AFL Round 11 – Hawthorn v GWS: Hawks get the job done… just

Hawthorn v Greater Western Sydney

Melbourne Cricket Ground, 4.40pm, Sunday 1/6/2014


“Did they get on the beers last night or something?”

This was a question I received from one of the few supporters in the Members who had decided to brave the stereotypical wet and cold Melbourne weather to see a scrappy contest between the Hawks and the Giants. The attendance of only 18,000 predominantly Hawthorn supporters reflected just how much interest there was in this particular fixture from the two supporter bases involved, let alone the wider football community. The brave souls who did come along were treated to a game which left the reigning premiers fans pulling their hair out and Giants fans encouraged but flustered all at once.

The late withdrawals of Lewis and Stratton gave the impression that the Hawks had taken the opportunity to manage some of their better players. Add these two to an injury list containing McEvoy, Mitchell, Lake, Gibson and Rioli and the holes that are left appear gaping. None the less as Alistair Clarkson voiced last week, good sides don’t use injuries as an excuse for loses, instead banking on second-tier players to step up and perform to get the four points which, eventually, is what happened.

The Hawks kicked the first in rapid time and one could have been forgiven for thinking that the contest could have been done by the first break. To the Giant’s credit however, they held firm and at times looked much cleaner than a side that prides itself on its precision and efficiency by hand and foot. Gunston, Smith and Roughead all had goals to quarter time; but it was the Giants who held a 6 point lead. ‘No matter, we’ll get on top eventually’ I thought to myself. This after all was a side that had come off of two consecutive 100+ point beltings at the hands of the Eagles and the all-at-sea Tigers.

Inconsistency would be the big issue for GWS fans. How can a side be beaten by a combined 224 points in their last two games and then get within 7 points of the reigning premiers? This is the deficiency that the Giants have to address if they want to start challenging for finals or win a flag: the gulf between their best and their worst is still far too wide.

The second quarter was of much the same standard as its predecessor. Goals were kicked either way and whenever it appeared that the Hawks could get a roll-on and kick a few in a hurry, GWS shut them down with good defensive football or attacked and hit the scoreboard. The half time break arrived and the Hawks now had their noses in front by seven points. I reassured myself that interim coach Brendon Bolton would give the Hawks a good rev-up during the main break and that things would improve.

Boy was I wrong. The hair follicles on my head got a good pulling in the third quarter as Hawthorn played in a manner that was very un-Hawthorn like (hence the question from the punter near me, mentioned at the start of this piece). They fumbled constantly which resulted in turnovers and chances that went begging, and the accuracy by foot which has been and still is their trademark seemed to have evaporated into the cold Melbourne air. Take nothing away from the Giants though, they looked razor-sharp at times and eluded the Hawks to win the quarter and trail by just the one point at the final change.

The small crowd was getting increasingly frustrated and nervous as the last quarter wore on. Slow play around the boundary line by the boys in a predominantly brown strip was booed and frustrations and advice (including my own) were vented. The Hawks eventually held on to kick three goals to the Giants two in the final term and hang on for the win.

Credit to the Giants though, after watching through the highlights of their previous game against the Tigers, I, nor many others, thought that they were capable of putting in the performance that they did. They were plucky and courageous but probably lacked experienced heads in the final term when it really mattered. But that will come as their list matures and the side becomes a little more settled. They certainly didn’t lose any fans.

I didn’t stick around for the post-game song or interviews on the big screen, there simply weren’t many reasons to celebrate. I was not short of friends either, it had been a frustrating night for many, mirrored by the comments that came to ear as I and many other Hawks fans shuffled through Yarra Park to the Richmond train station:

“Well that was pretty ordinary.”

“We do have quite a lot of our best line-up out.”

“Oh well, we didn’t come expecting too much.”

“Things will pick up; we’ll take the four points and move on.”

Too right.


HAWTHORN                                 3.2     7.5     11.6     14.10 (94)

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY     4.2     6.4     11.5     13.9 (87)


Hawthorn: I. Smith 4, Gunston 4, Breust 2, Roughead 2, Sewell, Langford

Greater Western Sydney: D. Smith 4, Hoskin-Elliott 2, Patton, Palmer, Shiel, Cameron, Palmer, Patton, Treloar


Our Votes:

3 – Isaac Smith – Hawthorn

2 – Jack Gunston – Hawthorn

1 – Devon Smith – GWS

About Jeremy Hill

Devoted Hawthorn supporter and University Blacks footballer who spends more time watching, reading and writing about sport than is considered healthy. Like most people my age, I'm 20.


  1. Grant Fraser says

    Jeremy I hope people do not buy into the “Hawks fans think they have it in the bag so stayed a home” theory. I arrived in car (unusual for me but lunch in Mentone prior) just as the ball was bounced, only to find everyc car park gate I approached was closed. There was no way I was cruising the back streets of East Melbourne for goodness knows how long to find a park and then trying to entice whinging 5 year old to keep up and avoid the rain on the way to Gate 2. So went home.
    Having said that, as to the footie – with 2 more outs before commencement and Hale lost during play I thought it was not a bad effort from Box Hill Plus.

  2. Rick Kane says

    Hi Jeremy

    We’ll take the 4 points and move on just about sums up the game. (Whitecross is also on the injury list and Anderson). We have to endure 6 – 8 weeks (counting PA and GWS games) of a depleted playing list and then hopefully, they all come back fitter, leaner and hungrier for the time out. If we can win 5/3 over this period (currently we are 1/1) then we should be fine to build momentum as we head into the pointy end. Still, trying times indeed.


    By the way, who of our younger brigade stepped up?

  3. Grant Fraser says

    The Tippler (Angus Liquorland) was by all accounts responsible for the best goal square stymie since Nick had his boot polished in the Big Dance of 2010.

  4. ned_wilson says

    Rick – Angus Litherland just about won the game single-handedly from my view by the fire.

  5. Jeremy Hill says

    Litherland was very good in the last quarter – didn’t get a lot of the footy but impacted a lot of contests with spoils and third-man-ups.

    I thought Hartung was ok, he made a few errors but he gave us a bit more run through the middle a various stages.

    Hill still tries to do a little too much at times, given the surface was slippery last night he just needed to take a bit more care with his disposal, but he was far too quick for GWS when he got goal side of his direct opponent.

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