AFL Round 14: Western Bulldogs v Hawthorn: I should have watched Pulp Fiction

By Sasha Lennon

I thought about watching a movie but decided to watch the game.  And now the only way I know how to put myself out of the misery of writing this report is to take a leaf out of Quentin Tarantino’s book and start at the end before cutting back to somewhere near the beginning.

Hawthorn, the reigning premiers were thumped by a whopping 88 points, and unceremoniously so by a classy, confident and determined Western Bulldogs side.  So clean were the Dogs, so seamless was much of their play (perhaps with the exception of a third quarter where the Hawks actually applied some pressure) that it’s hard to pick the red, white and blue’s best of the night.  For the most part, led by Johnson, Gilbee, Griffen, Cooney, Lake, Harbrow, Hargrave, Morris and Murphy, they were all good.

And the Hawks?  Well they were just plain ordinary.  Stunned mullets, rabbits caught in the headlights, inexperienced kids overwhelmed by the occasion of playing against real men, stone cold goalless for a half.  The problem was, despite the excuses, the talk of injuries, players underdone and a premiership hangover, the Hawks had 15 of their 22 premiership players out on the paddock.

The opening quarter was as good as any we’ll see from the genuine premiership contenders in 2009. An incredibly efficient Western Bulldogs side opened with a goal just a minute or so in followed by a barrage that saw a bizarre comedy-of-errors-infused goal by Jason Akermanis give the Dogs their fifth and a 32-point lead at the 20-minute mark.  By quarter-time that lead was extended to 58 points and the brown and gold were in disarray.

The panic of the Hawthorn coaches’ box was evident (and justified) when Luke Hodge started in the middle at the beginning of the second quarter.  And while Hodge was one of the few shining lights for Hawthorn, the move didn’t last long as he was quickly ordered to return to the back line where all the action was and where he was needed most.  But it was to no avail as the Western Bulldogs onslaught continued, first with an emotion-charged goal from Lindsay Gilbee, followed by a lull and then what felt like countless more goals to the Dogs.

Up forward for the Hawks, Roughead tried as did Franklin but such was the dominance of Brian Lake against Buddy that the Hawks’ No.23 looked out of his depth.  By the half-time siren, the Hawks were without a goal and the Western Bulldogs were enjoying a very impressive 84-point lead.

The third quarter started as the second had concluded thanks to a third goal to Higgins for the Western Bulldogs.  Finally the Hawks seemed to get some spark and then Roughead managed Hawthorn’s first major following a nice mark and set shot from just inside 50.  But while Hawthorn’s intensity lifted, the fumbles remained as did the relentless pressure of every Bulldogs player.  When Franklin finally got on the end of one he could only manage a minor score.  The Dogs rebounded effortlessly and with a nice assist from Captain Johnno, Griffen put one through.

Hawthorn managed to start working the Bulldogs backline a little harder when goals were awarded to Lewis and Ladson but another chance went begging after big Buddy dropped a sitter while on the lead.  But another to makeshift forward Lewis and the Hawks had their fourth in what was arguably a respectable quarter.

Lewis kicked another in the final term as did Roughead but goals to Boyd, Josh Hill and Johnno and the highly maintained intensity of every Bulldogs player on the field for the full 100 minutes saw this lopsided affair finish as it started – with a silky-smooth and dominant Bulldogs handing out a footballing lesson to a derelict and dismayed Hawthorn.  I should have watched Pulp Fiction.

Western Bulldogs: 19.19 (133) d Hawthorn: 6.9 (45)

My Votes: Higgins (WB) 3, Griffen (WB) 2, Lake (WB) 1.


  1. danielle says

    Great piece of writing.
    Don’t be discouraged by the loss.
    Im a Collingwood supporter who has been privileged enough to mingled with Sam Mitchell and Campbell Brown.
    Can I just say that they are two really sweet gentlemen, who i didn’t want to leave after i got their autographs.
    Movies are for any day but footy isn’t something to miss out on!

  2. Thanks Danielle. I saw Clarko interviewed on “On the Couch” last night with Gerard Healy and co. and he showed himself to be a man of great perspective and foresight. By the end of the interview I was certain we would make the eight this year and then the top four next year! Good luck to the Pies, they might just fly in under the radar this year, travelling along much like the Hawks of ’08. Cheers

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