Calling the Callers: Hawks Christmas Revue


[Rated H: Occasional Hawthorn – contains supernatural-football themes.]


Like the Rockettes at Christmas, it’s the Hawks Christmas revue.

This year, Christmas came on October 3. After a breather of real life, I have been back into training with the DVD; gut busting re-run after re-run, spanning the media globe, peeling the layers of the opiner and conjuring Elvis with his remote control revolver.

As previously, the revue is general and specific – comparing calls of one highlight: In 2015, it is the miracle in Hodge pocket.

Getting a life in due course. For now let the singing and dancing begin.



CHANNEL 7 – Bruce McAvaney, Dennis Commetti, Cameron Ling and Wayne Carey.


In the pre-game, Leigh Matthews referred to Hawthorn’s half dozen captain coaches on field, before Bruce asked how Leigh feels about this day, “Does it stir you?”


Leigh: “It always stirs me to see brown and gold jumper, Latent memories for me, 30 years ago, the whole emotion of it flashes back. If you’ve been involved, all those latent thoughts bubble up again.”


Notwithstanding the many years and successes elsewhere, Leigh is one of the men who set the pace for this football club. On Grand Final day, a glimpse of our jumper made his nostrils flare like he’d over done the wasabi.


And then he was gone, as mysteriously as the smoking man in the X-Files. No Leigh, during the game, one of the bigger ‘What The F*cks?’ of the year. The others are cold pressed coffee and cricket in America.


Something had happened to Bruce before his call. Had he just returned from Canada, or had he been binging on episodes of ‘Fargo’? If you had participated in a drinking game for each time Bruce finished a comment with, “‘Ey?” you may have passed out in the third. “What a statement from Naitanui, ‘ey?” was the first of no less than eight ‘eys that I counted.


When McEvoy kicked the Hawks second, Ling saw the danger; “Hawthorn are getting out the back. West Coast have to be careful.”.


Dennis: “Darling, fancies himself. Shouldn’t have.”


Bruce: “Rioli’s got his second and Hawthorn are now settling beautifully. A Rioli has already won a Norm Smith, right now he might be in front.”


Dennis: “Birchall gets it from Mitchell and punishes them.”

Bruce: “Jack Darling’s kick, ey?”


Dennis: “Lake… attempted spiral, falls like space junk” (liked that one).


Dennis: “The appetite, the energy certainly with Hawthorn…. Butler in the shadows, as are his teammates.”


Quarter time, from Wayne Carey: “Without stating the obvious, it’s so important West Coast get the ball out of the middle and get an early goal.” It’s not that I mind the self-evident, it’s that Leigh Matthews is in the green room with an equally underutilized Chris Isaak.






Bruce: “That’s a goal, I think! It is! Hodge has done it from nowhere.” Bruce was one out, the balance of the commentary team stunned into silence, until Carey finally said, “Left foot, check side, from 40 out.” As special comments go, not particularly special is it? I wonder what Wayne made of Mitchell’s 34, after 33 last year?


Dennis: “No wonder he (Hodge) has got 3 Norm Smiths.” Actually 2, but Dennis might have been ready to give him another.


Bruce: “Rioli, waiting, waiting, over the top Gunston. He won’t miss…. It’s a crisis point, isn’t it? They have got to a point where there’ s no wriggle room.”


Dennis: “The MCG is a big ground, it’s proving too big at the moment for the West Coast Eagles”. Richo agreed, “It’s just that much wider, you’re guarding space, easier to get through for Hawthorn.” This year, ground size became ‘a thing’. Be on the lookout for corporate consultants and diagnostic synthesis: shorter grounds, shorter games, shorter seasons – and larger consulting fees.


Dennis: “Hutchings comes away, nothing down the ground, he’s run down by Rioli. His hands were quick enough or were they? … Well, (umpire) said the ball popped up and then you hit it… Breust meantime, hits it back to Gunston and Gunston! Has got another one, his second.”


Dennis: “… gave it to Smith, Smith goes long. It’s a searing kick cutting through the afternoon…”

Bruce: “9 consecutive goals”.


After Josh Hill’s goal, seven cut to Subiaco where valiant flags waved. I’m drifting into ‘Directing the Director’ here, but this added ‘nothing’. A gathering of expats huddled around tablets at South Base Camp, Nepal might be interesting, or the Mars exploration rover. Director: if the rover shows Martians waving flags, by all means cut to that.


