Don’t worry Chappy, there’s no chance of that!

By Sasha Lennon

I read this morning that Geelong star Paul Chapman says he’s still hurting from the 2008 Grand Final loss to Hawthorn, so much so that he has vowed “never again” will the Cats lose to the Hawks on that biggest of days.

Well let me be the first one to offer you comfort Chappy – I don’t think you’ll have to worry too much about that!

While the Cats have won their first four games of the season (one better than the Hawks), the doubters remain.  The reason is simple – the Cats are doing it, to use an old Hawthorn expression, ‘the hard way’.

Geelong and Hawthorn will next meet on the Easter Monday clash at the MCG.

Chappy reckons the Cats are pumped to beat their nemesis and points to Geelong’s four consecutive wins over the Hawks since the 2008 decider to back his confident stance.

This may be so, but while the Cats are winning tough matches, they’re doing it in fifth gear and at full pace.  The Hawks by comparison are sitting in second, occasionally shifting gear to third or fourth when needed.

Geelong edged out the Saints by a point in Round 1 followed by an 11-point win over Fremantle, a 79 point thrashing of Port Adelaide (well done) and a 27-point win against a tough Sydney Swans outfit.  Each match has been a battle and without superstar Gary Ablett, the ageing and slowing Ling, Wojcinski, Johnson, Mooney, Scarlett, Chapman and Ottens are having to earn their keep at a rate they’ve not experienced for years, if ever before.

Its hard work for the Cats and hard work is even harder to sustain.

Hawthorn has recruited well the past two years.  The likes of the talented Burgoyne, Bruce, Gibson and Hale have added much-needed skill and experience to the revitalised Mitchell, Hodge, Young, Lewis and Sewell plus the ever-improving Rioli and the freakish Franklin.

The Hawks also have a fine list of ‘second-tier’ players, if you can call them that, in Osborne, Ladson, Birchall and Gilham plus a company of young players such as Shane Savage and (the now injured) Ben Stratton who have made impressive starts to their careers.

The Hawthorn of 2011 has regained the grunt and the firepower that the Cats once had.

On Easter Monday, Hawthorn will need to use its talent and its hardness, occasionally moving up a gear or two to overcome the still-dangerous Cats.  My tip is that when they do, a comfortable win will result for the brown and gold.

The same can’t be said come September.  While the Hawks will most likely be fighting Collingwood for the silverware, Ling and his men will be watching from the stands.

So Chappy, don’t worry about the prospect of Hawthorn defeating Geelong in a Grand Final re-match.  There’s no chance of that!

Sasha Lennon is a Brisbane-based Knacker whose writing can be found at http://sashasoapbox.blogspot.com/

Comments

  1. John Butler says:

    Sasha, arguing with the commandments of Chappy may be akin to heresy on this site.

    A very bold decision Minister.

  2. lee donovan says:

    sorry Sasha but if I were a Hawks supporter the alarm bells would be ringing -a slender win over the eagles and a loss to Adelaide is hardly good form .When Hawthorn lost the final at Subiaco last year they looked far too slow -not much has changed -all you have to do is stop Buddy and you stop Hawthorn. On the other hand Geelong are winning well against solid opposition with away wins in Perth and Sydney.The away win in Perth was gutsy against a side that will finish higher on the ladder than the Hawks

  3. Peter Flynn says:

    Geelong’s cunning plan is to play the game on the Tuesday.

    I don’t think Collingwood or Essendon will welcome the Hawks on Easter Monday.

  4. Good point Peter, I will be sure to let them know they should show up to the ground on Tuesday. Cheers

  5. johnharms says:

    These words remind me so much of Jeff Kennett’s outburst on Offsiders in early-season 2009 when he mozzed Hawthorn magnificently. Will be an interesting match on Tuesday, and an interesting season to see who makes the 8, the 4 and then the prelims. Very hard to say where Hawthorn fits in to all that, but no doubt once the influence of Hale and Bruce kicks in they’ll be elevated to premiership favourites.

