Another one for the history books

by Josh Barnstable

Hawthorn v Geelong

It looked as if everything had gone back in time. September 27, 2008, a sunny day at the MCG, with the stands packed to the rafters. Grand Final day, the Hawks and the Cats. But no, this was April 26, 2011. Replace the names of Dew, Crawford and Williams with Suckling, Burgoyne and Savage for the Hawks, Harley, Ablett and Mooney with Hunt, Duncan and Podsiadly for the Cats, plus many others. Two and a half years on from that fateful day where Hawthorn broke Geelong’s heart. Long term pain for short term gain? Definitely, Geelong have not lost to the Hawks since then, and each encounter is as bruising and exciting as the last one. So far in season 2011, it has been Collingwood and the rest, but one of these two teams is coming a close second to the reigning premiers. This WAS the big match of the round, forget Essendon and the Magpies.

The last day of holidays is never fun. It is usually spent doing either:

a, Getting as much sleep as possible


b, Doing as much homework as possible

My plan was to go with option b, but when I awoke at 10:30am, that had gone out the window. I planned to some work after the game. As I wrote this, that had also failed to come to fruition. I promise I’ll do some later.

It felt weird with a game on a Tuesday afternoon. It felt like everyone should be working their white-collar jobs instead of indulging in several alcoholic beverages around the MCG. I felt like I should be in school uniform doing math sums in class instead of lying in bed watching the pre-game analysis. I watched in dismay as the time crept past 2:10 and the teams were still in their warm-up outfits. Not live today. Bloody Channel 7.

When the game does start though, it was hard not to get angry at the racial abuser from last weekend in Launceston. Clearly Buddy Franklin had set himself to come out and hit back in a big way, and he did that, thanks to a quick clearance from the Hawthorn midfield, then receiving a deft flick by a teammate and goaling on the run. The Hawks pressed forward again, but only for a behind. Darren Milburn took the kick-in. He kicked to himself, and tried to baulk Buddy. Why try? Milburn got wrapped up in a tackle, the footy bounced between several hands, before a clever knock-on by Cyril Rioli landed in Franklin’s lap, and the only person between him and the big sticks was the goal umpire. Franklin put it into the top row, Hawthorn led by two goals, and Geelong had hardly touched the ball. Brent Renouf marked on the wing, and watched in front of him as Sam Mitchell and Steve Johnson came to grips with each other. Mitchell was thrown to the turf (well, 30% thrown, 70% acting) and Renouf was taken 50m closer to goal. A long ball found Hale, who was infringed in the contest in the goalsquare, and the Hawks had their third. The Cats looked asleep, and the Hawks looked like they were believing it was the ’08 Grand Final again, they were running all over Geelong. Jarryd Roughead jumped high, taking a strong pack mark and he converted for Hawthorn’s fourth, and it was 26-0. Everyone knew Geelong would come back though, it just isn’t a Cats-Hawks game without a contest. As if on cue, Tom Hawkins cleverly holds off Josh Gibson while nabbing the ball with his other arm, before kicking the goal. Taylor Hunt hurt his knee, and while getting assisted off the field, rudely put himself in the way of the ball, in turn giving Hawthorn the free kick. It came back the other way though, with Chapman goaling. Matt Suckling, one of the finds of the season, impressed with a cutting kick through the midfield, finding Sam Mitchell. The former skipper cleverly put it out in front of the leading Hale, who booted his second goal. I felt a funny feeling, watching a former North player imposing himself on the contest. Chapman was awarded a free kick just outside 50, and I scolded him for preparing to have a shot. Way too far out, I thought. I scribbled his name down on my notepad as he proved me wrong with his second, then some great link-up handballing by the Cats gifted Cameron Ling with a superb snap goal from 30m out. James Podsiadly again made Gibson embarrassed, getting a free kick for a hold and kicking the goal to reduce the margin to just one point at quarter time. I reflected on the quarter; I don’t think i’ve seen such a good half hour of football in some time.

Geelong threatened to take the lead and make something of it early in the second. Steve Johnson, having an interesting day, missed, and Ling pushed his kick to the near side, giving the Cats a one point lead. A kick-in from Suckling landed at half-back, where it was booted further upfield. Jarryd Roughead ran onto the bouncing ball, handballed to Clinton Young who put it through for a magnificent team goal. Roughead marked wide out on the forward flank but the angle was no problem for him as he steered through his second, then my mind suddenly jolted to Supercoach for not the first time during the game. Needing quite a big score off my three remaining players (Roughead, Burgoyne and Menzel), I was disappointed to find that the latter had started as the substitute for Geelong, but glad to see him come on at the expense of Hunt’s knee injury (saying that in the nicest way possible). I was glad to watch Burgoyne jump in front of Renouf and mark, 40m out. Mark, kick and goal. More valuable points for my side as Burgoyne converted, and I noticed that he was wearing socks different to all of his teammates. Geelong needed a spark, and it came through the youngster Menzel, who’s cleverly-weighted pass found Joel Selwood all alone in the forward line. Geelong got a much needed major going into the main break, trailing by eight points.

The following is the worst point in any week for me, especially coming off a two week break from school:

“Josh, find your school clothes so I can wash them.”

Such a small sentence can really bring you back to reality of the 8am-4pm life of school. I encounter those words every Sunday afternoon, and it never gets any easier.

