AFL Round 16: Now I hate Hawthorn as well

By Andrew Fithall

Helen hates Hawthorn. As a Geelong supporter, she has endured too much pain. The dull ache of 1989 endures. The pain of 2008 is more recent, more acute, and much less likely to ease. Our daughter Ursula is also a Cat, but at 12, doesn’t yet really understand that you never regain lost opportunities.

Me? 1966 hurts, and the pain was aggravated a couple of years ago at a mutual friend’s 50th birthday party when Helen flagrantly danced with Barry Breen. I glared while he looked back and held up a fore-finger in his version of the one-fingered salute. One point. 1970 hurts even more because we should have won and the loss was to Carlton. And all those other grand finals lost. But Hawthorn has never really been hated by Collingwood supporters. Hawthorn kindly took a breather in 1990. Watching them demolish the Eagles at Waverley in 1991 I was happy they hadn’t been our Grand-Final opponents a year earlier.

The six of us ventured to the MCG on Saturday night – the two Geelong supporters with the four Magpies. The first discussion is, do we go to the fence and risk the forecast showers, or head up and under-cover? Weather protection wins out and we find seats front row on the top deck on the Members’ wing.

The first quarter is fairly even from a scoring perspective, but I voice my frustrations with umpires who apply different rules for different parts of the ground. The quarter-time score has Hawthorn up 22 to 15, but the signs are not good. Franklin has already been awarded one soft free kick against Presti while at the other end Cloke is not awarded a well-held mark. More ominous is that Hodge has had 10 disposals and taken 7 marks.

The second term is better for the Pies and this is reflected on the scoreboard with 5 goals to 2 for the period. The players have been good at forcing the contested ball forward without necessarily taking possession, while the forwards have battled hard to keep the ball in the danger zone. An interesting half-time statistic has Collingwood ahead in the free-kicks, 13 to 9. However, what the scoreboard didn’t show was the percentage of frees paid as a function of frees earned. By my calculation Hawthorn led this statistic 117% to 41%. Collingwood take an 11-point lead into half-time.

The third quarter begins well for Hawthorn as Bateman finds Mitchell, surrounded by six Collingwood players, inside 50. Goal. A Luke Hodge torp from inside the centre square bounces through and already the Hawks are in front. Collingwood are having too much difficulty clearing from the back line, whether by hand (Toovey’s intercepted handpass) or by foot (Heath Shaw out-on-the-full). The Hawthorn onslaught does not abate as they kick 7 goals 3 behinds to Collingwood’s 2 behinds for the quarter. The three quarter-time hard-ball-get numbers has Hawthorn ahead 53 to 32. That seems about right!

Five goals adrift with a quarter to play, as an occasionally optimistic supporter, I still held some hope. That flickering flame was snuffed within 32 seconds when Franklin goaled. Nathan Brown has been one Collingwood winner for the evening but he has left the ground injured. His opponent, Roughead,  receives a free kick and kicks his first. Collingwood’s first goal for the half doesn’t come until the 9-minute mark of the last quarter. It is to John Anthony – his first for the night. Other noted goal-kickers: Dick, Didak (didn’t cope at all well with close-checking), Cloke, Thomas and Davis didn’t add to their season tallies at all. After Mitchell replies for Hawthorn, Ben Johnson comes to the bench, hopefully for the rest of the year. Hawthorn kicked six goals to four in the last, making it thirteen goals to four for the second half. The 45-point final margin is an accurate representation of the teams’ performances on the night.

Hawthorn’s stars have shone. The previous week’s last quarter revival against North Melbourne has endured and they did resemble more closely the reigning premiers that they are. Collingwood were disappointing and need to get it back together against Carlton this Friday. Like any good Collingwood supporter, I hate Carlton. And after Saturday night, I also hate Hawthorn.

About Andrew Fithall

Probably the most rational, level-headed Collingwood supporter in existence. Not a lot of competition mind you.


  1. Know how you feel.

  2. Danielle says

    i only hate them when they beat us, otherwise i like them.

  3. Andrew Starkie says

    Andrew, I apologise wholeheartedly for my ridiculous pro-umpire comment in this week’s matchreport. Your criticism is noted and deserved. I feel I have let down all Rooboys. I will try harder to to be more Collingwood like in future.

    I’m travelling up to Brisbane this week and hoping for a win against Michael ‘Italkaboutmyselfinthethirdperson’ Voss’ Lions.

    Go Rooboys

  4. Andrew Starkie says

    Andrew, have just read your match report – more fun than correcting essays – and have noticed a pattern emerging. Do you have a problem with umpires? Were you wrongly penalised in front of goal in U14’s?

    I think North ran the Hawks abck into form – we’re good at that

  5. Andrew Fithall says

    Andrew Starkie – I cannot dispute your observation. It is an affliction I have been aware of for some time but have not been able to successfully combat. Maybe going to tonight’s Carlton Collingwood game will help – but I doubt it. Because I know those mongrels will murder us. And I am not talking about Carlton. Ooops. There I go again. If I write a report on tonight’s game, please check for any umpire references. And also any reference to Rufus. But that is another story.


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