AFL Finals Week 3 – Hawthorn v Geelong: One last blow?

Score a footy and Cats gear

Score a footy and Cats gear

This is a difficult thing to do.

My bum is sore on the desk chair. I’m tight in the shoulder blades. I feel like my arthritic cricket-knuckles are refusing to tap the keys.

I have to write about a Hawthorn victory – in a preliminary final. A win to the enemy, by less than a kick.

But I have to do it.

I have to resist the temptation to decry a Grand Final between Thatcherite Hawthorn and the un-football Dockers and find a way to barrack for one of them. I have to resist the temptation that footy is nothing more than silly blokes chasing around a leather ball which means absolutely nothing.  That would be mean-spirited of me and suggest that I remain as out of whack with the universe as Travis Varcoe (now there was a coincidental prediction).

I have to be careful not to spit bile in the direction of Hawthorn (like all things in this Universe, a gift from God), nor to forget the previous eleven matches. I have to be bigger than that and admit that Jeff was right all along. I might have to celebrate Sean Burgoyne and his influence on what was a fantastically tight and tense contest, a game of surge and counter-surge, albeit riddled with errors (from both sides), and certainly not the greatest game ever.

Do I have to do this? Do I have to sit here for a day and write this crud?

**

Friday evening. It has rained throughout the day. Good. But The Handicapper and I put down the umbrella walking from Jolimont Station to the MCG gates.

I feel like it is an absolutely 50-50 game, but I will not be surprised if the Cats win it. The Hawks are so over-rated.

We make our way to the Committee Room as guests of the MCC, a lovely invitation to receive, thanks very much to A.P. Sheahan. But for all of the delightful welcoming, and the presence of friends Gideon and Charlotte Haigh, and Martin and Polly Flanagan, I have a slight sense of unease. What’s a working class boy from the Queensland bush doing in the MCC Committee Room on preliminary final night? What would Fidel say? What would Reg Hickey say? I take comfort in the fact that Manning Clark would have been there for the feed and the booze and the football and the chat. Which is pretty much why everyone is here.

The Handicapper has taken only a passing interest in the footy this season, mainly because she is not pregnant, and because she wearied of the various media themes very quickly. It’s interesting to hear medical people speak of the Essendon saga. And then to go to Auskick at the Brunswick Street Oval and hear the take of the legal fraternity. (Barrister-central in downtown Fitzroy).

A.P. Sheahan is amusing at the mic, and the panelled walls and grand old photos make us all feel very happy with life. I do like a “hear, hear” from time to time – very MCC.

But we’re all waiting the next instalment of the Geelong-Hawthorn story – and what a place for it. A spot in the Grand Final beckons.

This goes way back to 1963 and Polly Farmer and Bob Davis; to the club-building of the Hawks through the seventies and eighties; to the `89 Grand Final; to the 2008 Grand Final; to the Kennett Curse and the place of hubris. It is replete with characters. It has generated great affection and fear and loathing. It is a magnificent rivalry.

And so, as the anthem is sung and the players walk to their positions, the roar of the crowd swells in anticipation of the first bounce. It has fifty years of history in it.

We are sitting with Fiona and Adrian Anderson who are mad Hawthorn supporters. We are all trying to be magnanimous, generous, polite. But, Jeepers, how good is Johnno in the opening couple of minutes. He has it about five times. Until Adrian’s boys settle and start to dominate proceedings.

Travis outbodies an opponent beautifully but then his free arm cannot cradle the mark. Kelly gives away a dumb free kick when the Cats are on. Johnno kicks a couple in a row and the Cats are in front.

Motlop is the quickest out there; Johnno the smartest (Mitchell, if you are from the leafy suburbs). The Hawks have all of the possession but they miss shots at goal. Hale is a worry up forward. The Cats hang in there.

Adrian and I roll with the play, commenting on umpiring decisions. I have little chance of ever being right: he made the rules. It is a study of the beautiful greyness of them, and the role of the umpires.

Somehow the Cats lead by a point at quarter-time, when the whole stadium pauses to breathe out and then take in some more oxygen.

What will be the factors? Buddy looks to have an injured shoulder or arm. Roughie’s not in it.

Hawkins moves freely enough and opens the second quarter with a desperate tackle, but misses with the free kick. Johnno snaps from the pocket and the Hawks look a little troubled. Motlop burns them off again and finds Tommy Hawkins who kicks truly. The Cats are three goals up and pouring on the pressure. Large blocks of MCG mustard are still and silent. (It never takes much.)The players feel the pressure as well.

