AFL Round 8: Hawks too good for Freo

By Sasha Lennon


Fremantle: 9.11 (65)

Hawthorn: 13.9 (87)


Round 8 and we’re three wins and four losses.  Hawthorn’s premiership defence was officially looking shaky and I was concerned.  I knew this for certain after I found myself preparing for the game – donning the Hawthorn socks, making sure I had the 2008 Premiership stubby holder for a cold one (or two) and even using the official Grand Final commemorative bottle opener to help instil that natural sense of confidence us Gen-X Hawthorn supporters have.  You know, the one that replays a ‘magic moment’ from your team’s past glories every time you knock the top off one – in this case the last 15 seconds of the ’89 Grand Final.  And to make things worse, we’re playing at Subiaco against Fremantle, who after winning their last three on the trot have even Leigh Matthews favouring them for a win tonight. 


The Hawks had their backs to the wall and it was evident.  Pavlich won the toss and elected to serve but the Hawks came out with a desperate intent, led by the ferocity of Brad Sewell and aided gallantly by Lewis and Mitchel.  Desperate tackles were accompanied by hard running, led by none other than Chance Bateman, who opened the Hawthorn account with a cracker from beyond the 50.  Only moments later Dew banged a long one through in typical fashion and I was starting to feel that natural confidence.


But Freo were just as desperate and with an uncharacteristically errant pass from Sam Mitchel to former Hawk Luke McPharlin, the Dockers took possession to find Thornton, who put the ball through the big sticks for Freo’s first major.  Big man Sandilands seemed to be everywhere for the Purple Haze and with pace the Dockers were lifting, buoyed by another goal, this time from the boot of McPharlin.  While the Hawks kept busy and Freo maintained their pressure, the scoreboard barely moved.  That was until Moss got one to Lance Franklin who put through an absolute pearler from a set shot at long range.  From there Hawthorn continued to pressure the Dockers’ defence but they held up well and by quarter time it was Hawthorn with a six point margin.


The second quarter started as the first had finished – in an arm wrestle.  Lewis and Bateman continued to run hard, Mitchel was his controlling self and Buddy was right in the mix.  Goals were looking scarce until finally Fremantle saw Ryan Murphy get it through Pavlich and Hinkley for a major well into the term.  The Dockers were up by a point but from there the Hawks took the momentum, answering back primarily though the relentless run of Bateman and the dazzling displays of Cyril Rioli who seemed to confuse the opposition with his spinning, turning, ducking and weaving any time he went near the ball.


Then a lovely goal to Mark Williams and the Hawks were ignited, booting the next five to nil, with two courtesy of big Lance, who finally freed himself of the Chris Tarrant shackles to take a mark off a beautiful delivery from Brown and the next off a favourable bounce that simply fell the right way for the big Hawk.  Then some amazing run from Rioli to start and finish a passage of play over 100 metres saw him rewarded with a goal.  And with only seconds remaining in the half, young Moss slotted one through to put the Hawks 30 points up at the main break.  It looked ominous for Freo.


The third quarter was well worth the watch, if for nothing else but Bateman’s continued run and Cyril Rioli’s magic.  The Hawks were up by six goals and the Dockers looked rattled.  A clever move by Mark Harvey to put Michael Johnson up forward saw some much needed lift from Freo but despite getting the ball into their forward line umpteen times, they simply could not convert.  While up the other end of the ground, Hawthorn managed to take the few opportunities they were presented with.  For the Dockers, Johnson, McPharlin and the rookie Suban all missed sets shots before the hard running Duffield set up McPharlin for his second goal of the evening.  This was before Duffield kicked one of his own, giving the Dockers some much needed hope.  And if the crowd were anything to go by, there was hope aplenty.


The Dockers came out with all guns blazing in the last and while Hawthorn maintained the pressure, a cool, calm and collected Pavlich kicked one early from outside 50 reducing the margin to just 16 points.  But in this low scoring affair, 16 was worth a bit more than that and as much as the Dockers tried, they still couldn’t buy a goal.  Then a spent looking Hawthorn started to kick their own flurry of behinds until Jarryd Roughead, who had been barely sighted all night, kicked truly and provided the Hawks with some much needed breathing space.  Sensing the kill, Buddy finished things off for Hawthorn with a set shot from about 60 out and the Hawks were home.  A late goal from Sandilands followed but it was just that – late, and with the sound of the siren the Hawks were home by 22 points.   


In relieved celebration I cracked open another with my commemorative 1989 Grand Final bottle opener.  This Friday evening win in the west certainly wasn’t the ’89 Grand Final, but it was a good, hard fought win that put us back in the mix for 2009 and for now at least, it was a win to savour. 



My Votes: Bateman 3; Sewell 2; Mitchel 1


  1. Matt Cowan says

    Apart from that punter who put $500,000 down for a Geelong win at $1.08, who in their right mind would gamble on the AFL? Who would’ve been game enough to have backed the Hawks to get up on Friday night (honestly)? The Dockers were in very rare form. Who can remember the last time they had won 3 in a row? Or, for that matter, who cares when the last time was they had won 3 in a row?! Nevertheless, it seems they had got the mix right with Pavlich running around wherever he wanted and Tarrant in the backline where he could play without having to think too much. And, Paul Haselby was back in ‘Charlie’ medal winning form, in fact, he’s been in that kind of form that I’ve been taking notice of those Sports Bet ads that have flooded the airwaves in recent weeks. They’re pretty good, aren’t they? But Freo, and Hasleby, are teasers. I’ve lost money on Hasleby before and I’m not going to fall for it again…hmm…plus I’ve got more important things to spend my stimulus package on. And the Hawks, well if it weren’t for the injuries, the talk at the photocopiers would be about a premiership hangover. They’re not the same are they? So it came as a surprise to me yesterday morning as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and tried in vain to pat the ‘fuzz burger’ down on the back of my head to hear that the Hawks had got up, at Subiaco. I didn’t watch the game, nor see how Hasleby went, but I’m not going to take any more notice of those Sports Bet ads any more, ‘cos I would be out of my mind if I were to put any money on the AFL.

  2. Richard E. Jones says

    IT’S an absolute shame that Freo couldn’t get up.
    The loathsome Squawks are now 4-4, but still happily a fair way from a 6-5 win-loss record at the halfway mark of the ’09 season.
    Let’s hope they finish in the bottom 4 of the Top 8 and statistically stand little chance of defending their ’08 premiership.
    I don’t know why so many VFL/AFL followers have traditionally hated Collingwood. After all, the dear old Maggies did no one any harm after 1958 until 1990.
    I loved it when the Squawks would win 2 or 3 games in the late 1940s and into the 1950s. In one stellar season — 1950, to be exact — they went nought and 18 for the season. Not a single, solitary victory.
    Ah, for the return of such statistical bliss. Still they’re no certainties to go deep into the ’09 finals as the cold and sleet of June beckons.

  3. Matt Cowan says

    Richard, ‘Joffa’ encapsulates everything that is Collingwood, you need look no further. Interestingly, he was nowhere to be sighted behind the goals today. Has the gold jacket been put away for the year?

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