AFL Round 5 – Geelong v Hawthorn: It’s All About Feng Shui

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In 1995 my mother was right in to her spiritual phase that normally involved her and her arty housewife friends gathering around a table and talking to spirits and rearranging furniture in to baffling positions at home as part of her way to feng shui the house.

When Geelong played Carlton in the 1995 Grand final she told me that she had white lighted Geelong and they would win. The day following the shellacking given to the Cats by the Blues I asked her in a hungover and agitated state what happened with the white lighting of the Cats. Her reply was she could only white light one player and not the whole team it seemed.

Some of this spirituality/witchcraft has passed down to me. I get very superstitious when it comes to the teams I love and especially superstitious when it comes to the Cats. I won the premiership for Geelong in 2011 by drinking a half glass water then a full pint of beer strictly in that order with one foot up on the support rail at the bar at the Perth Geelong Supporters Club function to ensure we won but where’s my Norm Smith.

Easter Monday always has to go plan to ensure good feng shui to make sure the Cats get the four points. My unfortunate Brisbane supporting friend Kieran always invites myself and my mate Elliot the hate filled Docker up to his place for lunch, beers and to watch the game against the high flying Hawks like we’ve done ever since the AFL lumped these two together in another attempt at creating a ‘traditional clash’ to improve their profit margin.

To ensure Geelong win the events of that first Easter Monday win had to be adhered to. It always has to be a rogan josh curry for lunch to be served at half time and we always have to drink Heineken even though it’s not a favourite. I also always had to be the one driving and no one else was invited as it might (again) upset the feng shui. No relatives, no girlfriends, no other mates. Kieran’s brother who is more in to the West Coast Eagles, rare David Bowie b-sides and the director’s cuts of Ingmar Bergman movies is made to attend because he was also there on the day of that first clash.

The drive up to Edgewater in the northern suburbs of Perth for these games is always a nervous one. ABC Grandstand is on but down low as not to be agitated by everyone picking the Hawks and fawning about the way ‘they go about things’. Small talk is made as I’m stuck behind a brand new 4WD on the Reid Highway with Hawthorn Premiership bumper stickers with the look of a very smug middle aged man in the driver’s seat reflected from the side mirror of said 4WD.

Elliot-THFD is avoiding talking about the loss to Sydney on Saturday. I’ve known him long enough to know he’s worried about the form of the Dockers. I won’t rub it in. Won’t even tell him I tipped Sydney. When mates go for my side in a clash like this today they’re Switzerland.

I’m worried about the new couch in Kieran’s man cave which might upset the feng shui but its game time. Trav kicks the first one for the Cats albeit 7 months too late. Gunston is proving more mobile and nimble for Tommy Lonergan now that Buddy is gone and he has the Hawks on the board early. The Cats look to strangle the Hawks as the crowd seems subdued or is just Bruce’s white noise commentary blocks out anything else.

H Mac is everywhere as the big sick note and a Carl Dietrich like (without the casual thuggery) Dawson dominate the ruck but both teams make uncharacteristic mistakes. Langford not only looks like Tin Tin but doesn’t bow down to Selwood and tries to rough him up while Roughead gets in a sly glancing blow in on the Geelong captain who is having a very off day.

Geelong is tenacious at the back and lock the Hawks in but can’t convert and skip away. Right on half time H Mac takes a huge grab but misses a la Cam Mooney in 2008. Post traumatic stress disorder for Hawks-Cats games past to go with the curry at half time. Small talk is made. The curry is again excellent. Kieran makes self depreciating comments about his beloved Lions and Elliot-THFD still tries to avoid talking about what happened at the SCG on Saturday.

I’m lost in my own thoughts about the Cats not taking their chances against the Hawks yet again. Geelong take it to the Hawks again in the third quarter but can’t get away with McAvoy marking on the line and snapping much like Steve J at the other end. Again it’s pulsating and nerve wracking stuff as Bruce squeals with delight on Channel 7 with every twist and turn and I wished I hadn’t volunteered to be skipper for the sake of the feng shui.

Watching a Geelong v Hawthorn game sober is hell.

