The song remains the same

We’re sitting in the All Nations Hotel on Friday afternoon. Yeatesy is leaning on the fireplace telling us about the 1989 Grand Final; about the day he knocked The Kid on his arse, bruised his spleen in fact. Yeatesy is a beauty; a raw boned country footballer made-good, the quintessential six foot three and three quarters, hard-at-it, straight ahead centre half back. Like a lot of blokes off farms he finishes sentences with raised eyebrows as if he can’t quite believe his own adventures.
He explains that he belted Brereton early in the 1989 Grand Final because about eight weeks prior Brereton had kneed him in the balls in a ruck contest at Princes’ Park.
“I had a look at my knackers when I got to the bench” explained Yeates. “One of them was as swollen and as red as a cricket ball. So the Doc drained it there and then and I went back on.”
As you do.
So as the ball bounced to commence the battle for supremacy in 1989 Yeates charged at Brereton and cleaned him up; cleaned him up beautifully. It wasn’t so much an eye for an eye as it was a spleen for a testicle. The principle’s the same.
Ablett kicked nine that day but Brereton rose from his agony and Hawthorn won. What a game. What a story.
The Friday night game was another chapter in the story.
The Hawks were 51 points down early in the second quarter and gone for all money. The Cats were sensational. They squeezed the Hawks around the packs then found a way to break free and cause havoc. Johnno was tormenting them, Hawkins was busting packs open, Pods was playing a superb decoy role keeping Gibson away from the contests, and the big O was working harder than I’ve ever seen a journeyman ruckman toil.
But someone forgot to tell the Hawks that you can’t win from that far back. They kept coming booting five goals to end the second quarter. The game was alive again and the pulse was racing. Mitchell marshalled the troops, Sewell began to extract the ball from the stoppages, and the much vaunted Hawk forward line clicked. They snuck up on the Cats like a crocodile stalking a wildebeest, waiting for the killer moment. Six goals became three, became two, became one.
Incredibly they got the lead with only minutes to go when Sewell seemingly stabbed the Cats through the heart. Hawthorn shots at goal missed, Young hit the post with a frantic snap out of a pack, Mitchell and Selwood smacked into each other so hard that Selwood crashed to ground and, crucially, Mitchell went off with the blood rule. However it seemed the Hawks would hang on as the ball was trapped in their forward fifty. The lead was only 2 points but the Cats could not break the Hawthorn scrum. This would be a famous victory.
The Hawks only needed to put on the finishing touches. Puopolo tried to kick the sealer out of mid air. He was stiff. The ball hit the inside of his boot and went straight to Mackie rather than through for a score. Mackie found Duncan who kicked to Johnno. Johnno did the low percentage but match winning thing; he kicked into the centre. Selwood, probably still hearing bells after the clash with Mitchell, held a tough mark, charged goal ward and hit Hawkins on the chest as he stormed out from centre half forward. It was football at its finest; clinical skills and superb execution wrapped up in total belief.
Could he? Fifty five metres out. No probably not. The clock ticked. Ten seconds to go. Hawkins thought about kicking it to Bartel in the pocket then checked himself. His decision was made. This kick was his.
“Have a go” we yelled to Tommy. That’s all we could ask.
Siren.
I wander what Yeates was thinking at that moment? Was Brereton watching?
Hawkins hears the siren in mid run-up. He doesn’t hesitate, runs through the kick, and launches a bomb. He’s a young bloke off a farm with thighs as thick as a hay bale, a bloke who finishes his sentences with raised eye brows, a kid who is starting to believe that this football caper is his. He sends the ball on its way and watches the kick with mouth open, like he’s just set eyes on a new bike on Christmas morning. As the ball closes in on its target his mouth forms an “O”, his arms lift over his head, teammates jump all over him.
What a game. What a story.
I can’t wait for his recount at the All Nations in about 20 years.

About Damian O'Donnell

OK - which is the odd one out: Love the Cats and flannelette shirts, especially in winter. I get on extremely well with red wine. We just seem to hit it off. Love horse racing in Spring. Used to love cricket. Go to Stawell every Easter and contemplate life around the fire. Love water skiing, especially in summer. Get meaning from catching a beautiful curling wave. Love a great oil painting. Will read most things put in front of me. Thought 'The Sopranos' was the best TV show ever made - by miles. Run an accounting practice in Melbourne's suburbs.

Comments

  1. Neil Belford says:

    It was electrifying Dips – As it happens I was sitting with a Geelong-College educated wheat farmer who turned back to the rest of us after it went through and said laconically with raised eyebrows and a smile

    Never in doubt.

