Round 2 – Hawthorn v Adelaide: The Pursuit of Happiness

I know that the world doesn’t revolve around Victorian-based Crows supporters, but this season’s in the flesh opportunities are spread far, wide and late thus:

Round 2 v Hawthorn @ MCG

Round 11 v Geelong @ KP

Round 15 v Carlton @MCG

Round 19 v Collingwood @MCG

Round 21 v Essendon @Docklands

Pretty paltry offerings, so I’ll probably tag along to a few neutral games to get my footy fill over the next few months, but today’s game had that extra special feeling that comes with a sniff of victory.

Early in the school year, my regular footy companion Bridget (Swishter #3) saw that this game would be the opportunity to expose her Canadian school friend Amanda to her first viewing of greatest sport on earth. We didn’t check the calendar well enough to realise that today was the day after their third and final night of their Year 12 Theatre Studies performance of 12 Angry Men, but both Jurors 8 and 9 were up and aboot for today’s big clash, despite some post performance frivolities.

We took the long away around the ground, allowing our guest to take in the sights, sounds and smells of the MCG concourse, before lining up at the AFC membership tent. Last year’s game day gifts were replaced by the chance for members to spin the school fete chocolate wheel. I thankfully avoided the hug from Claude the Crow, instead winning a spot on the guard of honour at the abovementioned Collingwood game (where I imagine that we’ll be sitting on 15-2 against the 3-14 Pies, now coached by Alan Didak). An MCG food voucher was Bridget’s prize, coincidental (note, not ironic) given her continued career as the ground’s premier fast food seller at non-Crows games.

After subjecting ourselves to the scanners prior to the entrance gates, I decided to park our bums at ground level, close to the city end action, just a few rows from the fence, within reach of Degrassi playing surface. The crowd didn’t look like it was going to crack the 40,000 mark. Perhaps the Camberwell autumn leaves were piling up already, or maybe the Maybloomers had already pencilled this one in as a win, given Adelaide’s dearth of wins against them in Melbourne.

The Hawks kicked towards our end and we saw too much action up close for my liking. Adelaide couldn’t get near the Sherrin in the first ten minutes. The defence was nervous with Breust, Puopolo and even Rioli looking occasionally threatening. Just as I was yearning for the return of the square-jawed unflappable Scott Lee in the back pocket (Steve Waugh in tricolours?), our big man Josh Jenkins copped one in the kidney/rib area, not to return.

A quick Tex mark and goal (never a certainty) failed to halt the Hawkmentum and Breust’s third major saw us in the same territory that we failed to navigate in the 2015 finals. A pair of traded goals kept the margin to four goals at the first (and our lunch) break.

I opted for the default Four ‘n Twenty option, but Bridget lashed out with her voucher and treated herself to salt and pepper squid and chips instead of her customary nuggets. I was reminded by my favourite Canadian band TPOH that, after all, she’s an adult now.

I thought that Adelaide may have switched Tom Lynch into the Jenkins’ role, proving once more why I was sitting in the sun in the Ponsford pocket rather than behind glass in the Members. Instead, Pyke (Don not Mike) and co. threw Andy Otten onto the ball as Sauce Jacobs’ relief, a canny and match winning move.

Jacobs stuck up his giant tentacles for a big grab and jagged a goal after almost ten minutes, Adelaide peppering its goals to no avail before that. Their new Mitchell soon pegged that one back and the Crows’ dominance wasn’t showing up on the big Olympic Stand videodrome scoreboard that is a boon for those of us with failing eyesight.

I noticed that Adelaide were doing a fine job of denying the Hawks easy exits from defence, so while we weren’t scoring much, they weren’t either. Rory Sloane was constantly first to the ball and Sauce was doing plenty around the ground against the ineffective McEvoy and potential Box Hill Best Team Man winner Ty Vickery.

Then, “right in front of me”, Eddie Betts got away with another of those cheeky nudges that he seems to have been handed a licence to get away with. Perhaps we weren’t out of it after all, especially after Charlie Cameron’s cameo six pointer follow up.

The Hawks made the most of their chances and Shiels extended the lead before a dour end to the half. Adelaide were fortunate to be within a couple of goals at the Auskick break. At least they had staunched the flow but would have to improve further if they were to continue their winning streak (of one).

We took the time to look up and around the vast MCG during the break, noticing the pretend birds on a wire that were used to scare away the seagulls, with some success it turned out.

