AFL Round 1 – Hawthorn v Brisbane: It Begins: Flying Friendly Skies



 Launceston - river

It begins: Flying friendly skies.

Hawthorn versus Brisbane

4.40pm, Saturday 22 March Aurora Stadium, Launceston

Paul Campbell

176 days after glory, the Hawks began their premiership defence in Launceston. ‘Premiership defence’ a misnomer of course – it can neither be defended nor lost. The focus now is upholding position, performance and earning the opportunity to challenge again.

Hugh and I are keen fly-in, fly-out supporters. We arrived mid-morning and were greeted by radiant Tasmanian sunshine calling for an alfresco lunch and the donning of baseball caps. Felt like Noosa today.

Under a blue sky and on green grass, I watched the unfurling of Hawthorn’s 2013 flag. A slightly bemused Brian Lake escorting the flag around Aurora Stadium in the back of a Ute. As ideas go, it worked its arse off.

The match began with hustle and open play. Before Brian could park the Ute, Tom Rockliff put Sam Mitchell on his backside and then followed up with a goal that would have bothered Mitchell more.

The Hawks first of 2014 was from a first gamer, Tim O’Brien, in a number of eminent suitability for a Hawks forward. He marked and kicked beautifully from beyond 50. O’Brien did not emulate the debut of Dermie, but showed poise and promise.

Slick Hawthorn transition, covered the field to put Luke Breust on the board and then it was Green to Brown, for the great Lion’s first. As bright sunshine beat down, these teams were fairly beating into each other, Paparone crunching Hodge on the quarter-time siren.

Hawthorn gradually took control in the 2nd with their ball use. However, with the dappling of sun and shade came a Lions’ resurgence that brought it back to a 2-point margin. The Hawks responded, as you would expect from a team with a flag on a Ute.

Later highlights included Jonathan Brown’s fearless run-back-with-the-flight mark. It was signature work from the champ, who finished with 4 goals today (I was glad to see him one last time). And then in fading light, a three-grab effort from Roughead, coming from too far under, hovering and tipping to own advantage. He could play for the Clippers, Roughy.

After singing the song and enjoying Vindaloo, we were back at Launceston Airport. Inside some of Hawthorn’s football operations department were in huddle. Then the players rolled in. Some of you may have experienced this. I have only ever seen players sparsely at a family day, not like this.

As a supporter of a certain age, I noted the moseying players were appreciably younger. Easy to forget, believing they fly out of the Justice League on weekends. I sipped coffee and pretended I didn’t know who they were while wearing a Hawks jacket.

A young Hawk politely inquired after a spare stool. “Of course,” I replied.

I watched with sideways glances as players boarded. Clarko cheerfully handed Brian Lake leftover bottles of water. Lake kindly passed one to me – a shout from a Norm Smith Medalist.

Only Hugh and I were left at the gate until… footsteps. I turn around. Hodge.

“After you,” I gestured like a grinning idiot. “No, don’t be silly,” came the gentlemanly response.

It’s a blur after that, passing 22 of my idols on a dimly lit plane. Surreal doesn’t describe –squeezing past with “Sorry Roughy” and hearing “That’s alright mate”, before face-to-face again with Hodge (he boarded from the rear).

Scuttling back of plane, behind analysts and media to the last row, I passed Campbell Brown and Matthew Lloyd sitting and chatting. Friendly. Like never was heard a discouraging word.

At home, I regaled the Lovely and Indifferent one with the story. “You loved it,” she said. She knows she’s right. The rest is clunking middle age. As sure as looking in the shaving mirror and seeing your Dad look back. It was a memorable Round 1, on the ground and in the air.



Hawthorn       3.3       7.6       13.8     21.13   (139)

Brisbane         2.1       3.8       8.13     13.13   (91)

GOALS Hawthorn: Breust, Roughead 5; Gunston, Sheils, Smith 2; McEvoy, O’Brien, Mitchell, Suckling, Lewis. Brisbane: Brown 4; West, Rockliff 3; Mayes 2; Green.

BEST    Hawthorn: Shiels, Birchall, Roughead, Breust, Lewis, McEvoy. Brisbane: Rockliff, Zorko, Redden, Lester, Brown, Green.

            UMPIRES         Donlon, Hay, McInerney.     CROWD 12,430

            OUR VOTES     Shiels (H) 3, Roughead (H) 2, Brown (B) 1.

            BROWNLOW    Shiels (H) 3, Roughead (H) 2, Birchall (H) 1














About Paul Campbell

Lawyer, left footer. Loves the Hawks and follows a few U.S sports.


  1. aussie80s says

    Nice work Paul.

    I never see players when leaving the ground and the last time I walked near one after a game was in 1985 walking out of VFL Park after a Hawthorn v Fitzroy game and being alongside Terry Wallace.

  2. Thanks PC, excellent account of the game’s highlight – the plane trip home (with no disrespect to our Southern friends). The game was a good one to run a few players in, as you say.

    Interestingly, we came up with three different players (5 Hawkers) in the Our Votes section for our respective reports. Which might say something about the spread of talent the Hawks have developed across the field. Now for the Bombers!


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