Both Lonergan and Horlin-Smith take brave contested marks, the former in much the same position as the one that saw him cop a hit that almost killed him in 2006. The subs are made at three quarter time. Mackie and McAvoy are off with much made of Mackie being injured. Have I seen a Geelong win with Hamish McLaughlan commentating yet? I look at my phone for dreamteam purposes and the Hawks roar back. The phone goes back in the pocket, checking my phone obviously doesn’t agree with the feng shui.

The Hawks now look full of run and fixed their radar and look likely they’ll run over the top of the Cats with the defence trying to stop the Hawks many forwards from popping up and taking marks inside 50 like an Aussie Rules version of ‘Whack a mole’. Bruce thinks the Hawks will get home, everyone on Channel 7 agrees including Lingy. That hurts. Friends and relatives who love to go the wind up think the Hawks are home too. The texts roll in and I stupidly look. ‘Cats Gawwrnnn’ seems to be a greatest hit with my Eagles supporting brothers.

The Cats hold on though and desperately clear the ball from the Hawks 50 as the latter looks to extend the lead past a goal for the first time in the game. Gunston is back from being MIA in the second and third quarters and outsmarts Lonergan again but misses to add to the misses by Rioli and Roughead (who was being towelled up by Harry Taylor). Geelong gets back in to the game. Horlin-Smith shows the bravery and skill of his doppelganger and VFL coach Matthew Knights. Enright kicks another opportunistic goal likes he’s possessed by the spirit of Chappy never wanting to lose to the Hawks and being dirty about missing that preliminary final last September.

Bartel is deployed at half forward and makes some telling contributions as Hawkins flexes his muscle and bullies his poor marker Cheney in to submission with torn shirt and all. Hawkins kicks 3 in the last, Murdoch kicks a great goal from distance and we’re inching home.

Relief starts to wash over, hurt feelings and bewilderment about Lingy’s agreement that the Hawks would win remain with me. I can’t remember if I tipped Geelong or the Hawks. A magnificent win and the feng shui remains in place. ‘Look at f***** Nostradamus here’ is the standard reply given to those who thought the Hawks were home and texted me to let me know this. My brother replies with a comment saying that Enright’s goals are like a smashed apple as in they’re a rare sauce (source). I think his comment is worthy of Wilde if the dearly departed Oscar did do Dad jokes.

Thoughts also turn to the lost opportunity of last season that is still raw with many cats fans. The drive home is again a long one down the freeway with the returning hordes on holiday but ABC Grandstand is turned up and Elliot-THFD opens up about Freo having to press the panic button if they lose to the Roos on Anzac Day after consuming a few beers during the game. I’m not buying any of his psychological ducks and drakes. The Rock-Paper-Scissors of Geelong having Hawthorn’s measure with Freo having Geelong’s and Hawthorn having Freo’s continues. The Cats are doing okay. The Hawks shouldn’t really be that concerned.

Those of us who are all about the hoops are all emotionally invested for another possibly brilliant season once again and I can’t wait.

About Dennis Gedling

RTR FM Presenter. Glory Guerrillas Producer and Co-Host. Contributer to Football Nation Radio and Football West. Worships at the feet of the mighty Cats, Socceroos, Matildas, West Perth, Glory and Glasgow's Green and White most of the time.

Comments

  1. Fab and funny read, Dennis. You’ve cooked up your own mojo soup of footy neurosis and unreliable omens – I know the taste only too well.
    Thanks for a great story well told.
    P.S. I love Elliot’s acronym.

  2. Nice work Dennis. A very natural and passionate story. We’ll done for being a Cardie. I am sure Les Fong approves of Joel Selwood.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Good amusing read Dennis I admire some one who sticks to so many superstitions . hawks v cats maintains it’s position as the marquee game as a neutral .
    Hawkins exposed , Cheney which was the vital winner in the end . Thanks Dennis

  4. Enjoyable reading. I also had many superstitions regarding the Cats, but discarded them in 2007 when they kept winning, no matter what! I also don’t worry about number 13, I just think of Tom Lonergan. Wouldn’t it be great if he was part of another Cats’ flag?

  5. Ever since that cartoonist infamously said Geelong needed a black cat for luck in 1923, we’ve been doomed to superstition in Hoopsland.

    Brilliant read! Thanks for sharing what is clearly a pivotal tradition for the success of the Pivotonians. You keep this up now – we all know who to blame if Geelong loses next Easter Monday!

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