AFL Round 8 – Sydney v Hawthorn: Don’t mind if we do

A sense of schadenfraude has prevailed since Buddy Franklin defected from the reigning premiers Hawthorn to the Swans last October.  Many opposition supporters have been quietly hoping that our massive million dollar forward line will malfunction, or more mischievously that Buddy or another is struck down with some career ending malady. To some degree this has happened.  With a third of the season already gone, tonight is the first time that Franklin, Tippett, Goodes  and Reid will grace the field together.  And of course fate would have it that it’s against the Hawks.

Over recent years these two teams have developed a formidable rivalry with a number of epic battles, none more so than the 2012 Grand Final with the Swans famously prevailing. Unfortunately for the Hawks tonight they are missing key defender Brian Lake, just when they need him most, as well as champion midfielders and inspiring leaders Mitchell and Hodge.

As I settle in front of the tv at my brothers place in Boronia, with a Wirra Wirra Church Block Cab Sav Merlot Shiraz in hand, I am excited at the prospect  of our near full strength team taking on one of the standout teams of the year so far.  I’m nervous though as all of the fab four are returning from injury or are seriously under done for match practice or form. Buddy missed last week with knee tendonitis though prior to that his form had been patchy, with seemingly high expectations weighing him down, plus all the speculation that his mere presence has dragged down the famous Bloods culture.

Once the ball bounces it is clear that the Swans have come to play with a fanatical attack on the ball. All of the key midfielders particularly Hannebury, McVeigh and Kennedy are winning plenty of the ball and  sharing it around like pills at a rave party.  Tippett grabs a couple of strong marks and converts. It’s a promising return for him.  His presence straightens us up and allows the team to play a more direct attacking game.  Buddy is prominent though his efforts on goal are sprayed either side for a tally of 4 points. Despite a dominant effort and 12 scoring shots to four we go in only three goals up, having wasted opportunities.

The second term continues in similar fashion, with the Swans again getting plenty of the ball but butchering some opportunities to really break the game apart.  McGlynn, Parker and Jetta add to the mid-field dominance.  Buddy adds to his points tally. The lead is extended beyond 4 goals, however it really should be much more.  As you would expect of the Hawks when they get the ball they are precise with their kicking and break it open through the middle with the explosive run of Hill and Rioli.  They persist and work it forward for a couple of goals to reduce the lead to only 7 points at the main break.

Disaster strikes for the Hawks early in the third term, when Rioli pulls up short with what appears to be another hamstring strain.   Being the champion team they are, the Hawks lift through Burgoyne in the middle who is sublime.  A run of four unanswered goals has them in front for the first time, somewhat against the general run of play and particularly because the Swans have continued to waste chances. The game is still frantic, not much tempo footy happening tonight.  Tippett pulls in another strong mark and converts for his fourth goal, a great return for the big unit. The Hawks are up by 3 points at the final break.

Tommy Derickx has been manful carrying the ruck for the Swans.  He has received great support from Sammy Reid who has been freed up by the presence of the other big forwards.  Goodes has faded after a bright start and is substituted for young Lloyd in only his fourth game.  Lloyd will provide more run, though will we have enough in the tank to hold off the slick and pacey Hawks.

With the game in the balance up steps one Buddy Franklin who finally finds his radar with a goal from a set shot then another from a clever snap.  A classic snap from Malceski reminiscent of his boundary line goal in the 2012 Grand Final extends the lead to nearly 3 goals.  We look like we have got it however the Hawks keep coming and get within 3 points. However we have been strong around the packs all night and once we force it forward we manufacture snapped goals from McVeigh then Hannebury.  Along with Kennedy, those three have gathered over hundred possessions and controlled the game.

Despite his inaccuracy, Buddy has had 21 possessions, 10 marks and finished with 2 goals 7, a great contribution.  This forward line, indeed the whole team is a bit like the Church Block, made up of many varieties.  Its good right now, however bound to get better over time.  I can’t wait for the next outing.

SYDNEY SWANS    4.8    6.12    9.16   15.17 (107)

HAWTHORN          2.2    6.5     11.7    13.10 (88)



Sydney Swans: Tippett 4, Franklin 2, Malceski 2, Parker 2, K. Jack, Bird, McVeigh, Hannebery, Jetta

Hawthorn: Breust 3, Roughead 3, Simpkin 2, Birchall, Puopolo, Hale, Suckling, Duryea



Sydney Swans: Hannebery, Kennedy, Parker, Tippett, Jack, Franklin, Derickx

Hawthorn: Roughead, Burgoyne, Lewis, Duryea, Langford, Hill



Sydney Swans: TBC

Hawthorn: Hodge (hamstring tightness, replaced in selected side by Simpkin), Rioli (left hamstring), Gibson (left shoulder)



Sydney Swans: Adam Goodes replaced by Jake Lloyd in the third quarter

Hawthorn: Cyril Rioli replaced by Billy Hartung in the third quarter




Umpires: Ryan, Jeffery, McInerney


Official crowd: 34,506 at ANZ Stadium


About Keiran Croker

Keiran is a lifelong Swans supporter, despite a brief dalliance with the Cats and Tigers in primary school years. Family connections to Port Melbourne and South Melbourne demanded loyalty to the Swans. The long wait for success was worth it.

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