AFL Round 7- Hawthorn v Sydney: Pleasure and pain

Saturday marked my last weekend as a 29 year old. By Monday I would be 30 and in football years a veteran and maybe I am, it’s been 25 years since I made brown and gold my colors and my passion for the Hawthorn Football Club is as fervent as ever. 

If you don’t barrack for the brown and gold that statement will probably make you spew. But if you think of your own club and how much they are wedded with your well being each weekend, I trust you can relate to that sickness in the pit of your gut. My long-term relationship with Hawthorn brings me equal portions pleasure and pain. 

It’s been seven months since Sydney beat Hawthorn in the 2012 grand final, in a seesawing battle of titans. Last time around as Malceski’s Ned Kelly beard snapped the ball high in the air in the dying minutes of the game, it was as if the ball had been suspended above the stadium, inching towards the posts forever.  It’s a memory that still kicks me in the guts and tonight as I approach the G among the throngs grasping the final strains of Melbourne’s Indian summer, it’s not a scene I’m keen to revisit. 

The 2013 replay wouldn’t compare, it was no classic. While the grand final kicked off with Paul Kelly, this time around, on first glance, it appeared that Lady Gaga had taken to the turf to toss the coin…(later it was revealed that the cloaked, platform wearing diva was actually a promo for Tassie’s MONA, part of the Hawk’s sponsor deal with the Apple Isle). Once play began my heart rate maintained its easy rhythm as Hawthorn exploded with the first five goals of the game. 

If a great duel can be measured in the anxiety of the fan, last year I spent the match going from sitting to a half squat, from high fives with the person next, behind, in front of me, to burying my head in my hands. This time I was for the most part a fan at rest. And for some reason Nigel Lappin was also sitting in front of me, by himself taking it all in…but I digress. 

The second quarter had bursts of the miraculous and the uncanny, despite the clear conditions, the oval ball was bobbling in all directions. A patch of ridiculous but sublime play commenced when Goodes stiff armed Jordan Lewis, who fell back knocking the ball free and directly on to his boot before scissor kicking it like a soccer striker directly into the arms of Roughead who goaled from forty-five. 

In direct response, Sydney counterattacked a ball long into the forward line. Absent of red and white shirts, Gibson tracked back. The ball bounced before him, high, so high he jumped, but the ball had done a wrong’un, and after looking destined for a behind, skipped Gibson’s flailing fingers and bounced back through the goals. What the? 

But luck would only momentarily be with the Bloods, as the collective back of the Swans had been broken, and all that remained was a paralyzed third quarter. The passivity of the game stretched to the stands, even Lappin lost interest, only to be reignited a half-hour later by a confused umpiring judiciary. 

The play in question had Lewis snap over his shoulder toward goal. Rampe flew towards the goal line, punching the ball through. The goal umpire waved the flags and for a second the Hawks celebrated until the field umpire came in to discuss the matter further, a discussion ensued and they went to a video review. Let me pause here. 

In America’s NFL instant replay review system, the call on the field shall stand unless irrefutable evidence to overturn is found in the review, a great precedent of adjudication that has helped decide touchdowns on gridiron goal lines. I wouldn’t normally use American laws as a great example of logic but Uncle Sam has my vote on this simple rule of engagement. 

In this instance, a goal was signaled but, a chorus of “boos” built to chants of “Buuuuulllllshit”, the first show of real emotion in now nearly an hour of football. The video evidence was deemed ‘inconclusive’ and the goal was overturned to a point. Fans on both sides seemed confused.

With the inferior technology currently being used, going to a review will deem the result a behind nine times out of ten, if the lesser score is granted in the judgment of ‘inconclusive’. Shouldn’t inconclusive evidence revert the decision back to the umpire and their first instinct? It appears my advancing age has inspired the desire for a diatribe… 

This game was not one to enrich a rivalry, but only time will tell whether it highlighted a Hawthorn maturing above the necks or Sydney as a team showing the first signs of rheumatoid arthritis. This replay of a grand final day classic was a forgettable game, a game that intimated the ridiculous, occasionally by the boot, but for the most part by the establishment….but maybe I’m just getting old.


Hawthorn                    5.3        11.3      14.6   18.11   (119)

Sydney                       1.4          4.5        7.7    12.10    (82)



Hawthorn: Roughead 4, Franklin 3, Hale 3, Gunston 3, Breust, Smith, Bailey, Hodge,

Osborne, Burgoyne

Sydney: Kennedy 2, McGlynn 2, O’Keefe 2, Pyke, Parker, Lamb, Bolton, White, Goodes



Hawthorn: HODGE, HODGE, HODGE, can’t fault the man.

Sydney: Goodes, and the two ex Hawks.

Umpires: Dalgeish, Nicholls, Meredith                      


Official Crowd: 54, 725


Our Votes: 3 Hodge (Haw) 2 Roughead (Haw) 1 Mitchell (Haw)



  1. Stephen Cooke says

    Jason, loved your best players, especially Sydney’s best.

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