It was Hawthorn’s turn to be wasteful at what was proving to be the scoring end early in the third. Adelaide’s game found some fluency with Tom Lynch now playing the role of wide roaming receiver and distributor perfectly. Eddie Hocking Betts danced around Frawley after a mark near fifty to slot a timely left footer for our second of the term. Strong hands near the square from Mitch McGovern and suddenly we up.

When the Hawks did venture forth, Adelaide’s defence had tightened as Daniel Talia took command and Rory Laird continued to mop up and dish off cleanly. More generally, Adelaide cut down on the errors, picking better targets and finding them more often.

More Eddie magic from the MCG equivalent of his pocket and we started getting cocky, perhaps even going the early crow, to mix avian metaphors.

Then came the event for which I will be forever remembered in the impressionable mind of my Canadian guest. I want to “hate”, in a footy sense, Paul Puopolo, in the same way that I’ve been enraged by the likes of S Milne, L Thomas, J Melksham and others of their ilk. But I just can’t – anyone that can take hangers like the one he took earlier and the fact that he always seems to bob up at the right/wrong time against us (and maybe because he’s from SA) … I just can’t. But when he was awarded THAT FREE in front of goals, I involuntarily became caught up in the mob and rose to my feet, hurling rabid invective and abuse against the clown in green who gifted him his second goal. For a brief moment I was one angry man, not the meek, aging, greying, bespectacled bloke that I’d been up until then. I’ll never live it down in Edmonton.

Adelaide recovered better than I did, a rare Otten goal was nullified by a clever Poppy soccer. A slick Tex handball gave the unsighted-until-then Mackay a late snag (just like thousands of Bunnings customers today) before Vickery performed his Christ The Redeemer impression after being on the receiving end of a Hawk Joe the Goose.

Four points up at the final break.

The last quarter was an even contest until Rory “Swish thinks I should be Captain” Sloane came from six rows back to take a twisting pack mark and goal. Adelaide dominated the exchanges for the next few minutes before they OTF with a pair of running goals from the last player picked each week, #14, David Mackay.

I liked the look of Curtly Hampton in the last, but he’ll be even better when he decides to give it off at the first opportunity. The Hawks were out run and gunned by now, they looked pucked. Tex “Swish still doesn’t think I should be Captain” Walker followed up his big mark and goal with a ripper pass to the gut-running Luke “Sorry Swish that I’m not Scott Lee” Brown to finally say “tata” to the what Sandy Roberts had earlier described as the Crows “voodoo side”. Maybe he meant that they’ve been hard for us to pin down, but at last, we’d done it.

As we finally left the ground, after several rousing renditions of the club song, showering our white guernseyed heroes with fulsome applause, we introduced Amanda to that great Australian tradition, post-game donuts. Two cinnamon girls and an old man.

I nearly choked on mine when I saw this. I was happy to have seen Adelaide take the four points at last. It seemed that the loss was too much for at least one Hawk “supporter” though. My heart bleeds.

HAWTHORN 6.2 8.3 11.10 13.11 (89)

ADELAIDE     2.2 5.8 11.14 16.17 (113)

GOALS
Hawthorn: Breust 4, Puopolo 3, Roughead 2, Mitchell, Shiels, Vickery, Rioli
Adelaide: Betts 3, Mackay 3, Walker 2, Lynch, Jacobs, Cameron, Atkins, McGovern, Otten, Sloane, Brown

BEST  (Per AFL.com)
Hawthorn: Mitchell, O’Meara, Puopolo, Gunston, Burgoyne
Adelaide: Jacobs, Sloane, Smith, Mackay, Crouch, Betts, Talia

INJURIES
Hawthorn: Shiels (left leg), Smith (leg), Birchall (jaw)
Adelaide: Jenkins (ribs)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Margetts, Nicholls, Mitchell

Official crowd: 37,420 at the MCG

Malarkey Medal: 3 Sloane (Ade) 2 Jacobs (Ade) 1 Lynch (Ade)

 

 

 

 

 

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 – Dogs v Peckers.

Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi)

Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89)

Life member – Ormond Netball Club

-That’s me on the right

Comments

  1. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Superb Swish love the Alan Didak line and very clever re the old best team man award re Vickery more likely for the Scum tho.I would be worried if any one didn’t go right off re that decision ( how Leigh Mathews agreed with it is staggering) D Mac very good so far and re the hawks supporter wow just wow

  2. They delayed the match in Adelaide!!!

  3. Charlie Brown says:

    Excellent Swish. You superbly avoided (i think have split an infinitive? Patto?) falling into the irony trap. My sister lives down the road from Edmonton in Calgary. I’m glad Amanda enjoyed her first taste of footy and its rituals.