Then there is a pivotal moment. Johnson has had a dozen touches and kicked three – not bad for a mid-fielder. I’m thinking he can kick eight for the match (possibly ten when the intensity drops off).  The Hawks are rattled. The game is opening up – which Johnno loves. He can find space in a Southern Stand beer queue. He gets free, darts across half forward and snaps across his body. Trademark Johnno. They should name the kick after him. He eats these. The Geelong crowd rises. This is big. “Johnno.”

Point. Sigh.

The Hawks are encouraged.

Now they come hard. Gunston goals. Blicavs is free on the half-back flank. In a nod to a successful culture he plays on. The decision is perfect (in one sense), as it will render the entire ground Geelong’s. But he doesn’t quite nail the handball. Turnover. Goal. Now the Cats are hanging on until half-time but Hawthorn miss chances, including Roughie after the siren. The margin remains inside a goal.

What is going on in this game? Was that the Cats one and only push? Was that the last of their energy against a rested Hawthorn side?

They trade goals after the break. It’s a contest again. Josh Hunt, who has not had a great game (No Boris Enright alongside him) is subbed out and Josh Caddy comes on. He immediately looks fresh and puts in a terrific twenty minutes of footy. The Hawks inaccuracy is not helping them.

Then the Cats go for it. Selwood, who is having a Selwood quarter, goals. Stokes is pummelled by Birchall but the ball spills to Guthrie who has been solid all night. He sprints away and nails it from 50. It’s a team-lifter.

Both teams are just trying to break clear – to find open territory to show what they can do with the footy. But both have preliminary final desperation and the contests are appreciated by fans around the ground. Smotherers appear from stage right to fling themselves on grenades. If anything, the Cats have the better flow, the Hawks are taking marks inside 50.

Which is what Cyril does: flies for a screamer in the pocket which stops the planet. Yet somehow it is play on and the Cats are away. Caddy to Motlop to Pods. Hawkins on his own near the square. Pods goes with the outside of the left foot – at goal. And it’s a point. A bad miss.

The Cats are frantic. It’s their turn to throw the punches. Varcoe gets a lightning handball to Motlop who goals. Taylor drifts forward and gets on the outside and snaps one. Then Murdoch’s speculator from a throw-in goes through and at three quarter-time the Cats are 20 points up.

And on top! Definitely on top!

The two teams gather in their huddles. They listen to their coaches. All to play for.

I am feeling OK about it all. I haven’t factored in the fortnight break because it looks like a game of the soul: the disheartened will be beaten, the believer will win.

What happens when both believe?

The last quarter begins with an opportunity to Christensen who kicks out on the full. That would have been handy. Then Buddy scores a lucky one scrambled off his foot. That’s not handy. Caddy counters. The Cats are still up by three goals. But the Hawks are coming.

There is moment upon moment which can turn the game. The Cats can’t quite take it. One more goal and the heads will drop. They are free and storming forward when Burgoyne reaches out and just clutches Kelly  from behind. Burgoyne has been magnificent all night (I have noticed him far more than Sam Mitchell) and minutes later he charges at Jimmy Bartel in the goal square. Jimmy has the slightest fumble which allows Burgoyne to tackle him and, in dragging him down, the kick is scrubbed. If it gets over Bradley Hill’s head the Cats come back inside and are away again. It rolls to Hill who scoops it up and goals. Twelve points.

Hang on.

Burgoyne again. Mackie does everything he can in getting back. Both slip at the same time in the square. Handball to Gunston. Stokes arrives a stride too late. Goal.

Oh dear.

Minutes left and Breust marks and misses.

It must be our night.

A few minutes out and the Cats just cannot clear the footy. The handball comes back over the top to Burgoyne (again) and he shoots from the pocket. It’s a beautifully controlled kick. The Hawks are in front.

This is when we get serious. This is when we are steady. This is when our old hands take control.

And the chances are there. We have to score: to be cavalier. The hint of a turnover sends Geelong players scattering. Options everywhere, but turnovers kill. Harry Taylor is in the clear. He can choose Caddy on the fly, or Stokes in the middle. It’s put down your glasses until someone gets a mit on him, just enough to affect the kick, which grubbers to Blicavs. Blicavs, who has tried his heart out, has his own hassler and the opportunity is lost.

Drama.