Dennis: “39 points the margin, not completely lost but well on the way.”


Dennis: “Gaff, big second term… 17th possession. He’s really picked up the tempo, unlike most of his mates.”




On the resumption from half time – Dennis: “It has promised much, needs to deliver more. That’s not the fault of Hawthorn.”


Bruce: “Shuey, breaks the line, Oh!” (passes to Dureya)


Dennis: “Darling, spilt the mark Darling, then fumbled it away!”


Bruce: “Schoenemakers, gets the goal, gets the important goal for them.”

Wayne: “Well that’s the difference between the two teams, right there. One makes the most of their half chances, the other makes two big errors inside 50.”


(Rioli’s intercept)

Bruce: “Cut off by Rioli, to Breust, Puopolo, Gunston again the danger, it’s a brilliant kick… That moment of genius from that man there (Cyril), may have been the pivotal moment.”


Bruce: “Smith in the pocket, clever…Oh, better than clever – brilliant.”

Dennis: “That’s acceptance, an Eagles supporter gave him a high five.”

Bruce: “Suckling in a beautiful spot gets the goal…. the maestro Mitchell, ‘ey?

Bruce: Gee, Shoenmakers, ‘ey?




Not much to review in the dying stages. Ling lamented the spotlight on the day and how it will be a long summer for the Eagles. ‘Oh dear!’, from Dennis as Lake touched Hill’s shot through (if you recall Brian’s fingernail on Naitanui’s early attempt, he cost them 2 clear goals on the day). And then, as the Hawks radar went amiss, talk turned to their standing in history.


Ling sang the praises; “The system is set up for them to not be able to do this. The draft, the salary cap, is set up for a team not to be able to win 3 in a row, (but) they’ve done it…”

Wayne followed up, “Are they the best of all time?”

Ling: “Well, given the 18 team competition and the system that’s in place now, ‘Yes’ is my answer, better than any team in the past.”

Where do I sign up for Ling’s insurance?


Dennis, the dissenting judge in the Norm Smith debate: “Oh, clever by Mitchell, give him a medal.”


Bruce: “So, almost there, ‘ey?” Ey.

(One for the road) Bruce: First premiership as a Dad for Jordan Lewis, ey?


Dennis and Bruce were good and dependable (I shudder at the succession plan), but 7 lost it at selection. Picking a Hawthorn great for special comments – in a Grand Final Hawthorn are playing in – is a no brainer. North Melbourne and Geelong champions would have been grinding their teeth. For the omission and the consequential vanilla special comments, I’ll give Seven 6 and a ½ .



Triple M – Gary Lyon, James Brayshaw, Luke Darcy, Danny Frawley and Ash Chua.


After Shuey’s first goal for WCE, Danny Frawley was a jumble of contradictions, “The first centre clearance…. they set up that beautiful web, and they had a ball up there, definite free kick, tiggy touchwood, but Lewis definitely went too high.”


(Cyril’s first for Hawthorn)

Lyon; “If you can get the ball deep with zone defence, it opens up for you…. Cyril’s hit the scoreboard, the last bloke you want to get involved.”


Frawley: “He should have handballed the ball to Cripps, simple as that from Shuey.”


(On Burgoynne’s courageous mark)

Lyon: “…If you’re looking for a moment there’s your first big one. Ball, Natinui coming at him, eyes on ball, mark.”


(Rioli’s second goal)

Lyon: “You talk about Suby and the MCG, this is a massive ground to try and defend… there are gaps everywhere at the moment for Hawthorn.”


Lyon: “It’s pretty clear to me what Clarko’s said to Simpson, you can have your zone defence, we’re going to throw… the most dangerous small forward in the land (Cyril) down there… Zone off him at your peril.”


(After Birchall’s goal) Darcy: “4 in a row to the Hawks and the pressure just got to them in the end.”


Lyon: “Rioli has been unbelievable. Pressure and skill.”






Brayshaw: “Hodge off the step, Ohhh, Banana! Bugger off! Luke Hodge, Grand Final Superstar, brings the house down.”

Lyon: “That’s a dagger to the heart…. That’s a man who summed it up in a heart beat, looked inside, saw no-one and thought why not?”


Lyon: “There’s no question, if the Eagles try to defend this ground compared to Suby – it’s not working.”


(After Gunston’s first goal – score 43 to 12)


Danny: “The zone defence, the web, whatever you want to call it for West Coast, it’s just not working here at the MCG.”


