AFL Round 2 – West Coast v Hawthorn: No retreat, baby, no surrender

By Peter Blenkinsop

I had the great fortune of seeing Bruce Springsteen in Sydney recently, a live performer up there with the very best. I was still on a high when the Hawks flew to the west to peck at the Eagles and couldn’t help but view the game through the prism of the boss’s rich lyrical landscape.

With just a 6-day break after choking (again) against Geelong, Hawthorn headed to The Badlands of Subiaco Oval, determined not to Fade Away as they’d done in round one.

With all the talk of Buddy’s contract and fearing the Ties That Bind may lure him back to My Hometown, Hawks fans were overjoyed when he nailed several early goals.

But you “can’t start a fire without a spark” and that is what livewire Cyril Rioli provided as the likes of Birchall, Bruest and Mitchell pumped the ball into the forward line.

Before long the visitors had blown the game open with a 39-point lead in the first quarter .. young Bradley Hill dancin’ and a flittin to and ‘fro in his tap shoes, not footy boots .. Michael Jackson on a wing.

But there was a pivotal moment in the second quarter that changed the game. Brent Guerra, bursting out of defence with a Hungry Heart to break the lines, “ran like a river that don’t know where it’s flowing”.. then “took a wrong turn and he just kept going.” Right into the clutches of Jack Darling .. allowing Andrew Embley to swoop on the loose ball and goal.

That was the start of a four-goal burst by the Eagles that would cut the deficit to just 14 and give the home fans voice. Josh Kennedy with his vice-like marks and his wacky, stuttering approach to goal kicked two majors during this period.

Guerra also coughed up another possession when he dropped an easy mark .. the commentator said he was looking into the sun and was Blinded By The Light.

After the main break Rioli scored again as did Franklin like “some all-hot half-shot was headin’ for the hot spot, snappin’ his fingers, clappin’ his hands” and leading the defenders a merry dance.

Priddis was a jack-in-the-box all day, very lively around the packs, and became more prominent after his shadow Brad Sewell was subbed off with tight hamstrings.

Again the Eagles gathered themselves and added quick goals, with Josh Hill kicking a couple .. and in the dying stages of the quarter Kennedy raised himself again to kick his fourth and put his side right back in it.

Seconds later Will Schofield tried to keep the momentum going .. but in this instance he wasn’t Born To Run because Hawks skipper Luke Hodge “strapped his hands across his engines” with a great tackle and snuffed out any chance of another Eagles resurgence.

The commentators were full of foreboding at the start of the last quarter, predicting another Hawthorn fadeout in the 32 degree heat, but the Hawks gave their fans a Reason To Believe, by kicking away again.

The floodgates opened as the much-maligned visitors piled on 8 goals to 3 in the last before a hushed Subiaco crowd. “But at the end of every hard day people find some reason to believe.” For the West Coast faithful it will be that the club’s medical staff can heal their injured stars before the season slips further.

The Hawthorn players seemed to finally understand the physical exertion needed for a win at Subiaco’s house of pain ..  ”the price you’ve gotta pay, we’ll keep pushin’ till it’s understood, and these badlands start treating us good.”

Buddy, still wondering whether he’ll stay or go .. basked in the glory of his 5 goals and knows that “when I strut down the street I could feel its heartbeat .. the sisters fell back and said ‘don’t that man look pretty.” He and his club know that with his level of fame .. It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City.  Maybe Perth will be too small.

So as the Hawks romped to a 50-point win .. I could hear Bruce’s voice roaring in appreciation .. “no retreat, baby, no surrender.”

HAWTHORN 6.1 11.2 15.7 23.10 (148)

WEST COAST 1.3 6.6 12.6 15.8 (98)
GOALS: Hawthorn: Franklin 5, Rioli 4, Breust 4, Hill 2, Hale 2, Birchall 2, Roughead 2, Smith, Burgoyne.

West Coast: Kennedy 5, Darling 3, Hill 3, Embley, Gaff, Sinclair, Cripps.
BEST: Hawthorn: Mitchell, Birchall, Hodge, Bruest, Rioli, Schoenmakers.

West Coast: Priddis, Kennedy, Masten, Cox, Hill.

UMPIRES Dalgleish, Rosebury, Margetts.
CROWD: 38,389 at Subiaco.

My Votes

1) Mitchell

2) Birchall

3) Priddis



  1. Congrats to the Hawks. You were Tougher Than the West.

  2. Rick Kane is going to lose his shit when he reads this. Springsteen; Hawthorn; that is all

  3. Rick Kane says

    Well covered Mr PB (even though I find your view of Hawks as chokers hard to swallow). I like that you left your best Springers quote for the comments section.

    I thought you had a chance, describing the last quarter as an Evils fan, through a line from Bruce’s best (IMHO) unreleased song, The Promise: “When the promise is broken, you go on living but it steals something from down in your soul”.

    May your team do a little better this week. I have no doubt we’ll be up against each other later this year.


  4. Mr Kane – I think you’re confusing your Peter B’s. But as I said in my piece I reckon your mob have the tactically smartest coach in the AFL. Shows what a dope Kennet is. I love the way the Hawks set up and move the ball. Be interesting to see what tactics the more astute coaches use to counter your ‘fringe’ players (that is not a criticism, just an observation that the Hawks astutely refuse to overcommit to the contest).

  5. Tactically smartest coach in the AFL is in the West.

    But it aint John Worsfold.

    Can we please stop the Bruce adulation. He is no poet.

    (Ducking for cover and off to bed).

  6. Rick Kane says

    Oops, to both Mr PBs, which an emphasis in the apology to the article’s author. In my defence, I have been rocked gently, these last few days by morphine’s sweet lullaby so …

    Anyways, let me start again

    Well covered Mr PB (even though I find your view of Hawks as chokers hard to swallow).

    And to the other Mr PB, I did like your Springers quote in the comments section. In the context of the report it really was, timing wise, a great punch line. Here I should add that Mr PB, the father of this piece, you certainly kept me amused, laughing, nodding and wanting to go and place Bruce loud as I read along. Immediately on finishing the essay I did play Reason to Believe. Man I love that song.

    The last quarter could be well described for WC Evils fans, using a line from Bruce’s best (IMHO) unreleased song, The Promise: “When the promise is broken, you go on living but it steals something from down in your soul”.

    Having said that, I have no doubt both teams will be up against each other towards the pointy end of the season.


    Side point for both Mr PBs, how was your Springsteen experience?

  7. Rick Kane says

    Mr MOC

    Mock my Mum, hell mock my team but do not, I repeat, do not mock Bruce. We’ll finish this off over a beer.

    For now, bear in mind that Bruce himself has said, “the poets round here don’t write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be”.

    Was he talking about the Bomber’s plight?

    Was he talking about how earnestly Sam Newman defends the rights of individuals to be considered innocent until proven differently (only if they are on his arbitrarily determined side. If not then you should be hung, drawn and quartered and just for laughs)?

    Was he referring to the ever wavering tightrope of myth and reality that the Pies walk?

    I don’t know. I think he was talking about everything man. Or at least the vibe. But he said it pretty poetically, didn’t he?


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