  4. The umpire who caused you such embarrassment came from the Eastern FL in Victoria. His surname is Mitchell.

    Is there any more to be said, other than vitriol is acceptable in victory

  5. That’s a day at the footy review, with a great nod to the actual footy.

    Had you got a ‘salt’ reference into the Jacobs tentacles and peppering paragraph, I’d have punched the air (given the culinary choice of Swishter #3)

  6. Peter_B says:

    Entertaining and informative as always. Thanks Swish. Felt like I was at the game rather than on the golf course (thankfully no more 3 hour time difference to the eastern states). I didn’t realise the Crows only got on top in the last quarter – the margin looked more comfortable.
    So many zingers to love:
    3) Cinnamon Girls
    2) Angry Men – 12 or 1 – a favourite film – seen it many times – no one did stubborn decency like Henry Fonda
    1) Leafblowers
    PS – I have Rick Kane’s number if you want to send him back his gear. Brown and gold is very fashionable among the pavement residents in Bourke Street this season.

  7. Dave Brown says:

    Thicke with Canadian references, love it! If ever one was to get upset by an umpiring decision Swish (not that I know about such things), you picked the correct one. Agree with Roos that that was as poor a decision as you are likely to see. Compounded then by Mr Rules Committee Wrecker of Sacred Knees Matthews saying he thought it was the right decision because he ended up on top of him. Now, I understand your average fan not being familiar with the laws of the game, but a member of the rules committee? And as for Poppy he started off footballing life as a Hope Valley Demon so that must be why you like him so much. A good win that hopefully exorcises a few demons (Hope Valley or otherwise). Good stuff.

  8. Rick Kane says:

    Great read/summary Swish. The Crows should be still in the hunt come the pointy end, the Hawks will have completed year one of our three year rebuilding project. (Think 2009-2011).

    TPOH is your favourite Canadian band? Really? Not Rush, not Blue Rodeo, not The Band (c’mon, more Canadian than American)? We need to talk.

    Cheers

    I wouldn’t read anything into a dscarded scarf. I could ditch one every game we lose this year and I’d still have a factory full. Every time we do a spring clean the May queen asks me if it’s time to say goodbye to at least a few. Not yet.

  9. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Bewdy ‘Book, I’d kill for your readership

    Thanks Aidan, it was worth waiting for.

    I oughta know Charlie

    Couldn’t bring myself to acknowledge him further PG

    Ta JTH, I could have gone with ‘assaulted’ but I thought ‘jagged’ was good enough

    Amanda made an excellent Henry PB, thanks. I reckon I’ve only seen it once, in First Year High, but its message has stuck with me since.

    Well played Dave. I may still have a SAFA Budget somewhere with the Hope Valley team of the day.

    Thanks Rick, I saw TPOH crank out a decidedly non-ironic “Knowing Me, Knowing You” at the St George Leagues Club in 1990 (Falling Joys as support). They were the real deal. That scarf might have been there since 2010, who knows?

  10. Thanks Swish.

    With the wife busy with end-of-term stuff I selflessly offered to take the boys down to the Glenelg FC for the afternoon to watch the game on Fox. Upon arrival I learnt that in the last week they’ve relinquished their Fox subscription so we trotted across to the Holdy and enjoyed (mostly) our afternoon. Some questions-

    If someone can teach Charlie how to kick, do you think he could be anything?

    Is Mitch McGovern the best “plucker” of the footy when taking an overhead mark?

    Is Andy Otten’s 1000 day absence and then comeback the best since Pat Cummins’ 1800 day absence and then comeback, mathematics ignored?

    Thanks Swish.

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    Ta Mickey

    Charlie’s field kicking is OK, just needs to be a bit more reliable when shooting for goal.

    Yes

    It’s up there

  12. Luke Reynolds says:

    Is Eddie Hocking the most remembered 11 gamer in AFL history?

    Entertaining read as always Swish. Hopefully Dids is able to serve some sort of apprenticeship instead of being rushed into the top job…

  13. When I lived in the Hawthorn district (1990-91), it used to be gauche to to wear anything more than 5 years old. No wonder a 2010 scarf was thrown out!

Leave a Comment

*