The Hawks post a series of rushed and scrubbed behinds until they lead by a goal. There can’t be much time. The Cats stream forward again. Selwood draws a defender on the wing and handballs to Johnno on the wrap around. Johnno has loose men everywhere. His penetrating left-footer goes over the Hawks defender to Duncan. No, over Duncan’s head to…to Travis. “Travis!” He fumbles. Gathers. Looks up. Straightens up. And shoots from 25. “Draw!” yells someone behind us.

But, no. He’s missed. The Universe and Travis (a magnificent footballer who can set matches alight) are still not as one.

The Hawks control the footy and the game is theirs.

I am quiet. The Handicapper is a bit quiet. Adrian is not quiet. We shake hands. Masses of Hawthorn supporters bounce about. It is utterly intolerable.

People rave about the game – mainly those who don’t barrack for the mighty Cats.

It was a magnificently tense game of ebb and flow. But it was a game of the little blokes. Put Brad Ottens in the Geelong side and I reckon they win. The Hawks have had a few down – Franklin, Hodge, Roughead – and they’ve been woeful in front of goal, yet still won. They probably deserve the win. The Cats had their chances and couldn’t land the one or two final blows.

We thanks our hosts at the MCC, congratulate Adrian again, and shuffle off down the stairs and through Yarra Park, just as people do every week, and have done for generations.

**

So how do you feel on the train going home?

Bitterly disappointed of course, because the Cats are so good to watch. And they’re ours.

This game was a microcosm of the whole year. Matches played in surges and bursts by a team of highly talented footballers – veterans and young’uns alike who have given us much to love through 2013. The flag was made a whole lot harder to win when Freo beat us at Kardinia. Geelong at their best versus Hawthorn at their best was going to be a beaut Grand Final.

Neither team was at their best tonight but it was still a riveting three hours.

Can Hawthorn win it? I’m finding it difficult to care at the moment. No doubt my heart will have spoken to me by the fifteen minute mark of the first quarter on Saturday, but I reckon Freo, with big Sandilands, have a huge chance – if they can keep their heads.

Thanks Cats. You are magnificent.

 

Votes: 3 Johnno   2. S. Burgoyne   1. Mitchell

About John Harms

JTH is a writer and broadcaster. He is the publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and footyalmanac.com.au He has written many columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere and The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story. He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - the oldest is six. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.

Comments

  1. Grant Fraser says:

    jth your writing always takes me there. Fortunately I was (was probably me blocking your view on the walkway outside the c’tee room). Until the battle is again joined next year, well played.

  2. Always look forward to reading your stuff John. Have very much enjoyed the Cats style of play over the last 7 years and that it has proved to be better than the more defensive approach. I hope that this can continue on Saturday.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Great summary JTH and I agree re your pivotal moments Stevie J should have goaled
    What I enjoy most you correctly point out yes a Game 4 The Ages re Drama but not a classic too many errors and simple missed goals by both sides and I agree re Ottens and say that a lot of clubs will rue not selecting Grundy re Draft this year
    Your comment about Varcoe being out of alignment was clairvoyant stuff in the end
    Sandilands was the difference in the 1st Final v Geelong we wait and see if he can deliver Saturday

  4. JTH
    A.P.Sheehan taught me maths in fifth form. “Bloody hell, Cameron. I thought the hardest thing I’d ever have to do in life was face the Windies quicks!” Direct quote. My mathematical dimwittedness totally bamboozled the great man.
    Suffice to say I learnt more about geometry from Garry Snr and Stevie J than Uncle Paul (as he was known). Though he could have taught us all something about multiplication.
    Josh H gone. Pods gone. Smithy gone. Rivers?? A fit giant (Simmo, Macca) in the ruck. Vardy forward. Hawk fit. We are right there.
    Being three goals up is worse than three down at three quarter time in a game like this unless you are committed to play up, play up, and play the game. Mindset changed to defensive and trying to manipulate time instead of taking the risks that were paying off and that had made the world what it was. The change of MO was a bigger risk than the continued taking of risks. (I think my three-quarter time speech might have left the boys confused.)
    Anyway, Scottie was always aiming for 2014, was he not?
    Cheers, AJC.

  5. Great piece JTH.

    I love the subtle Hawthorn jibes – leafy green suburbs, references to Thatcher and all. Completely foreign concepts to many of us Hawks I must say.

    I reckon Hawthorn are enjoying the Freo hype and the build-up this week. Like the mustards in the stands at the prelim final, we’re a pretty quiet and considered bunch by comparison.

