AFL Preliminary Final – Hawthorn v Port Adelaide: X for the unknown and treasure

Preliminary final 2: MCG, Hawthorn v Port Adelaide, MCG, 4.45 pm, 20 September


My ‘best available’ ticket for the prelim put me in row X, in M7 just around from the Punt Road goals, bottom level. I assume it will be in a Hawks members’ section, but you never know.

On the day I wandered around Richmond a bit, adding money to my myki at Burnley Station, picking up a six-pack of craft beers on Bridge Rd, and getting take-away from Schnitz. A late lunch was suited to the silly 4.45 start. The previous times I’d bought a similar meal before a Hawthorn game this year, the Hawks had won. Sighted on Bridge Road was a family of 4 all kitted out in Port gear, but heading away from the G. Interesting, but I’ll take any omen.

I take my seat about 4.10, with both teams warming up. The adjacent seats are already occupied, but there are 5 empty rows in front of me. Strangely they remain mostly empty for the length of the match. My row fills up, including the usual dicks who believe the quickest way to seats 15 and 16 out of 18 are via 1, 2, 3 and so on. The teams go off, the teams come back on with Port on first. The banners read as follows: Port – front: Never give up, never give in, we’ve got the power to win; back: be bold and brave, we are Port Adelaide. Hawthorn–front: Congratulations 50 games Hill, Spangher; back: Seize, own, live, #everymoment

The Port cheer squad behind the goals, just to my right, and their supporters behind on this bottom level, and up in the stand above, are surprisingly noisy. Reminiscent of their home ground? They are waving the ‘Never tear us apart’ scarves. This week’s Footy Record is $10 as was the one for the Qualifying final, but I feel it has better value for the money, such as that is. The game is not a sell out, large gaps in the Southern stand and the Ponsford, and gaps still in front of me. Mainly Hawks supporters where I am, a few bays look mostly Port, and I’d guess about two-thirds are mixed.

Now here’s the notes I wrote as I watched the game.

Why is Birchall kicking out? Got what it deserved, Port goal. Coast to coast, Roughead goals. Change to Burgoyne kicking out, now Suckling, finally a free to us, Mitchell to Ceglar, but 1 point. Hawks handball happy, Port goal. [quarter time]

Hawks have had more tackles, but frees 1-5. Countdown clock to the bounce, I haven’t noticed that before. Free to Gunston off ball (!?) goal, 50 m to Duryea – goal! Great Duryea tackle, Suckling goal. Schulz too fast for Lake, goal, Smith goal, Hill should have run harder and marked not let it bounce, run from Burgoyne, great goal Roughead [half time]

There’s that countdown to bounce clock on the scoreboard again; dance cam includes a dance-off by the mascots. Port back on ground first, frees now 11-7, tackles 33-23. Goal Port, Good tackle Shiels, goal Roughead, Gibson on Westoff – big height difference. Gibson leaps but misses completely, Monfries marks and goals. Westoff outplays Gibson, goal. Port fans boo Burgoyne and clap his point. Hale snaps, goal. Roughead follows up his own kick, goal. Terrible advantage call. [three-quarter time] Port team all standing during the break, Hawks have a lot on the ground getting worked on.

Port sub announced: on Moore, off Trengove. Simpkin sub on for Hawks, Lewis off. Birchall still kicking in, Smith goal. Play stopped finally for injured Hombsch. Rubbish free to Monfries, goal. Goal review, goal to Port. We win.

Back to after the fact commentary now. Not much written at the end there, too busy just watching what I could see of the play. Fans from both sides leaping to their feet in front and around me most of the time. The free kick count swung wildly, favoring both sides in the quarters they won. I’d also question whether 15 steps is still travelling or not these days. Why are Hawthorn making such hard work of winning preliminary finals these last few years?

So the composition of my surrounding crowd in row X was answered, the match provided some moments to treasure (or maybe Roughead gold), and I’d better see about getting a Schnitz meal next week.


Hawthorn 15 7 97

Port Adelaide 13 16 94


Best: Hawthorn – Roughead, Hodge, Mitchell, Langford, Smith, Hill, Stratton

Best: Port Adelaide – Boak, Ebert, Gray,Hoimbsch, Jonas, Monfries


Goals: Hawthorn-Roughead 6, Gunston 2, Smith 2, Hale, Langford, Suckling, Duryea, Hodge

Goals: Port Adelaide-Monfries 4, Gray 3, Neade, Wingard, Westoff, Boak, Schulz, Polec


Crowd: 74,856


My votes: Roughead 3, Langford 2, Boak 1


About Alan Stewart

My first VFL memory is perched on my grandfather's shoulders watching a game at Glenferrie Oval during the school holidays, probably about 1968. Other football immersion is from many hours assisting my father doing maintenance or selling savs at the Tarrawingee football ground during the 1970s.


  1. Hi Alan

    Good write up mate, wahat a game, but we got there!

    Here’s my take on our Prelims:

    Against the Pies, we did well enough to get to the Prelim … and almost knock over the Pies
    Against the Crows, we had peaked several weeks too early and bodies were starting to show the weariness of a hard season
    Against the Cats, we played the third best team of 2013 and it showed. It was also good prep for the GF.
    Against Power, we played the third best team of 2014 and it showed. It will stand us in good stead for the GF

    Go the mighty Hawks!

  2. Great article. I felt like I was watching the game again! I find preliminary finals so nerve wracking but also the most emotional of the finals games up to the big one. If we win we’re through, if we lose it’s a wasted season. So much rides on that game, the pressure must be enormous for the players.
    So, to Saturday…Bring it on. Can’t wait to get there.
    Go Hawks!

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