AFL Round 3 – Hawthorn v Fremantle: Home game, sweet home game


‘We’d rather be playing on the MCG’ said the Hawks banner last week, and now it’s easy to see why. What a great first quarter!

I arrived too late to see the premiership flag unfurled (and later footage seen on various shows indicates it was a bit of a blooper reel, sigh) but saw Hale win the toss. At least there were no waiting in a queue and getting to my reserved seat was no problem. Quite a few empty seats around, as there has been for the last few years, and I estimate the crowd as a shade under half full, say 45 000, but there were familiar faces in the row behind. Now I’d like to say I’d recognize them if I passed them in the street, but with only catching up for 3 hours × 7 home games × 3 years, and usually dressed in Hawks paraphernalia, I might not when we have a mufti encounter. We hadn’t seen each other since the last home game in 2013, round 21 against Collingwood. I asked what had happened to the signed football the youngster had managed to get from Max Bailey then, after valiantly moving to the fence in such a hope all year. It turned out that he’d taken it to various après-Grand Final functions and had it signed by more players. They hadn’t received Grand Final tickets in the ballot.

At quarter time I chatted to some other nearby regulars whom I’d sat near during the Preliminary Final win over Geelong, and found out that they had got Grand Final tickets, and had sat in a middle level of the Southern Stand. I’d managed to get standing room tickets, and had been in an area on ground level at the back of the AFL members’ section of the Southern Stand.

By then we’d seen Mitchell get the first point on the board, a Rioli goal, Roughy do a tap to self mark and a Hale goal. Pav got a doubtful mark (just how many other players had touched it before his final grab?) and Freo were a bit more on the scoreboard, but I certainly hadn’t predicted that the Hawks would be up 37-0 in the first quarter, and was very happy at the 30 point margin at the first change.

Freo have activated their sub already (Tom Sheridan on, Garrick Ibbotson off, presumably he is injured as this is pretty early for a fresh energy sub). In the second quarter we saw another deliberate out of bounds against the Hawks (where is the consistency? all these decisions this game went just the one way). Gunston was having a quiet day but took an excellent pack mark. Freo get a goal after a dreadful centre bounce that wasn’t taken back (all those that were happened to be in Hawthorn’s hands at the time). This is more than made up for by the excitement of Langford’s great running goal. The Hawks really really just want the ball more, and they’re getting it and not turning it over. The umpires seem determined to get Freo back into the game paying holding frees at their end, and letting Freo throw a ball out of bounds with no penalty, which was countered by a Roughead goal, and it is half time. The margin is now 57 points and the Hawks’ 77 matches what they kicked in the 4 quarters of the Grand Final!

The third quarter sees another dodgy centre bounce favoring Fremantle, but there’s a magic Rioli mark and goal to savour. Duffield has a good kick to seal a Freo goal. There’s no real crowd atmosphere. Any attempt at a chant or advertising hoarding banging quickly dies out. I think there’s just too many empty seats, and the official crowd of 43 583 displayed on the scoreboard confirms this. Of course there is the cries of Bre-oooo-st at the appropriate times, and some boos for Ballyntyne and Crowley, again at the appropriate times, but there aren’t too many of those today. Spangher seems to be a new crowd fave with cheers every time he spoils or marks.

The final quarter sees both sides a bit tired, more mistakes and the Hawthorn sub is made (Matt Spangher off, and Angus Litherland on). Sandilands touches a ball which falls at his feet (sorry, marks it according to the umpire), but it’s a junk time goal and no one really cares. Hill becomes the twelfth goal kicker for the Hawks. I wonder if that is a club record. Commentary I hear later says that what was a club record was the number of disposals a whopping 492! Looking at the stats the one I found particularly pleasing was the 1 percenters: Hawthorn 71, Fremantle 39.

In the end a great day for the Hawthorn Football Club, and on a personal note, one of the more enjoyable birthday evenings I’ve spent.


Hawthorn                     6.2       12.5     17.7     21.11 (137)

Fremantle                     1.2       2.8      5.10    11.13  (79)



Hawthorn: Breust 3, Smith 3, Puopolo 3, Roughead 2, Rioli 2, Gunston 2, Hale, Birchall, Lengford, Shiels, Suckling, Hill

Fremantle: Pavlich 4, Duffield 2, Ballantyne, D Pearce, Mayne, Sandilands, Crowley



Hawthorn: Mitchell, Hill, Lewis, Langford, Breust, Rioli, Smith, Birchall, Suckling

Fremantle: Pearce, Pavlich, Sandilands, Hill


Umpires: Farmer, Rosebury, Foot


Official crowd: 43 583


My votes: Rioli 3, B Hill 2, Lewis 1

About Alan Stewart

My first VFL memory is perched on my grandfather's shoulders watching a game at Glenferrie Oval during the school holidays, probably about 1968. Other football immersion is from many hours assisting my father doing maintenance or selling savs at the Tarrawingee football ground during the 1970s.


  1. Rick Kane says

    Happy birthday Alan and what a wonderful present. The Hawks smash Lyon’s mongrel of a game plan, again. Watching the game on telly (sadly, wasn’t there to see that first half of magic live) was still pretty exhilarating. And how good is the Hawks spread of players when Mitchell and Smith can’t squeeze into the Votes? Hope this game sets off a great year for you and the Hawks.


  2. daniel flesch says

    Alan , thanks for the match report , but as a longtime – since before the first Flag of 1961- Hawthorn supporter i’m sorry to say there is just a touch too much Hawthorn bias in your account . You sound almost like a Collingwood supporter .I thought Cheney’s penalty for deliberate out of bounds was wrong , but the commentators didn’t. The Pavlich mark for their first goal that you derided was shown on reply to be a fair juggled grab . I didn’t see any bad bounce recall favouring Freo , nor any other favouritism by the umps. They all make mistakes due to the speed of the game , being unsighted or occasionally fooled , but things tend to even out . If Hawthorn had lost due to a bad decision we could complain, but not after such a good win. We are very lucky to be Hawthorn supporters , umpiring is a difficult , thankless but essential task .

  3. Totally agree with Daniel above – no need for the umpire-bashing in this report Alan, especially as it wasn’t badly officiated at all! How you managed all those pot-shots during what was the most brilliant, clinical and ruthless half of Hawks footy, I’ll never know. Save em for when the maggots really cost us (usually against the cats)!

  4. Grant Fraser says

    Was with The Darl in SinCity watching Rion King for her 40th. Tried to get into the Circle of Life but found myself distracted and twitchy. Half time, er sorry, intermission and I humbly request she fire up the smart phone. Hawks 12, sorry make that 13, goals to Freo 3. WHAT??!! Contented smile on the face, was happy to sit through the rest of the show until the final stanza when Simba (wearing #33) lays a huge tackle on Scar and sends him to the ground. “Ball” say I, sotto voce.

    Alan, thanks for the report from one who was there – for what a scribe describes as our “finest hour”

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