  6. I’m hoping Jeff will keep quiet. Not much chance of that. Perhaps he’ll continue to criticise the Hawthorn players. Very good chance of that.

  7. Sasha,

    I was told by a person who has been an AFL watcher of about 4 decades that they noted at Saturday’s Hawks game that he had never seen so many Hawks players hop out of the way.

    This must be a new game plan. We need to monitor it I suppose. We don’t want Chappy catching that soft plague.

  8. Stainless says:

    Sasha

    An intriguingly provocative post given that Geelong has beaten Hawthorn at every meeting since that fateful day in 2008. Despite looking well below par on most of these occasions, these have been the sort of “gritted teeth” wins that absolutely support Chappy’s comments.

    I’ve been most impressed with Geelong so far in 2011. Sure, their wins have been high-effort, but they’ve had two excellent interstate wins and brushed Port Adelaide aside with ease at home. I made the mistake of tipping against them at the SCG and will not be doing so again for a while. Sydney threw the kitchen sink at them in the first quarter. Geelong paused, tweaked the game plan and more than matched the home side’s intensity from thereon. Solid effort.

    Hawthorn is one of those mercurial sides that regularly brings tipsters undone. They are brilliant at their best but they only show their full potential on fleeting occasions. What I saw of them against West Coast looked very much like Geelong in the 2010 Prelim final – desperately clinging to a quick-fire handball game, assuming they’d eventually work it into space, but finding their opponent’s pressure was too great. I can’t see that approach working against the Cats.

  9. Hawthorn lost to Adelaide (11th in 2010) after holding a five goal lead (Adelaide haven’t won since), beat Melbourne (12th in 2010) after trailing at half time, beat Richmond (15th in 2010) comfortably and held on against West Coast (16th in 2010) at fortress Aurora.

    Geelong defeated St Kilda (2010 runner-up), Fremantle (6th in 2010) at Subiaco, Sydney (5th in 2010) at SCG and smashed Port at home.

    I know which is the more convincing formline.

  10. Rick Kane says:

    Hi Sasha

    Well said, I agree with your analysis.

    Several times in each game this year the Hawks have looked as good as it gets. Yes, even in the Adelaide loss. Against WC they struggled to take control of the game but when they did (in the first 15 mins of the last quarter) they turned it on. Buddy is great but so are Cyril and King Colac.

    The Cats have been the standard bearers of the flow on game for the last few years. Would you have a Pies style if not for the Cats? However, it was late last year, when the Cats played the Blues at Docklands that I first noticed how they had slowed. Having admired them greatly, it was a sad dawning. Of course they will continue to play well, they’re that good. But injuries to key players will increase during the year, as the season turns. And the better sides will find ways to break those old warriors game plan down.

    How good are the Hawks this year? I reckon next Tuesday’s game will tell us plenty. And I reckon the Cats and Hawks will both be 4-1 after Round 5. Go the Mighty’s

    Cheers

  11. Mulcaster says:

    Is it too much to hope for a low scoring draw with heaps of injuries?

  12. You certainly have an attitude problem, Mulcaster.

  13. 10#,

    you wouldn’t like a chocolate frog on that would you Rick?

  14. Keep on dreaming; Cats are headed for the pointy end. Don’t think we’re as good as Collingwood however, not that the Hawks anything on them are either.

    Certainly won’t see us struggling against the Eagles at home.

  15. Rick Kane says:

    #13: Phantom, not to show my age and or how far removed I am from the zeitgeist, but when you say “chocolate frog” I’m assuming you mean a Freddo. If so, I’ll take your bet good man. If not, I’ll take your bet anyways.

    The Cats have beaten the Hawks four times since the 2008 GF, by 8,1, 9 and 2 points. This, in seasons, where through injury and loss of direction, the Hawks were not on top of their game. That hardly proves the case that Geelong has the wood over Hawthorn.