    The journos in the national rag must think we’re voting for the respective Grand Finalists because all they do is talk-up Fremantle’s chances with little reference to the other team. In today’s Australian (I live in Brisbane) Greg Denham showed his ignorance (or lack of interest) by referring to the Hawks as “the yellow and brown”. There’s no yellow at Hawthorn, Saturday will show us that. (Skills help too, and goals, has anyone mentioned that?).

    Twenty points down at three-quarter time only to clinch it from the worthiest of opponents. That’s a pretty good finals performance in my view. (Burgoyne was brilliant).

    GO HAWKS!!

  6. Thanks for the great read JTH. It wasn’t until last night watching the ABC news when I saw footage of the hawks celebrating on the G (with the final score on the screen ) that it all came back to me. Since Friday a combination of intensive gardening, end of term school stuff and soccer coaching have all been part of my therapy. I actually don’t care who wins – although hawthorn play better footy, freo did beat us at KP. I just want it over and the 2014 fixture to come out. That and chappie having another year will be enough for me. Roll on October!
    Go Cats!

  7. Peter Flynn says:

    The 80′s have a lot to answer for JTH.

  8. Peter Fuller says:

    Sasha,
    Your reference to a heathen describing the Hawks colours as yellow and brown, reminded me of an occasion where John Kennedy chided a player who made that error. I don’t know whether it was a jumper presentation or at a awards night, but a player (I won’t name him as he doesn’t deserved to be shamed) hoped that he would play many more seasons for the brown and yellow. Kanga promptly corrected him “never yellow, always gold”, and I guess he more than anyone had earned the right to insist on that. Funny then that the Tigers glory in the chant yellow and black.
    I realise that you don’t have much (any?) choice in Queensland, but if you’re relying on the Australian for your information on anything, but especially Aussie Rules, then IMHO you should choke on it.
    Best Wishes for the match.

  9. Notwithstanding Chappy’s alleged high bump, Boris’ knee problem and the wrong Hunt being omitted from selection, the Cats’ team on Friday night was capable of the upset win, if only they had kept attacking in the final quarter. Cruelly reminiscent of what I witnessed at the Gabba earlier this year, the Cats showed a tendency to put the cue in the rack prematurely, and stall for time. Defending a lead is not the Geelong way to victory. We lose all flow and momentum. Clarkson identified that fact back in 2008, with his shark analogy – Geelong must keep moving forward at all times to be effective. What has made the Cats so great for so long has been their ferocity for four quarters, even when a game was clearly won. This season has been played in fits and starts; powerful surges alternating with collective daydreaming. Have we actually played four quarters in any game this year? That we made it so far on that form is amazing.
    Still, there are always too many ifs to consider in defeat. If little Gazza was still with us, winning Brownlows. If the big fella Simpson hadn’t broken down mid-season. If Tomahawk’s back could have been treated by a fish-slapper? If only Trav had kicked truly at the end. If I had gone to the game, instead of watching it on TV?
    We now hand the baton to Freo, to inaugurate its own version of the Kennett Curse. Watching his post-game antics was more sickening than actually losing the contest. I don’t care who has to beat the poo and wee team, but it is important that they be denied the prize.
    Go Dockers!

  10. I have been waiting to read this report for 5 years.

    I have never quite understood why Geelong are so fanatical with beating (and “loathing”) Hawthorn. Is it all related to losing the unlosable 2008 Grand Final? Is it the number of heartbreaking losses in the previous 30 years? Is it the colours? Is it Jeff Kennett (don’t worry, Hawks fans never cared for him either).

    Personally, as a Hawthorn fan, I have always kind of liked Geelong. I really hate Essendon while Carlton and Collingwood are close behind but that came in my formative years in barracking for the underdog and those 3 sides had dominated the premierships and the win/loss record against my Hawks. But Geelong are like North Melbourne, Fitzroy and Footscray – they are clubs I respected and enjoyed playing against. I hoped they would win in 2007 and 2011 while I didn’t care either way in 2009 as it would have also been a nice win for the Saints.

    When flooding nearly ruined football about 10 years ago through the likes of Port Adelaide, Sydney and West Coast, it was Geelong that created a new exciting brand of football that brought on a much more visually pleasing game that we have today.