  2. Loved the Hawkins reaction as the ball was in flight. Pure joy and disbelief. Was that really me who kicked it?
    The last quarter was like one of those Freddie Kruger Friday the 13th movies. He’s really dead isn’t he – surely this time he’s dead??? Aargh……
    Good idea having the All Nations open a nursing home wing for geriatric Knackers.

  3. Just checked out the Led Zep soundtrack.
    “No Quarter” for the Cats.
    “Heartbreaker” for the Hawks.
    ‘”Dazed and Confused” for my Eagles.

  4. Peter…
    “Babe I’m gonna leave you” for Travis Cloke ???

  5. Neil – it never was in doubt. However Hawkins normally has a left to right curl. That kick went right to left!

  6. Dips, In the end it was ‘Hawk buries Hawks’. What a great game.

    Mark Yeates’ testicle draining story brought a tear to the eye at lunch on Friday. Always thought he showed plenty of balls as a Geelong footballer. Now we have supporting testimony.

  7. Dips,

    fire roaring (big log) sea roaring (big surf) Phantom roaring (big last kick) and all was well by the small screen in the thylacine free fibro shack on Friday night.

    It is also strongly rumoured that one of the galss doors at the WFC bar went very glose to smashing as it was almost wrenched off it’s hinges by the evacuating, Anglo Saxon word for bipartisan pleasure screeming, Hawk supporter who was only the week before demandind bets and offering the Hawks ten goals plus to win.

    He was not at the local game on Saturday. The opening of the trout season seemed to take priority.

  8. NEWS FLASH!

    The American robotic vehicle has just landed on Mars.

    NASA is reporting that it was greeted by a group of little green men who immediately asked: “Has Hawthorn beaten Geelong yet?”

  9. Phanto – Friday night in your shack sounded like the perfect Tullamore Dew evening.

    Did you replay the 2007 Preliminary Final last quarter?

  10. No Dips.

    Went to bed laughing so much I could not get to sleep for hours. Too many red ‘jelly babies’ and too much fun just before bed time makes you hypo.

  11. Those for MRP sitings will hurt us Dips.

    1) Chappy for striking Hair Infusion’s elbow with his chin

    2) JPod for striking Hair Infusion’s elbow with his throat.

    3) Little Allan for striking %%#??*^^ ‘s elbow with his chin.

    4) and Taylor Hunt for viciously striking the receiver’s hand with his face while lying (T H) on his back on the ground.

    I also loved that Hawk throw in the second 1/4 in our goal square that was unsighted.

  12. Hair Infusion has learnt nothing from his little dance with Selwood. He’s no choir boy..

    Of all those Chappy is in the most peril. Especially after Hair Infusion shows the MRP the big bruise on his elbow.

  13. I said a month ago that we would soon see what the AFL’S intention is regarding preferred teams.

    Shiels one week is a disgrace, should be 3.

    Guerra’s two raised elbows – yes look at them closely – show that the AFL are not going to discourage going the bash and I am sure I saw No 14 for Hawthorn bend over Taylor Hunt and hit him in the face.

    The MRP are obviously not serious. They quite blatently target some players and not others.

    I am maybe a bit titchy after seeing one Wynyard player kicked in the head while on the ground on Saturday.

    At least the player was reported by two umpires and has pleaded guilty.

  14. For fear of appearing to be just another raptor lurking around the chopper upperer at a sky funeral I am pleased that Boak wants to come back home and play with the Cats Dips.

    I hope the appropriate amount of baksheesh can be negotiated to get him into the blue and white hoops next year.

    Local boy comes good and all is a happy ending story.

  15. I notice there is still a fair amount of tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth regarding the non payment of a free kick to Squirrel late in the game.

    I hear no complaint regarding the blatent dropping the ball incident in the Cats goal square, in the second quarter, freeing Squirrel up to set up a goal the gave the Hawks momentum and there is no noise about the four seperate wacks to the heads of Cats players that received only one review and and a total of one week’s suspension.

    Curious.

  16. Phanto – curiouser and curiouser.

    I’m still spewing about the Fred Swift free kick in 1967!!

  17. So is the bloke who had to swerve to miss Freddy in the FJ Holden in Punt Road as he took the mark.

    Apparently the bloke on the gate made him pay to get back into the ground to take his kick.

  18. Dips, I am not sure if I haven’t sleuthed out the reason for the MRP’s reluctance to stamp out the Hawk head beaters last week. There was a quote from Andrew in the Age today.

    “League boss Andrew Demetriou has promised severe punishment if the allegations are proven. ”Any issue that involves integrity of the code, any issue, is something we should thump on the head,” he said.”

    Obviously the way in which Taylor Hunt, Chappy, Jpod and young Allan were playing compromises the integrity of the game.

  19. Phanto – agree. Any player who chins another player in the elbow should get weeks.

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