Gary: “And it’s Cyril Rioli… it has been a masterstroke from Clarkson…(Cyril) makes his own time and space into a forward 50, starts in the centre and works his way forward, in his own time. That’s’ his 5th score involvement, he’s the best player on the ground.”


(After Rioli’s chase and tackle of Hutchings)

Darcy: “Look at the chase – Ohhh!… No-one in the game can do that.”

Lyon: “Norm Smith medal voters… there’s a bloke controlling this game.”


Stat: Hawthorn 33 more touches in this quarter (half-way second quarter)


Lyon: “Not only do they look like they are going to win this year, they look like they are going to win next year.”

Darcy: “…Gaff, overlap run from Wellingham, what can he do? Oh, Shank! An outside of the boot ‘mong’ and it landed in the arms of Stratton.”

James: “Slaughtered it going forward.”

Stat: Inside 50’s this quarter 20 to 6 Hawthorn’s way.


Notwithstanding the Hawks domination for a quarter and a half, Lyon had first insight into a swing; ‘they are going to slow and make a blue… at some stage… the Hawks… they’ve been frenetic, it’s going to tell, it has to tell. They (West Coast) haven’t asked enough questions though.”




Lyon and Brayshaw continued look for ‘chinks’ in Hawthorn. Frawley added they (WCE) are switching the ball and trying to run Hawthorn off their legs.


After Darling kicked the first of the 3rd, Brayshaw: “Here we go…” (He might have been barracking for a close game, rather than WCE, but a discordant note for much of his audience)

Lyon: “A little butterfly in the tummy of the Hawthorn fans… they (WCE) have now kicked 3 goals in a row” (this was how I felt at the time).


Brayshaw: “Shuey brakes a tackle, he’s running ahead of the footy and… horrible!… straight into the guts of Dureya, who was the only defender… “

Lyon: “That’s a training drill right there.”


Darcy: “Darling out the back… (groans)…. He has dropped an absolute pud.”

Lyon: “Darling wouldn’t have dropped that in the under-6’s”


Brayshaw: “Shoenmakers kicks the goal and that hurts.”

Lyon: “You just wonder whether their moment has passed. Jack Darling kicks the goal, they go to 18 points…That’s what Grand Finals are about, 10 goals 4 to 4 goals 9”

West Coast 9 inside 50’s to Hawthorn’s 3 halfway through 3rd.

Darcy: “…Stolen, picked his pocket Cyril got it to Breust, out wide Puopolo, runs to 65, Gunston back with the flight and he’s got it. (A) Perfectly weighted ball… for goal number 4, Jack Gunston, there’s a big nail in the coffin…”

Stat: 8 score involvements for Rioli.


(Isaac Smith goal from deep in pocket, city end)

Darcy: “Front and centre Isaac Smith, Ohhh! Miracle goal.”

Brayshaw: “No way!”

Lyon: “They’re taking the piss, Jim.”

Darcy: “3 in a row for the Hawks, it’s a long way back from here.”

Gary: “They’re not back from here… they had their moment, they were coming and pushing… and they didn’t take it… and when you don’t take it against the greatest team in the modern era you are going to get sliced and it’s been Gunston, Gunston, Smith…”


Stat: 29 to 7 uncontested marks this quarter.


Brayshaw: “What a ride this Hawthorn footy club has given their fans.

Lyon: Jim, you are looking at the greatest team, if not of all time, they are going to be in the argument.”

Lyon: “5th intercept mark, Brian Lake.”




Lyon: “Rough’s had 23, if you don’t mind. He’s the 3rd highest for Hawthorn.”

Lyon: “I just can’t see when you are playing a side like this, how you can guard space”.

Calling turned to whether Roughy marking Cyril’s kick, rather than shepherding it through, might have cost Cyril the Norm Smith. Lyon: “When the scene needed to be set, he (Rioli) was breathtaking”.

Stat: 11 marks for Cyril Rioli, which is a PB for him (He would go on to make it 12)


Brayshaw: “There it is, the Hawks have won 3 premierships in a row and join the ranks of the greatest teams of all time.”

Lyon is foremost in this box. The other stand out was the stats man, Ash Chua. His stats were meaningful, complimented the call and sprinkled at the relevant times. I’ll give Triple M a 7.



3AW – Tim Lane, Tony Leonard, Matthew Lloyd, Mark Bomber Thompson, Sam McClure and Dr. Peter Larkins.

