AFL Round 12 – Carlton v Hawthorn: Shambolic frolic

By Peter Blenkinsop

My son plies his under-10’s trade at Flagstaff Hill footy club these days,  in Adelaide’s southern suburbs. Its favourite son is the Bulldogs’ Adam Cooney.

Jazza is lucky to have as his coach Andrew Brockhurst – formerly of South Adelaide and Fitzroy.

Training is on Friday nights .. and Brocky’s program is a well-balanced mixture of skills, hard work and fun for the lads.

This particular Friday evening saw Flaggies’ training clash with the Hawthorn-Carlton clash.

I took solace from the biting cold in the clubrooms where I could watch training through the window, and with a simple cock of my head – see the big screen on the wall.

The Flaggy boys started with a simple kick and catch, leading from goal to receive the pass, and then return the favour to the next in line.

This seemed to coincide with the simple gameplan of Hawthorn – kick straight to the forward line, and then goal. Roughhead, Franklin and Gunston obliged with three in the blink of an eye.

That worked well, then Brocky got the witches hats out and this seemed to affect the Hawks – who did their own witches’ hats impression as Carlton started to run rings around them, with goals to Casboult, Garlett and Tuohy.

The Blues had found their composure, pegging the Hawks back as the quarter wound up and the Flaggy lads had their first drinks break.

Brocky then put the kids in two lines and punted the footy to them, getting them to compete one on one. As I glanced up at the telly, Mick Malthouse had the same idea, restricting the Hawks free-running game by getting his charges to go man on man.

Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge administered his own dose of man on man medicine, sending his Carlton counterpart Marc Murphy to hospital after a boneshaking collision.

Carlton wouldn’t lie down though as Gibbs played a blinder on Breust and Chris Judd dashed and flashed across the ground in his 250th. His critical goal just before half-time making his team-mates walk tall as he’d done countless times before in his remarkable career.

The Blues determination to stave off a tenth consecutive loss to Hawthorn  continued however – ably assisted by utterly shambolic behaviour from several Hawks. A loose ball spilled into Carlton’s forward line, Gibson and Stratton bumped into each other, fell over, and Eddie Betts strolled in to goal.

Meanwhile at Flaggies under-10’s the boys were doing a drill where they went two on two handballing to each other, playing keepings-off.  I didn’t notice any of them crashing into each other and coughing up the pill.

The kids tired of that after a while so they moved on to another skills exercise – kicking on their non-preferred boot. Some struggled with the concept, most couldn’t see the use in trying, given preferred-boot kicking is such a challenge at age ten.

On cue, Captain Inspirational swooped on a contested ball on a wing and without breaking stride, speared a fifty metre pass on his non-preferred to a rapid Jack Gunston in the goalsquare – who popped it through and the Hawks fans paid homage madly.

Keeping young lads interested is an arduous task for a footy coach. Glance at twenty-odd spindly kids training and you’ll see them giving each other wedgies, farting in each other’s face, tripping, donkey kicks, giving Chinese burns, playing leapfrog, throwing dirt, and dropping each other – preferably flat on the moosh.

So it was as the Flaggies boys neared the end of training – and the symmetry with the telly game continued. Jarred Waite – who’s retained his particular brand of youthful ill-discipline – absolutely hammered Duryea into the turf after he kicked the ball.

This allowed Roughead to put the Hawks in front and caused Malthouse to fiddle distractedly with his headphones and wonder why there were no phones to chuck.

As the game turned for the final stretch, the gut running of the Hawthorn medico is worthy of a mention. On two occasions in the third quarter, not only did he find space, but he provided a leading option for a Carlton player on the fat side. And to their credit, first Scotland and then later Simpson both honoured his leads.

It infuriated Micky and the Carlton fans, but it was pure vaudeville as these two Carlton players spotted a loose option – wearing dark clothing – before pumping the ball to him.  That was his cue to then sprint back to the Hawthorn medical bench. It was a heart-warming gesture from a member of a caring profession. Mick was outraged!

The final quarter saw the Blues give an early yelp with a goal from Dennis Armfield – but by then the Hawthorn machine cranked up a gear to take control.

Brocky’s final drill had the boys trying to kick the footies into four big buckets from 15 metres away. The reward was a handful of lollies. Jazza’s radar was working and he was one of the few to get a sugar hit.

At Docklands Buddy put the game beyond doubt with a couple of nice accurate goals. His reward was to see his team regain top spot after a scrambling 15-point win.

It was also a nice touch by Hodgey to send a message of concern to a brave Marc Murphy as the poor bloke sucked his supper through a straw with a fractured jaw.


CARLTON         4.2    8.5    11.6    13.9 (87)
HAWTHORN     4.4    6.6    11.8    15.12 (102)

Betts 3, Waite 2, Casboult, Robinson, Tuohy, Gibbs, Kreuzer, Judd, Rowe, Armfield
Hawthorn: Roughead 4, Franklin 4, Gunston 3, Hale, Mitchell, Hodge, Hill

Gibbs, McLean, Judd, Simpson, Kreuzer, Waite, Robinson, Tuohy
Hawthorn: Mitchell, Roughead, Birchall, Hodge, Gunston, Franklin, Lake, Stratton

Umpires: Stevic, Nicholls, Chamberlain
Official crowd: 45,670

Almanac votes: 1) Mitchell 2) Gibbs 3) Hodge


  1. Though a long-time Hawk supporter happy with the win , i think Carlton was dudded. On the end of a few bad umpiring decisions , and that Hawk runner hovering deceptively is plain cheating. Surprised no more heard or made of it. Non=playing staff on the field should be in clearly identifiable colours. That’s the rationale behind those dreadful “clash” strips. I hate all those extraneous people running around the field anyway. Neither Rugby code , nor Nogginball have them .

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