Suns supporter – they huddled in a small but enthusiastic enclave at the city end. There looked to be about 20-22,000 patrons as the game got underway, and as always the official figure of 28,000 seemed at odds with the visual surrounds.

The Hawks appear to be resting players as general soreness has struck down another victim, Birchall replaced late by Cheney. No problem, it’s not tanking if you’re winning and I had Hartlett on the bench in my Supercoach side and that was now a guaranteed 94 points. That was about the severity of analysis of a late change for this game. Ninety seconds in and first gamer Grimley (the son of a Fitzroy player from the 80’s) marks and kicks a goal with his first kick. The plan, if it had a script, was going accordingly. Polite clapping all round and Hawks supporters still giving Tom Murphy a hard time.

The signs are worrying though. Handballs and kicks are missing targets. This is what coaches call intensity and whatever intensity is, it is not here. The little number 9 for GC is setting up another polling game for the Brownlow – he does have intensity. So does number 33, his name is Hall according to the scoreboard and he is finding space along with intensity. Campbell Brown is firing and strutting simultaneously. Buddy is not helped by poor delivery but he is being shut down by a very promising Rory Thompson, and when he does gain possession he is finding everything other than the goals – don’t worry about barn doors, he didn’t look like connecting with aircraft hanger doors.

Gold Coast’s enthusiasm and Hawthorn’s lacklustre game has resulted in an 11 point deficit by the long break, which stretches to 17 early in the 3rd term. The polite clapping had long ceased and critical analysis was taking place in the stands. The run and spread that the Hawks are known for is in evidence, but it is being executed by the Suns. Then, as good sides are capable of doing, Hawthorn found the next 6 goals. Mitchell dominated across half back, Simpkin was prolific, Hodge, Roughy, Gibson, Lake, Hill, Buddy, Bailey and Burgoyne all came to the fore and the die was set. The last quarter was always just a touch to far for the Suns as the game petered out to a tame end that will create no headlines in tomorrow’s papers but has shown a Suns side that will become a formidable opponent sooner rather than later.

It ended up a harmless day, just as it had started. 4 regulation points locked away and no injuries. Even with a big scare, when the shuffling through the autumn leaves back through the Fitzroy Gardens on the way home was more enjoyable than the game it will be a while before this fixture becomes circled in red ink.

Best

3 Sam Mitchell (outstanding all day, only behind Ablett for BOG honours)

2 Jonathon Simpkin (prolific trier)

1 Shaun Burgoyne (silky)

Comments

  1. Armin, wanted nothing more than for those Suns to continue their form in the second half, knowing the Hawks would turn it on. They’re surprising everyone this year – those forecasts of future dominance may well come true.

  2. I agree Cookie, the Suns were great. They play an exciting attacking brand of football which is good to watch. It was the lackluster Hawks in the first half that was disappointing. The game itself never reached any great heights as the Hawks appeared to play conservatively early and then did what they had to to win the match. I think the Suns are becoming my second team.

  3. Tasman Hughes says:

    The Suns will be in the finals next year. Laugh if you want, but these boys are on the rise, like their mascot is in the morning.

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