(Shuey free kick, WCE first goal.)

Lloyd: Bad decision, I thought. The umpire who was on the spot didn’t pay it and the other umpire paid it, who was off the ball…”


Leonard: “Roughead beats one, shot out the handball for Rioli, for a goal. Great play Roughy, great finish Cyril.”


Lane: “The Eagles have started the better, but Hawthorn are like water torture, they wear you down.”


Leonard: “Burgoynne, unbelievably, back with the flight of the ball. Both brave and skillful.”


Thompson: “Last 3 minutes I’ve been watching both teams and how they defend. Hawthorn are seriously defending well… On the other side, West Coast aren’t defending at all… Hawthorn have got too many free players through the middle of the ground…”


Lloyd: “The dimensions of the ground was always going to be a factor… It’ s also the wider wings and the wider pockets that the Eagles can defend in Perth, but it’s much harder to do it here…”


Lloyd: They’re going alright the Eagles, they’ve had 9 inside 50’s to 5 for Hawthorn. It’s just the efficiency of Hawthorn, far superior at the moment.


Lane: “…He has X-factor written all over him” (Cyril).


Thompson: “I wouldn’t be happy if I was Adam Simpson with how any marks Hawthorn have taken.”


Lane: “Mitchell collects, gives to Birchall… he nails it, with customary Hawthorn left-footed precision”.


Leonard: “Bradley Hill run in and goal. 5 straight to Hawthorn and now the Eagles officially on the rack.”



Lane: “Bends it back from the boundary. It is an unbelievable goal. The Hawks have their 6th. … It’s a ‘Good Guys’ goal of the day…. and you just fancy the Hawks might be ready to play some of their truly inspired football.”


Lane: “Right now they are picking a team apart, the way they have week in, week out over the last four seasons.”

Lane: “…He finds Puopolo, in the Luke Hodge pocket.”

(Hurn miss)

Thompson: “He misses this one they’re in trouble aren’t they? This is a Soda.”

Leonard: “He misses, you talk about taking your chances.”

Thompson: “The longer game the goes, if it’s not too much of blowout, West Coast are a real chance to come back. Watch the Hawthorn players come off the ground. They are absolutely blowing. How many interchanges?”

Sam McClure (stat): “43 interchanges to 30.”

Lloyd: “They are blowing because they are working harder. This game could be over soon.”

(WCE) have only had 4 effective kicks for the quarter, the Hawks have had 25.

Leonard: “Hutchings pursued by Rioli and he got there!”

Lloyd: “What a tackle!”

Leonard: “It’s going to paid, magnificent chase.”

Lane: “Did he pay the chase or did he pay the illegal disposal?”

Thompson: “I thought he paid the chase, I thought he got his hand on the ball.”

Leonard: “But he caused the error (illegal disposal)”.

Leonard: “Breust taps it in the path of Gunston, off a step, and he has brought it in…. Gunston has he second, brilliant stuff… and this is just about dead.”

Lane: “Smith, dangerous user, goes to Hodge in the goal square he might shepherd it though. He does! Smith kicks a monster. “

Leonard: “Hey Doc… are the Eagles looking physically and mentally disintegrated?”

Dr. Larkins: Mentally is hard to read…” (Quite.)

(Call against Breust for deliberate)

Leonard: “Umpire ‘Flinstone’ – yes!”

(Sound effect inserted) “Yabba-Dabba-Doo!”

Leonard: “You just saw the legs accelerate there, Tim.”

Lloyd: “Again an umpire not understanding the game. I don’t know where else he could possibly go. He had a player smothering the ball. So I think that’s a poor decision.”

General commentary that WCE were doing better, forcing more stoppages, scoring had dried up etc. Lane: “the Hawks in a holding pattern right now.”

Lane: “Yippee-Yi-Yeo has marked it about 45 metres out on a 45 degree angle with 20 seconds on the clock, this is their last opportunity of the half. A half in which they kicked the first goal after two minutes, didn’t kick another for 43 minutes and now on the edge of half-time a chance for Elliot Yeo to resuscitate their hopes… it starts right, it edges back… it is a goal and they don’t come more timely than that…”


Lane: “Darling with the sit takes the mark. This is his moment, he didn’t seem to settle into the grand final tempo early… he does now! He steers it right through. The Eagles have kicked the last 3 and the margin has been whittled away to a very gettable 24 points…”

Leonard: “Shuey runs to 45, the pass is on… straight to Dureya, just could have gone over the top and they’d run into an open goal.”