    I would say, in the last 5 years, the two teams have played some great games. I’m hoping Tuesday’s game is equal to the best of their recent form against each other and that the Hawks come out on top. And not just for the sake of a chocolate frog!

    Cheers

  16. Mulcaster says:

    This is an Attitude:

  17. Mulcaster says:

    PS

    You go girl!!!

  18. Yes Rick,

    I don’t bet all that often and I am down to Freddos because I got burned last year by a Hawks supporter who still hasn’t paid the last Chokito (two in one year).

    It should travel to Tassie well in the post as it is quite chilly here now.

    Don’t leave the country.

  19. Yes I remember that Mulcaster. She was a dumb twit and deserved the comment but replied well all the same.

    I was once at a place where a bloke rushed through his meal and lit up a lung buster, puffed away and then stubbed the but out in the left over roast.

    The lady beside him picked up the gravy boat and poured it over his head. Nice work.

  20. Mulcaster says:

    Oh Ghost who walks…that out does any social atrocity perpetrated by me or in my presence.

  21. I agree sasha
    #5, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the year goes.
    The mayblooms will finish in front of the handbag carriers.
    But class takes you a long way on a greyound bus, in football and horse racing.

    The Mayblooms do have class go through their list Rioli, Franklin, Mitchell, Hodge .

    I’m sure in a hypothetical situation if those four lobbed on the door at 5pm thurs just before selection at the Lexus Centre, Im sure Mick would find a spot for them without hesitation.

  22. Good point Saintly. I guess we will all be better informed come Tuesday afternoon.

  23. I agree with Saintly. Class with a capital C throughout the Hawks line-up.

    There have been epic battles between the Hawks and the Cats over the years but when the two meet and the game really matters with the season on the line, the Hawks have always had the cat in the bag.

    Its going to get harder for Geelong as its list gets older and its depth becomes an issue, if not already. Enough said about the great G.A.

  24. John Trethewie says:

    Why do people keep describing the Cats as ‘slow’? David Wojcinski, Travis Varcoe, Shannon Byrnes, Daniel Menzel etc are anything but ‘slow’. And besides, no player in the league can outrun a 50m bomb from Chappy.

    Hawthorn’s first half against Melbourne was the worst display of field kicking I’ve seen from a team not wearing Richmond jumpers. Ever.

  25. johnharms says:

    It’s a good question. Indeed, it was the pace of the Cats in the 2009 Grand Final which was a factor in winning the day. S. Byrnes has a lot of critics, but in my book he won himself a lot of credits in that final quarter when he was one of the creators – because of his pace.

    More pertinent at the moment is Varcoe who is getting closer to the centre of the game. In his early matches it looked like he didn’t feel entitled to be there, and was hanging around on the fringes. He is now getting in to it. I don’t think he is far off dominating games – with his pace and verve.

    I think you could write a dozen stories in trying to predict the outcome of the Haw-Geel game.

  26. Clearsighted says:

    #15
    You attribute Hawthorn’s losses since 2008, to “injury and loss of direction”.
    Round 17, 2009, Geelong had no Josh Hunt, Brad Ottens. At half time both Matthew Scarlett and Harry Taylor left the ground injured, not to return for the remainder of the game. At the beginning of the fourth quarter Geelong trailed by 28 points.
    Mooney went to the ruck, Mackie to Buddy, and ground the game back to level pegging.
    Jimmy’s point to win the game, struck a chord in the heart of every idealist who loves footy.

  27. HAVE A PIECE OF THAT!!!!!!!

  28. Rick Kane says:

    #13 Mr Phantom, I believe I owe you a chocolate frog. Terrific game. The Cats just kept on coming. Until they took hold of the game in the third. Then it was the Hawks turn to peg it back. In the end they couldn’t get ahead. See you in Round 12 for anotherie.