After finding my school clothes, which was easier than expected, I refocused on the second half of a ripping game. Chapman started strongly, marking and goaling from a Stevie J pass, but a surprising cameo from Chance Bateman had Hawthorn leading by 14 points after two quick goals.

The third quarter, otherwise known as the premiership quarter, and for good reason, is usually seen as the 30 minutes of football that decides a game. The 2008 Grand Final is a great example of this. First it was Cyril Rioli who roved a pack and excited the Hawthorn crowd with a goal, then the infamous cameo from Stuart Dew that saw Hawthorn kick three quick goals in succession, and the premiership was Brown and Gold in no time. This is what happened in the third quarter of this game in ’11. Except, the shoe was on the other foot. Mitch Duncan booted a loose ball off the ground in a congested pack just outside the goalsquare to start the fightback, then Johnson again showed his unselfish side, pinpointing Joel Corey from the boundary line, who then went on to goal on the run from 50m. Selwood gained the ball at half forward, and with a task harder than finding a needle in a haystack, he did just that, kicking to a leading Brad Ottens who marked in the middle of a group of Hawthorn opponents. Ottens, outstanding all day, booted the major to put Geelong up by five points, but it didn’t stop there. Geelong wanted more. Travis Varcoe hit up Podsiadly at centre half forward, who in turn booted it long to the teeth of the goals. The ball was spoiled away, but gathering was Varcoe, who had kept running, and from front and centre he kicked his first. Margin two goals. The Cats won the next clearance, and as quick as anything the ball was in Jimmy Bartel’s hands, and with the left boot, Bartel snapped a magnificent goal. The Hawthorn crowd was well and truly silenced. The only roars coming were from the blue and white faithful, and it spurred the Cats on for the ultimate team goal to finish the withering burst. After rebounding the Hawks’ forward line yet again, Scarlett gathered and ran out of defence only to be met by a rampaging Jordan Lewis. Taking the hit, Scarlett brushed him aside, kicking upfield. Johnson passed to Selwood, who broke a tackle and managed to get a handball out to Varcoe. The energetic number 5 snapped a superb goal on the run from 45m out, giving the Cats a four goal lead in the blink of an eye. They had no time to be complacent though, with the Hawks gaining a couple back through the impressive Shane Savage, then a careless Hale dived into Tom Lonergan’s back, earning the free kick. Lonergan quickly found himself defending again, and Brent Guerra was the man who goaled from 45m out, cutting the margin to just 10 points at the final break.

Notice how I haven’t mentioned Franklin in a while? Lonergan was terrific in shutting Buddy down, especially after his explosive start to the contest. Both Lonergan and Harry Taylor had been great in defence, but their respective opponents were the ones that put the pressure on the Cats early in the final quarter, Roughead kicking his third from a free kick, and Franklin cutting the margin to just one point with a magical goal from the boundary line after a strong grab against both Taylor and Doms. From the clearance though, Chapman booted the ball forward, a cool-headed Menzel flicked a handpass out to the run of James Kelly, converting the goal from 40m. Textbook Geelong. Duncan marked and kicked his second, and sadly, the game looked out of Hawthorn’s grasp. The great run of tight tussles between these two looked over, but the game was a beauty. Bateman kicked his third after a Mathew Stokes’ turnover, which was then I realised that Stokes was playing. One of the most quietest games from a player to get 22 touches in a game, I hadn’t heard his name called once for the afternoon. Young, one of Hawthorn’s better users of the ball, turned it over at half back, letting Varcoe in, who passed to Menzel. With a paddock to kick into, he spotted his mate Duncan running towards goal. He let fly with a huge kick, which looked every chance to bounce through for a goal. The ball hit the wrong spot, however, and didn’t bounce enough, but Duncan arrived at the right time, booting it off the ground for his third. Geelong’s final goal came from another Hawthorn turnover, with Xavier Ellis kicking it out on the full accidentally (then again, is it ever intentional?) with the back of his heel. Podsiadly grabbed it, and from beyond the boundary line, he skillfully put it through with the checkside routine. He pumped every muscle in his body to the crowd. I love the way Podsiadly celebrates a goal. Another Cats-Hawks blockbuster over, another great game between these two that will go down in the history books as one of the great contests of our game.

Time for some homework, finally.

Hawthorn 5.3—8.3—12.6—15.8.98

Geelong 5.2—6.7—13.10—17.15.117


Hawthorn-Bateman 3, Roughead 3, Franklin 3, Hale 2, Young, Burgoyne, Savage, Guerra

Geelong-Duncan 3, Chapman 3, Varcoe 2, Podsiadly 2, Bartel, Ottens, Corey, Kelly, Hawkins, Ling, Selwood


Hawthorn-Suckling, Roughead, Sewell, Mitchell, Young

Geelong-Lonergan, Selwood, Ottens, Taylor, Chapman, Bartel, Johnson, Kelly, Duncan, Menzel


78,579 at the MCG


3: Tom Lonergan (G)

2: Joel Selwood (G)

1: Brad Ottens (G)

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.


  1. Nice write-up

  2. Peter Flynn says

    G’day Josh,

    Well done. I wish I had your diligence when I was your age.

    I reckon Ottens (1) is a good call.

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