Leonard: “The Eagles have got a chance here, mark coming up. Oh! Had it, lost it. Oh, then he’s dropped it. Darling, straight to Stratton… a magnificent chance there burnt by the Eagles.”

Lane: “…He’s got Cyril in a one on one.. Cyril marks it… he plays on. He’s got two men over on the far side. Shoenmaker’s up, Hill down, gives to Gunston, now to Shoey, runs in and kicked the goal. And the Hawks may have found an unlikely hero here. Shoenmakers getting his chance and he gets the goal that had eluded them for almost a quarter.”

Stats from Sam McClure: “Kicking efficiency, 71% by foot the Hawks, 57% the Eagles and goals from turnover 7 to 1 from Hawthorn…”

Leonard: “…Stolen by Rioli, gave it to Breust… they can raffle it this time going forward, can Gunston get onto it, yes it does! … C. Rioli what a magnificent steal…”

Lane: “How important was Gunston’s fitness?”


Leonard: “Smith a little dribble. Oh! Don’t tell me he’s done it Isaac Smith… A little dribbler, impossible angle… I am prepared to call this one now.”

Lane: “The swinging seat of Jolimont has just fallen their way.”

Leonard: “It has fallen to the Eastern suburbs again.”


Leonard: “Snap around the body from Suckling! Goal to the Hawks!”

(On three quarter time siren) Lane: ’They call it the premiership quarter and its never been more true than in the 2015 Grand Final, because challenged like they haven’t been over the last 3 years, Hawthorn have perhaps had their finest hour and at three quarter time lead by 50 points…”




In the final quarter Lloyd thought Roughy should have let it go through, Leonard lauded Rioli for setting up another to Smith and then Tim Lane said Brian had ‘foxed’ Josh Hill and thought the touch was a touch symbolic; the Eagles hadn’t been up to it today.

Lane: “They are still 10 goals ahead of the rest of the field… Hawthorn’s team football is just like nothing else that’s ever been played.”

(Rioli marks)

Lane: “They love him, as well they might. He is X-Factor, he is secret weapon…”


Lane: “The Hawks in 2013, 2014, 2015 – by 46 points – have won their 13th flag. “


I enjoyed 3AW’s call. Leonard and Lane work well together and are easy listening. Lane is still the best caller in the business. Lloyd’s comments were special, stats from Sam McClure were good and Thompson wavered between reserved and maundering, but might be settling in. I’ll give them a 9.



SEN: Anthony Hudson, Matt Granland, Dermott Brereton, Nick Maxwell, Drew Petrie and Daniel Harford.

(First bounce)

Hudson: “It’s the hottest Grand final in nearly 30 years, can the aging Hawks go the distance or will the more rested and younger Eagles prevail?”

Maxwell: (on Shuey’s miss) “Selfish. He had a teammate on the inside he should have handballed over the top.”

(Rioli mark and first goal)

Petrie: “That’s the absolute risk of the web, the web plays really high up the ground and the last couple of entries Hawthorn have had inside-50 there’s been 3 or 4 Hawthorn players to 1 and 2 West Coast defenders and they’ve exploited it…”

Hudson: “They’ve been inside 50, 8 times to 4 (West Coast) but from their 4 entries Hawthorn have produced 3 straight goals.”

(Derm defends Cyril’s 50-metre penalty)

Derm: “I reckon Cyril was counting the time in his head and automatically played on to smother when he though the count out was on.”

Hudson: “Yep, that’s what I was thinking too.”


Hudson: “McGovern bundled the kick it’s 35 from goal, still danger, even more so now Birchall took it, kicked a goal! The hands of Mitchell set it up.”

Derm: “Should have done better Eagles, with those numbers.”

Maxwell: the big stat for me 5 marks, inside-50, to 1.



Granland: “… to Hodge, with the outside of the boot. Luke Hodge. He’s kicked a goal. Wow! That is grand final moment we will not forget..”

Derm: “Last time we saw a goal go through from that pocket was Nick Malceski in 2012”

Granland: “Can they launch something from half back, Hutchings running and bouncing, Cyril’s got him!”

(Dermott thought Hutchings had legally got rid of it)

Harford: “It’s a throw, Derm.”

