Beating the curse

Though the Kennett Curse may seem very real to Hawthorn fans, it is pure fabrication, a media driven manipulation built on emotion and desire.  The Hawks don’t need to beat the curse, they just need to beat Geelong.

Assassinating Jeff Kennett won’t help, and Kennett can’t renounce something that isn’t actually real.  He is not a witch.

Simply, since the 2008 grand final, Hawthorn hasn’t been good enough to beat Geelong.  The streak of 11 wins racked up by the Cats is merely a streak.

In an era of equalisation, Geelong’s streak seems remarkable but it isn’t.

North Melbourne has ten consecutive victories over Melbourne, and no one has aligned that streak with a curse or suggested, beyond the obvious, that Melbourne is the victim of a curse, or that Norm Smith is somehow continuing to sabotage his former club.

If needed, Melbourne’s submission to North could be labelled the Mediocrity Curse.

Those buying into the Kennett Curse have been duped.  Those acknowledging the curse give it credibility.  Hawthorn players and officials don’t buy into it.  Nor do their Geelong counterparts.

But Kennett’s Curse has become legend.  It isn’t a stretch to believe the Kennett’s Curse may in fact have more credibility than Jeff Kennett does.

As far as the moniker goes, the media will forever refer to the curse, no matter what happens, and it does provide an element of hype, a neat tangent to the build up of each game between the clubs.  Will the curse live or die?

But curses in the AFL are rare, and rightly so, for they are without substance.

Melbourne is said to be blighted by the Curse of Norm Smith, a supernatural punishment born onto the club when it sacked Norm Smith in 1965.

At the time, Melbourne was the reigning premiers.  They haven’t won a grand final since Smith was sacked but it has nothing to do with a curse.  It has more to do with the frugal nature of the club in the seventies and eighties, a refusal to spend money on players, along with their systematic non-performance of recent years.

The most infamous curse in AFL football was placed on Collingwood by an Aboriginal man back in 1993.  John Kelly Country (legally known as John Morris Kelly), took umbrage when former Collingwood president Allan McAlister said everyone will admire Aboriginal people, as long as they conduct themselves like white people.

Since Kelly Country uttered his curse, Collingwood endured eighteen years of horror, including consecutive grand final losses to Brisbane.

In 2009, Kelly Country was sentenced to eight years in prison for twice raping a teenage boy.  With Kelly Country incarcerated, Collingwood seemed free from the curse and went on to win the premiership the following year.

Of course, it had nothing to do with Kelly Country’s curse.  The Magpies were just better than St Kilda.

So there are no curses.  It’s all simple tricks and nonsense.  Hawthorn can’t beat Geelong because they’re not good enough.  The only way Hawthorn can win is to kick more goals and finish ahead at the end of the game.  They don’t need to beat the curse.

It’s not about the curse, it is all about reality.  For Hawthorn to silence the believers, all they have to do is win.

The only real curse in football is injury.


Back in the thirties, former boxer and trainer Ben Evil Eye Finkle would put a curse on a fighter he’d been paid to hate.  Before a bout started, Finkle, who charged about $25, would give the boxer a comical death stare, eyes wide, looking like a mad man.

There is no scientific evidence to prove that Finkle’s curse actually worked.  When the cursed fighter lost, it was because his opponent was tougher.

About Matt Watson

My name is Matt Watson, avid AFL, cricket and boxing fan. Since 2005 I’ve been employed as a journalist, but I’ve been writing about sport for more than a decade. In that time I’ve interviewed legends of sport and the unsung heroes who so often don’t command the headlines. The Ramble, as you will find among the pages of this website, is an exhaustive, unbiased, non-commercial analysis of sport and life. I believe there is always more to the story. If you love sport like I do, you will love the Ramble…

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