    The only thing I really disliked about Geelong in recent years was a fair percentage of their supporters and their arrogance and expectation of entitlement. A sample of these were sitting behind me on Friday – giving a running commentary and with a voice like fingernails down a blackboard. It is great to get to a GF but it was nearly as pleasing to see these vitriolic supporters (40+ year old women with face paint on) shuffle into the night. It was even better when I saw them again at Docklands on Sunday and they copped a second serve when Box Hill surprisingly took the flag.

    I would take issue with you John, in regards to comments such as “Thatcherite Hawthorn”.

    There is nothing wrong with whatever your background or beliefs are but football is a pass-time of pleasure for hundreds of thousands of supporters who have chosen their team for a variety of reasons, but those do not include their beliefs or political opinions. Religion (“gift from God”) and politics should be left out of any discussion relating to football clubs as way of defining who they are. I hate Essendon as a football club only (I have not gotten over 1984) but not for any perceived image I garner as to what they believe in outside of the game.

    I barrack for Hawthorn but to be lumped as a right-wing Thatcherite supporter because of the football club I follow is disappointing. Didn’t you see the picture in the paper last week of Liberal leader Denis Napthine in Geelong colours and Labour deputy James Merlino who is a Hawks supporter. Football is a great facet in uniting various parts of the community despite their beliefs in a fairly equal and broad cross-representation across all clubs.

    I would be interested to know why you loath Hawthorn but would hope it was not based on where they were located on the map or a perception that they all have the same beliefs.

    It was a great game of football, as were the previous 11 encounters. It had all the passion and excitement that makes us so devotional as supporters. Thrills and disappointments is what makes it so enticing and why we come back year after year. It was great to finally end that losing streak on Friday night.

  11. aussie80s
    Couldn’t agree more. Bloody Harms and his Iron Lady irony.
    Rub some liniment on your funny bone, or, like Buddy, you’ll never take an overhead mark.
    ajc

  12. Next time Geelong are in a preliminary final against Hawthorn, please don’t accept an invitation to the Committee Room.

  13. I just cannot help feeling that it is the end of an era for the Cats.
    And Freo’s win at Kardinia Park will certainly give hope to future visitors.

  14. Ahh, a grand read JTH.
    In reflecting on such a game, I like the way you highlight the missed opportunities as well as those taken. I remember Leigh Matthews, when coaching Collingwood, demanding concentration on: “taking our chances, cos we will only get so many.”
    Those misses hurt most when the whips are cracking, of course. Though cold logic says all misses should hurt equally as much.
    Looking forward to a cracking GF.

  15. Jane Darmon says:

    very enjoyable article – GO HAWKS ! :)

  16. Skip of Skipton says:

    When Mackies mate from the Dees kicked out on the full in the last quarter (under no pressure) I knew it was game over, as would have the manager and guests at the motel in Tumut where we were staying the night.

    Duncan getting panicky a couple of times and blindly bombing long didn’t help when there was still 2-3 minutes on the clock.

    Better Hawthorn face the Purple Maze in the GF. We’d have had no hope. Cooked.

  17. Leonie, I blame Adrian Anderson more than the committee room.

    Aussie80s, you are far too rational for me. However, beautiful women aside, if something causes me ongoing grief I find that thing difficult to like. AS for Thatcherite Hawthorn, it’s just that Kooyong don’t have a team in the AFL, only in the lawn tennis association, so I went with the neighbour.

    I agree with the cue-in-the-rack diagnosis. Yet if Jimmy gets it over the top of Hill…and Harry hits Caddy or Stokes (?)…and Kelly arches his back…and…

    I am interested in the debate on Great Game Status. The Flanagans and Harmses were having the discussion after the game. Flanners is always one with the questions that make you think out loud. I’m usually happy to speculate. My initial feeling was that it was an exciting game but not a great game. Then, the following morning, I saw the last quarter again on replay and I changed my mind (and emailed Flanners) but I have changed my mind again.

    I think the Geelong-Collingwood prelim of 2007 was a great game (note the role of Ottens who was best-on-ground by panels).

    I think the greatest games are where the champions play to their ability for a good section of the game, where a big bloke has an influence (Rehn v Bulldogs PF 1997), where others influence (McLeod v NM 1998) where coaches are forced to make changes, where when the game turns to chaos under shattering physical, mental, spiritual pressure memorable things happen.

    I would love to hear what others think – although it is an untimely academic exercise! I will try to keep my eye on the GF Sasha and Aussie80.

    Very appreciative of all your kind and thoughtful comments.

    And remember AJC, no stereotyping for the sake of cheap laughs.