Granland: “Rioli puts it to the forward pocket, here’s Gunston, fires, and kicks another.”

Hudson: “Hawthorn 15 marks to 3 in this second quarter. They need a response quickly, West Coast…. Right now we’re looking at another lame Grand Final.”

Dermott: “It’s not that lame, Huddo.”

Granland: “Isaac Smith goes in that direction and Luke Hodge will watch it sail over his head… this Hawthorn machine is unstoppable at the moment.”

Huddo: “Well the only thing they’ve got in their favour is time, they’ve got plenty of time, their confidence must be just about shot.”

“Josh Hill, nice collect, from the boundary line goes for it and kicks a cracking goal… can that spark them?”

Granland: “Inside 50’s: 19 to 5 this quarter, to Hawthorn.”

Hudson: “Yeo from 48, he’s struck it well, it’s touch and go, it’s all go for West Coast… Elliot Yeo has given them something to hold onto.”




Hudson: “Jack Darling, he looks every inch a footballer and he shows it right now, delivers an early punch at the start of the 3rd. It looks like a different game… they look like a different team, they’ve kicked the last 3 goals.”

Maxwell: “He could have handballed it either side, they could have rugby run it all the way into the goal…”

Derm: “That was a gift goal”

Harford: “They are going to have to capitalize because this little surge will take energy out of them, it is stifling down here. “

Hudson:” Darling, oh! He juggled, he muffed the mark. It was a sitter. Stratton’s there to handball away. They just continue to fail the big moments…”

Granland: “Rioli goes the centering kick… ground ball Hill, back into Shoenmakers… kicks the goal for Hawthorn and that hurts West Coast…”

Derm: “The will to do the web, caused that goal. They had a one on one coverage down the wing…Xavier Ellis thought I can be the third man in the web here, didn’t kill the footy, it bobbled over the back and his man was Paul Puopolo, who ran it into the forward line.”

Granland: “Good work Frawley, takes the football kicks it back inside 50, Gunston! It all opened up for him.”

(Cyril’s intercept)

Derm: “Rioli!”

Hudson: “In the blink of an eye, Rioli stole it, gave it to Bruest, to Puopolo… Gunston takes the mark running back to goal.”

Derm: “He gave it off before anyone realised he’d intercepted it…”

Hudson: “It’s just wrong isn’t it, it’s unfair…”

Derm aside, SEN’s was not my preferred call. I will pass on their final quarter – that’ll show ‘em. When Hudson said ‘another lame Grand Final’, it was hard to shake the feeling he’d made up his mind. Now, that’s fine. I’m sure that, by half time, some people had staggered out into the backyard or decided this is the time to commence Christmas shopping. The difference is those people are not calling the game. Callers should not only find their enthusiasm when the trailing team scores, barracking for a good game. The call of Tony Leonard (3AW) was a standout for his objective articulate passion, even when it was a foregone conclusion.


SEN score a 6.


Let’s get to Roy & HG…






ROY: “This is unchartered territory when is the last time we had a pack of birds going at a pack of birds?  Last time we did, we had Angry Anderson in the Bat mobile.”


(HG asked Roy for his view on Hawthorn)


ROY: “I do like a few, I like Roughead… he’s a no nonsense type… I don’t like people with tickets on themselves. I like good honest, hard working toilers. That’s what I like about this line up. You know, they’ve been here before. This is the 4th time in a row. Now, if they win today, you’ve gotta say the AFL, as a concept, is broken. Something’s gone wrong.”

HG: “Will you be calling for a probe?”

ROY: “I will.”

HG “Is that the narrative… the idea that the same team can turn out 4 years in a row indicates that the AFL as a concept is bust? Is that what you’ll putting on your blog?”

ROY: “I’m calling for a Royal Commission. The former Prime Minister Tony Abbot was very keen to have a probe about this very issue. I don’t know about the new bloke… as far as I can tell he’s said nothing about the AFL since he’s became Prime Minister. How long’s he been there? 2 weeks?”

HG: “Time enough.”

(This was followed by a comparison of the team songs.)

ROY: “… These songs we’ve heard them for years, but never really thought about the lyrics. Now if we look at the club song for the Eagles, not a difficult thing to get your head around, ‘We’re flying high, we’re flying high – repeat that four times. We’re the Eagles, West Coast and we’re here to show you why. So you lean forward and think alright, they’re going to show us why… We’re the big birds, kings of the big game…. Kings if the big game are they?”

