AFL Round 14: Please keep those Hawks to nought

By Damian Watson

For me, it has been a somewhat relaxing first week of the school holidays mainly consisting of junior football, attending movies, watching hours of sport on that heavenly channel One HD and of course writing for the Almanac. However a busy weekend has seen me attend exquisite American parties as they celebrate Independence Day and my football commitments. This has left me the chance to view only one game this weekend in the season defining clash between the Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn.

The media have branded this match as Hawthorn’s most important for the season as a loss here would almost force the club to throw in the towel for Season 2009 as a finals spot withers away. However the Hawks would come into this important clash undermanned with the absences of Cyril Rioli and Trent Croad with Luke Hodge under an injury cloud. The Bulldogs on the other hand entered the match in red hot form prevailing in six of their last seven matches and they were certainly worthy favorites.

The Doggies began the match in blistering fashion as they displayed the best first quarter anyone has seen for a while as they piled on 9.6 while holding the Hawks to just 2 behinds. While viewing the match on TV I couldn’t help but admire the way Bulldogs played (even If I am a Carlton supporter) as they used a fast, free-flowing and attacking brand of football. The defence held their nerve with players like Brian Lake and Jarrod Harbrow keeping their opponents almost disposal-less and running the off the half back line. The absence of Cyril Rioli certainly hurt the Hawks as their midfielders were continually run down and the Doggies certainly capitalized. Midfielders Adam Cooney, Callan Ward, Jason Akermanis and Daniel Cross picked up plenty of possessions and delivered the ball accurately into the forward line. Shaun Higgins proved he is a star in the making as he kicked two first quarter goals and convincingly defeated Campbell Brown. Forwards Brad Johnson and Scott Welsh also proved handy targets inside 50 as the Bulldogs romped to a 58 point quarter time lead.

The Bulldogs continued on their merry way increasing the margin to 83 by the main break while keeping Hawthorn goalless. Big Will Minson prevailed in the hit outs over Simon Taylor and Hawthorn’s star players had hardly picked up a disposal. The only contribution Buddy Franklin made in the first half was an ineffective kick and hard nosed midfielders Sam Mitchell and Brad Sewell tried hard however they were tackled at every opportunity the Bulldogs had. The Hawks decision-making was woeful in defence and they often faced the consequences as the Dogs kicked four for the term. As a Carlton supporter having witnessed the regular poundings we have received over the past six years, I was enjoying another team taking a hit. I was interested to see how long the Hawks would last without a major on the board, the last time a team failed to boot a goal to full time was in 1961 so I was keen to see it happen.

My hopes disintegrated however at the fourth minute mark of the third term when Jarryd Roughead snuck one home for the Hawks first. Hawthorn managed to win the third quarter kicking four goals to two with Jordan Lewis contributing to the scoreboard as well as winning the hard ball, Buddy Franklin however was having one of those nights as he struggled to get a disposal while playing on Brian Lake, forcing the coach to switch him into defence. The Bulldogs slowed the tempo down however Brad Johnson continued his good form as he snagged a couple of goals and Ryan Griffen failed to let his teammates down as he received and delivered the footy well. The Bulldogs still led by 74 points at the last change as I prepared to will the Bulldogs on to the century margin.

As the final quarter began the Bulldogs once again lifted the tempo as they kicked three straight goals, two of them to the excitement machine Josh Hill who rubbed salt into a very deep Hawthorn wound. The margin blew out to 94 points late in the term however a late Hawthorn goal blew any chance of a 100 point margin.

I know it is mean to laugh at others misfortunes however I couldn’t help but laugh at how far backwards the reigning premiers have come, as they languish in 11th spot on the ladder. On the other side of the coin the Bulldogs are a force to be reckoned with as they can certainly challenge for the premiership alongside ladder leaders St Kilda and Geelong while they are at their peak.

In the final minutes of the game I realised I had seen enough and changed the channel to the movie Scary Movie 4 to continue my laughs for the evening.

Western Bulldogs     9.6   13.10   15.14   19.19 (133)
Hawthorn     0.2   0.4   4.6   6.9 (45)

Western Bulldogs:
Johnson 3, Welsh 3, Higgins 3, Akermanis 2, Hill 2, Boyd 2, Gilbee, Hahn, Griffen, Minson
Hawthorn: Lewis 3, Roughead 2, Ladson

Crowd: 36,827 at Docklands

My Votes:  3  B.Lake     2. A. Cooney      1. S.Higgins

About Damian Watson

Hey,my name is Damian Watson and I am 14 years old. My ambition is to become an AFL broadcaster/journalist in the future. I am a keen blues supporter and I live in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. I play and write for the Knox Falcons U/16's.


  1. Yea, I was watching the game and I wanted to see the Hawks held goalless as well. It’s not often anymore that you see a “good old thumping” in footy. Such a shame how bad the reigning premiers are this year. A 94-4 scoreline is something you don’t see often, and I hated it when Roughead kicked that goal.

  2. Josh Barnstable says

    I was amazed at how shocking the Hawks were going, but I was delighted at how good the Bulldogs were. Let’s hope North Melbourne can put the final nail in the Hawthorn coffin next week.

  3. Damian Watson says

    Is Cyril Rioli still out next week?
    If so North might be a chance to take the game out, even if it is in the apple isle.

  4. Josh Barnstable says

    I think he was supposed to be out for 4 weeks and he did his hammy in Round 11 so he should be due back but i haven’t heard any news. Hopefully he’s back soon because he adds real zip to the Hawks but i’d like him to have an extra week off.

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