    Cheers

  29. And so it came to pass that indeed, Geelong are the real deal.

    For the Hawks, at least, there were a number of contributors, including Buddy for a good 10 minutes or so. Up the other end of the paddock, Pods was much the same, but kicked a couple when it counted, including that banana which sealed the deal.

    Not only that, the intensity matched that of any good final, a positive sign for both clubs. Watch out Pies.

    For mine, Harry Taylor got the three votes with two for Lonergan, both exceptionally solid in defence.

    Chappy looked worried at times, but on the whole he was poised, helping steer the Cats to a great victory.

    Well done.

    SL

  30. Richard Naco says:

    One word, Sasha:

    “MEOUW!”

    (The sound a Cat makes when it’s just had some more cream. ;:) )

  31. I think the ‘Hawks’ are now officially the ‘Mousies’.

    The Cats play with them and let them get away a few times before the kill.

  32. #28,

    Rick, I broke out. Too much pressure from Hawks supporters. I won a chocolate ‘Freddo’, a Caramelo Bear and a Chokito.

    I think I might be a Chocoholic. Do I need help?

    Don’t leave the country.

    ‘Bet defaulters don’t find the Phantom; the Phantom finds them’ (Old Jungle Saying)

  33. Dan Crane says:

    And to think that in 7 weeks the Cats and Hawks will be at it again!!!! long way to go but i am loving this season! along with varcoe’s efforts, when menzel bombed a goal which mitch duncan poked through i saw the future………..going back to varcoe he i still remember crows fans in 2007 scoffing when i mentioned out loud that he had the POTENTIAL to be our andrew mcleod…still a long way to go but for now i dream of him cutting pies, hawks, whoever to shreds in the final term of the 2011 GF…..

    One of the best rounds of footy for excitement for a long long time, every game was anybodys…..

  34. Told ya!! Just too dang good.

  35. Sasha is still on the money. Hawks yet to get out of 3rd gear! Imagine that! For sure now – Chappy doesn’t have to worry about the Cats getting into the Grand Final – cos they won’t!!!

    The Finals are a long way off and Round 12 will confirm all the doubts pussycat supporters have had about the furballs in their guts.

  36. They may well have fur balls by round twelve but they are certainly full to the brim with feathers at the moment Nikki.

    I would be quite happy for another crack this weekend. We both have the bye. How’s little Squirrel’s hammy? And I think Buddy has a torn his attitude nerve as well.

  37. Robbo of the roads says:

    Sasha is dreamin’ just like all the other Hawks fans.Nikki,I bet you were crowing about how good you were on Tuesday before the game.Twice you had chances to put us away.Both times you FAILED.You had a 30 point lead in our game last season at 3/4 time…we fought back like we always do and won again,result…failed again.Bring on round twelve.The Cats will break your Hawks hearts again.

  38. Robbo of the roads says:

    Hey Nikki.Your Hawks have been in third gear for three years now.Maybe they should get their gearboxes (hearts) checked out.I see Duddy fired up when the pressure was on.Two goals in the first ten minutes then our boys shut him down.Funny how he never plays well against THE MIGHTY CATS.Must be to hot in the kitchen for him.

  39. Sasha,

    All hawks fans ever do is complain about injuries and make excuses for a side that stole a premiership and play out of their skin on the odd occasion. Geelong also have injuries, but thanks to good recruiting, the squad depth is much greater and Geelong don’t have they need to make excuses for injured players. As for the Cats playing in 5th gear, i’m sure they showed against the Hawks on Easter Tuesday, that in 5th gear (12 minutes in the 3rd quarter) they can be somewhat untouchable. So you should take your opinion and stupidity and stick it.

    Kind Regards,

    Sandy

  40. Phantom, Robbo, et al, I like the banter, keep it up. The Hawks-Cats rivalry can only continue to develop, I hope.

    Thanks for the comment Sandy. I was concerned the Almanac was getting too highbrow, but thankfully you brought it back down a notch for us all. Cheers

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