AFL Finals Week 1 – Hawthorn v Sydney: The cold taste of concrete

There are bad nights at the footy and then there are shit nights at the footy. Last night was a shit night.

It started so promisingly as I parked my posterior on a nicely padded seat in the Great Southern Stand. It all ended with the cold taste of concrete as some gate attendant inexplicably shut the gate on me ‘mid exit’ causing me to fly over the top (nicole kidman bmx bandits style) and hit the deck suffering a busted ankle.

Good seat, 5 minutes to the bounce, Rioli out, Jetta in. Bliss. Then the crowd arrives, I’m flanked by some hawks man and his kids. Seemed like a nice guy until about 5 minutes in when he calls Malceski a dirty cheat and diver. This is going to be a long night.

A good first quarter, even in the middle, Roughie looks dangerous and Pyke continues to amaze with a deft handball to Tipp for a goal. Tough and hard football as you would expect. I’m distracted by the chicken wire at the top of the G keeping the gulls out. Do you think they gave some poor work experience kid that gig?

The second quarter sees more of the same. Tackle. Chase. Smother. Throw it on the Boot. I love the simplicity of September. Jack throws himself at everything, makes his share of mistakes but you can never question the endeavour. Hanners looks injured. He moves as well as a recent hip replacement patient. The Hawks are playing like a well oiled machine. They kick short and hit targets and maintain momentum.

Half time and some rest from the two dudes sitting behind me who have waged a war with the umps over the free kicks against the Hawks. The count is 9 all for the frees so pretty balanced in my book. Not just hawks fans giving me the shits, A swannie man a few rows up continues to praise Jesse White as the next big thing. From where I sit Hodge is tearing him a new one.

I look at the auskickers and its like looking at a mirror of myself as some 12 year old who is two foot taller than the rest dominates. Takes me back to the day I destroyed Cameron Mooney in the under 13s. Our careers took different paths after that day.

The third quarter and the Hawks are angry. After 10 minutes it appears the contest is all but over. Mitchell is a ball magnet and for once he has it over O’Keefe. The Hawks run overpowers us. Kurt appears at CHB. Perhaps Horse has stepped out of the box for a quick durrie? It is the only explanation I can make for that move.

I’ve just about had enough and make my way to the bottom level anticipating a quick getaway. With a 17 month old who likes to rise at 5.30am and feeling a bit crook I don’t fancy squeezing in amongst 45,000 on the 75 tram and getting home at midnight.

The Hawks slam a couple of quick ones and I’m off.

I try to exit the ground via gate 6 in the Great Southern Stand. I approached a gate attendant and asked how I could exit as the gates were not open. He asked if I intended to come back. I replied no and he advised me to exist through the gate down from his which was manned by another attendant. When I approached the gate was open, however, as I tried to exit the gate shut and I crashed through like Jana Pittman on a bad day (I didn’t blame my stride pattern though).

As I picked myself up off the ground a fellow spectator approached and advised that in his opinion the attendant had shut the gate deliberately on me. The events happened quickly so i could not see what the attendant did, however, the fellow spectator made it clear it was a deliberate act. I am not sure if that spectator worked for Slater and Gordon but I took him at his word.

When I asked the attendant what happened he just looked and said nothing.

Thanks for f–ing nothing I muttered as I limped away. 25 years of good service at the G goes up in smoke.

Perhaps it was karma for leaving my boys to battle the last quarter without me?

The last quarter plays out as I am in the safe hands of 13cabs. Don’t know the final score. Don’t care.

Can we lift next week? Can I lift? Will the Gate attendant give a crap about what happened? Good questions I don’t know the answer to.

About craig dodson

Born in the sporting mecca that is Wagga Wagga and now reside in Melbourne with my lovelly wife Sophie and son's Jack and Harry. Passionate Swans supporter and formally played cricket at a decent level and Aussie Rules at a not so decent level! Spend my days now perfecting my slice on the golf course and the owner of the worlds worst second serve on the tennis course.


  1. Hope the ankle heels quickly CD. Pity you missed the last, it was a cracker. Even better than the third. Hodge on fire as finals get going – I’m happy as!


  2. It was a tough hard contest between to great sides. Just as us Hawks had injuries last year leading into finals it seems to have hit Sydney this year and the second half bore that out.

    I can’t have too much sympathy for Sydney after last year – especially as they are AFL endorsed salary cap cheats to the tune of $1M, which is even paid by the AFL. Cost Of Living? You can’t tell me a litre of milk costs more in NSW than Vic and if it is based on the cost of housing then they should get the same relief in WA and Adelaide’s salary cap will be cut in half. But now I am just starting to sound like the guy who sat next to you.

    I thought the umpiring was generally very good and evenly distributed, although I am not a fan of soft push in the back frees for tackles from behind when it should be holding the ball – but that affected both sides.

    Hope the Swannies recover and we meet in the GF for another classic but we have bigger problems now – Freo just beat Geelong at the cattery and it could be a Haw v Geel PF. To avoid that we would need Collingwood to beat them next week (if they win tonight). Never thought I would barrack for Collingwood in a final.

    Good luck with the ankle.

  3. Good write up.

    Although after Freo’s performance today, its got to be one hell of a lift to go back to back. All the best for the rest of the finals.

  4. craig dodson says

    Ankle a bit sore and sorry but been worse.. hawks way too good last night and its a long way back for the swannies.

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