AFL Round 8 – Sydney v Hawthorn


When the Hawks were expected to take an early lead, the Swans jumped them.
When the Swans were expected to get on with it, the Hawks came back hard.
When the Hawks were expected to win, the Swans did.

Sydney built up what can best be described as a clumsy lead in the first quarter, one befitting of their curiously inconsistent, fitful season. They dominated play and missed goals. Lots of them. At one stage, they led 4.8 to 1.1; if all of their shots had been behinds, they still would have led. Yet it was just a four goal lead. Spectators stirred, sensing that Sydney’s wastefulness would haunt them. So it proved, so it seemed.

Hawthorn, unusually slow to warm up, got going and reigned in Sydney’s lead at a steady pace. Midway through the third Roughead slammed through a goal and the Hawks led by eight points with six less scoring shots. Pundits concluded that Sydney had blown an unexpected opportunity. For three quarters, the teams had jostled and sorted themselves out to set up the fourth.

The Hawks, leading by three points, were expected to strike hard, fast and repeatedly – in short, business as usual – to snuff out the Swans. However, with Harry Hindsight on your side, you could see why they didn’t: Rioli was donning the red vest thanks to a hamstring injury. Gibson, who, in tandem with the pugnacious Cheney, had curtailed Franklin all night, was cradling his left arm. The losses of Hodge and Mitchell were already telling. They were about to get painfully apparent. Jonathan Simpkin, Hodge’s replacement, sprayed two set shots in the last ten minutes.

These misses burned because the Swans turned it on in the last. Hannebery played a champion’s quarter to finish a champion’s match. Having been, offensively and defensively, Sydney’s most important player all match, he kicked the goal that put the Swans two goals ahead in time on: it was the best of his 40 possessions, 14 of which were contested. Meanwhile, Sydney’s sterling defence choked the Hawks in the last. Malceski, Reid and Richards were excellent, as was Parker. By contrast, the Hawks had many good players but few great ones and even less that stood up in those last twenty minutes. Hill, Burgoyne, McEvoy, Cheney, Hale and Lewis were committed and involved but the nerve of their teammates failed them in the last.

While Franklin was inevitably fixed with the full load of scrutiny and focus, his fellow big name ‘n’ dollar teammates was the most dangerous forward on the ground. He made repeated, successful cameo appearances to kick four goals. He outmuscled and outclassed Schoenmakers in the air and on the lead with minimal fuss; his fleeting, efficient play was just what the messy game needed. Fittingly, he finished with the ball in his hands on the siren.

For a match between two sides predicted to be in the top four, nothing was revealed in the way of larger conclusions and summations. The match was neither skilful nor exciting until the Swans produced an unexpected victory in the last quarter. Arguably, we only learnt that Hawthorn are mortal … if you take out five of their best players.


“Some men are born great. Others have it thrown in their faces.”LUKE DUNPHY

By three quarter time, Lance Franklin had coughed up every opportunity to make his old club miss him. He had 13 kicks, three more than his match average for 2014, and had scrounged 0.7.It was, even by his standards, poor kicking, and it came at the worst possible time. Just when it seemed that he was on a hiding to nothing to becoming the city’s easiest scapegoat, he clicked. Two minutes was all it took.

Early in the last, Hawthorn led by three points and had kicked nine of the last fourteen goals. Franklin pushed hard on the lead, Schoenmakers and Gibson on either side. He grappled an impressive mark and kicked his first. Sydney by three. A minute later, he kicked his second. It was almost ludicrous: having proven all night that he could hardly kick a set shot from anywhere, he snapped a goal whilst being in the process of sitting down. Such irrational play! Two kicks had reversed a multitude of sins and set Sydney on the way to victory. In a way, it was fitting. Sydney was wasteful and unfulfilled when Franklin was. Franklin made his chances count when Sydney did.

On that squashy ground, in front of 34,506 people, all of whom enthralled by the prospect of his success or failure, there was nowhere for Franklin to hide (for better or worse). Ironically, he was off the ground when the siren rang with the ball in Tippett’s hands. Few Hawthorn fans would have walked away wishing that he was still in the brown and gold.
Why? Because matches are not won on theatrical value.
Lance Franklin is a freak. He is not a champion.
SYDNEY               4.8         6.12       9.16        15.17 (107)

HAWTHORN       2.2         6.5       11.7        13.10 (88)


Goals – (Sydney) 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.
Goals – (Sydney) Hannebery, Bird, Jack, Parker, Malceski, Tippett.
– (Hawthorn) Hill, Burgoyne, McEvoy, Cheney, Hale, Lewis.
VOTES 3 – D. Hannebery (S) 2. C. Bird (S) 1. B. Hill (H)

About Callum O'Connor

Here's to feelin' good all the time.


  1. daniel flesch says

    Very good unbiased report , Callum. While missing Hodge, Mitchell , Lake and Rioli certainly didn’t help , i thought the Hawks made a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes . Perhaps due to Swans’ pressure , passes missed targets they normally get , usually skillful Hawks over-ran the ball , and -much as i admire the unsung Simpkin- he should have goaled with both of those late attempts. And none from Gunston ! For all the praise Hawthorn gets for its targeted recruiting they are missing a tall defender or two. I don’t think they’ll get much out of Lake in what must be his last year and Schoenmakers looks more like the forward he was before he came to Hawthorn.

  2. Callum O'Connor says

    Daniel – agree. Skills were below expected standard. And Schoenmakers had a dog of a night: Tippett smashed him and Franklin had his 2 good minutes on him. He needs a haircut too.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Agree re skill errors by foot, Callum but the sheer pace of the game was v high and contributed to the errors . Tippett has already monstered Hawthorn in a final he could be significant . Schoemakers is the opposite of most players he is so much more natural as a forward than down back . Cyril’s hamstrings are a huge concern injuries and Roughys likely suspension could ground the hawks for a while

  4. Rick Kane says

    Hi Callum

    Far be it for me to defend Buddy after he has just been part of a team that beat the mighty Hawks and along the way exposed a weakness or two. The Swans pushed the Hawks into foreign territory of chasing hard and then chasing some more all bloody night. Buddy was as much a part of that pressure on the Hawks as any of his team mates.

    I’m not sure what you mean by saying Buddy is a freak, not a champion. Buddy is most definitely a champion, a gifted athlete and a game changer. His aim was off target (phew) but he got a lot of the footy and more scarily, was taking marks … overhead! If he keeps up this work rate (and his aim improves, which it will), the Swans forward line (with Tippett) is going to have the rest of the competition shaking in their boots.

    I don’t know about other Hawks fans but I’d love to see Buddy back in the brown and gold. He will always be remembered as a Hawks champion.


  5. Todd Allison says

    Hawks had not right to get as close as they did. That they challenged one of the premiership fancies with essentially their entire midfield and key defender absent bodes well for their future. Not to mention losing their key forward/mid swingman a minute into the second half.

    Not sure if the real winners were the Swans (who should have expected to win comfortably given the absences in the Hawks line up) or the Hawks who pushed the Swans despite being at half strength. Certainly it will give the Hawks confidence that if the absentees return fit, they should have the Swans measure.

    Also, I have watched a few Swans games over the last few years and they seem to get away with (every time I see them) a huge number of throws. Perhaps being in a rugby league town has them (and the umpires adjudicating them) confused.

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