  18. Congratulations Hawthorn on a timely win.
    aussie80s – lift yourself out of the 80s and desist with your sexism and ageism (and any other prejudice you haven’t, as yet, underarm bowled down the almanac wicket) – very brown and yellow.
    Another great read John. I agree that Burgoyne (not Mitchell) did the smart, skilled things that decided the game.

  19. I knew a Thatcherite once. He didn’t follow any team. “A waste of money,” he told me.

  20. daniel flesch says:

    Bert – your reference to Hawthorn as the “poo and wee” team is childish in the extreme ,as well as a serious lapse in taste unworthy of this esteemed website. Grow up mate , and while you’re at it go out and find us a cat with white and dark blue hoops. And to those mentioning the appalling Kennett – thousands of us Hawthorn supporters want him and his big mouth nowhere near the club , just as lots of Carlton supporters despised John Elliot when he was lording it at Princes Park.

  21. No need for a post-season review at Catland. No Harms scion, and hobnobbing in the MCC Committee Room with the powers that be for the most crucial game of the season?? I rest my case, M’Lud.
    Pull your finger (or some other part of the anatomy) out, man.
    John – your opus was amusing, engaging, informed, accurate and total fantasy. As life should always be.

  22. Dear Mr Harms

    The field of psychology long ago gave a name to the act of an individual’s obsesstion with “alignment to universe” as causation. They call it poppycock.
    The game, the quarter and the result can not be boiled down to one kick in the same way that the blame for 11 Hawks losses cannot be reduced to a curse.

    You can throw as many “what-ifs” into the mix as you like but that won’t change the result. As for the quality of the game? This is what I said to people I was talking to on the train home: “That was a ripper of a match. Mind you, if we had lost, it would have been a crap game”.

    Cheers, from one who is glad not to have to fret over tight losses against the Cats for a while

  23. Brilliant JTH. I read this on the tram and sailed past my stop!

  24. Stephen Cooke says:

    Smokie – end of an era? Me thinks not. I wouldn’t be surprised if they dip to 6th or 7th next year if our young blokes (and we have a lot of them) have a down year. That often happens until they build their games tally. We’ll be thereabouts again for the next 3-4 years. Exciting times ahead at the Cattery – we didn’t play well for much of the year and finished second.

    Skip, we would have won this game with Enright. He wouldn’t have kicked out on the full. The look on Scott’s face when Mackie kicked it out mirrored what we all thought. “Who does that?”

  25. What time does lunch kick off today, so we can carry on this convo? Cheers

  26. Paul Spinks says:

    When Christensen missed from a tight angle at the start of the last quarter Harry Taylor was one-out in front of goal. Reminded me of ’08 GF when Ottens had a long shot and missed when he could’ve passed to Stokes running into an open goal. Doing the team thing was always a feature of successful Geelong sides, especially under Mark Thompson, and departure from it usually spelt trouble.

    Slowing the game down half way through the last quarter was far too early and a beginner’s mistake thwart with danger. Did we run out of steam? Was it a directive? Did it become contagious once one or two players started doing it? Is the gap between our experienced and inexperienced players still too big (one reason alone to keep Chappy)? Were we influenced by last quarter fade outs during the year, and this an attempt to stem a flow that hadn’t begun yet, to go defensive and try to save the game? Am I asking too many questions?

    Still the nature of these matches has been that if either side breaks away to a lead the other side will peg it back. This time Hawthorn had its nose in front at the final siren and well done to them.

  27. JTH – reading this piece has helped to progress the grieving process.

    Since listening to the game from Reading Hospital (ABC radio on AFL smartphone app – the only good thing to come out of the AFL website), I have not read anything about footy. When I got home from hospital on Monday, I deleted the recording of the ESPN match broadcast. Footy season is over. Unfortunately, cricket season is also finished here.

    Still at home recovering from surgery and a bit bored, the siren call of the Almanac bookmark dragged me to this piece.

    I have not yet deleted the planned recording of the GF and this piece has given it a stay of execution.

    Don’t think I will watch it live but if the Dockers win, I might enjoy watching the stillness in the mustard sections.

    Tribalism, hatred of some clubs, dehumanising the enemy – its as much a part of our nature as why we like fat and sugar. But as with fat and sugar, we should know better and act better – but its hard.

  28. chris murray says:

    I hope the cats are doing a decent review of that game as they did not play that well. The VFL team also got shellacked on the following Sunday. Where are the big men. ?

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