HG: “I thought Lions were.”

ROY: “If you’ve forgotten the message they go back to it….that’s it. It’s rubbish. It’s nonsense… The Hawthorn song, is far more elaborate… It begins; we’re a happy team at Hawthorn… Look at ‘em here do they look particularly happy to you? – We’re the mighty fighting Hawks…  I like that.”

HG: “I like that.”

ROY: “We love our club and we play to win  – no need for an inquiry there.

Riding the bumps with a grin”

HG: “Oh, isn’t that lovely.”

ROY: “Come what may you’ll find us striving, teamwork is the thing that talks

One for all and all for one is the way we play at Hawthorn. We are the mighty, fighting Hawks.”

ROY: “There’s a narrative there.”

HG: “There certainly is.”

Roy: “…It’s not just big birds, flying high, kings of the big game…. How can the players sing that, after a win, with conviction?”

HG: “They can’t.”

ROY “You can’t, whereas the Hawks could.

Eagles have to change their song.

They’ve got to have a song with meaning… We’re Eagles, we’ve got guts and courage”

HG: “We’ll never go to the shop.”

ROY: “No… we’ll never give up, ‘cos we’re high flying birds, so sit up!

That’s better.”

(On the Dyer Medal)

HG: “It’s not the best players that matter it’s the worst players that matter. Can I get you thoughts on the Dyer medalist?”

(Discussion followed. Roy and HG agreed that the Dyer medalist is about expectation; who is going to be great today and turns out to be a dud.)


ROY: “It’s a vibe thing, I think the Hawks have got the winning vibe”.

HG: Hawthorn easily, do you think?

ROY: “Let’s hope it’s not going to be a disappointment today. Let’s hope the game isn’t over after the first quarter. That’s what worries me. People say the third quarter is the championship quarter; I think the first quarter is going to be the big one. Whoever has their nose in front… they’re gonna win. That puts a lot of pressure on. I just hope we don’t have a blow out… That’s just more fuel for the inquiry, the royal commission called for by former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.”

(Tactics – the web)

HG: “Now, Roy…. by way of tactics, the West Coast Web. I know you’re a very keen observer of spiders” (they went on to discuss quite a few spiders, including the St. Andrews Cross.)

ROY: “Beautiful isn’t it? That’s the sort of web they wove last week.”

HG: “Will they have the opportunity to weave a web this week?”

ROY: “Well, that web they weave is usually woven on a smaller ground than we’re seeing today. Can they weave on the bigger ground, these highflying Eagles? Are they going to be flying too high for all their weaving work, to work, on the big MCG stage, especially with 100,000 people watching and countless billions across the world?”

HG: “You forget that, don’t you?”

ROY: “Right across the Middle east, people are putting their arms down, they’re going to the television, their big sets, and they’re sitting up wanting to see these high flying Eagles and how good their web that they weave is going to be? That’s the question.”

HG: “It’s a hell of a question.”

ROY: “And if you’re relying on a web, I think you’re going to be in trouble.”


National Anthem: I Thank You – Lionel Rose.

HG: “Do they (Hawthorn) have to be at their unsociable best today?”

ROY: “I think they do.”

HG: “Yes.”

ROY: “If they’re going to break the web.”


HG: “Here’s the Cuban Missile Crisis getting involved early”

ROY: Look at this web forming, HG. Look at the web!

HG: That’s a Trapdoor spider’s web. That’s fascinating there.

(After Shuey kicked WCE first)

HG: “I’m just wondering if you think this is a winning lead and the next goal would be absolutely crucial?”

(Roy laughs)

ROY: “Well, you don’t want to be behind, right from the off.”

(Rioli’s first goal)

HG: “Rioli, Rioli snaps! Could we have a shoot-out on our hands?”

ROY: “Aren’t they are happy team at Hawthorn? They grin at every bump.”

HG: “And I’ve gotta say that was good Brian, got the 50.”

ROY: “That’s what I call Lucky Lake. That’s Lucky Lake.”

ROY: “Oh, I don’t like them going backwards. This never works.”

ROY: “Simmo looking rueful”

ROY: “That was a selfish act from Shuey, who is penciling himself in as the Dyer medalist at this stage.”

HG: “Beautiful mark from Shoenmakers…”

ROY: “I love a plural name. I don’t know what a ‘Shoenmaker’ is, but I’m glad we’ve got two of them”

(Shortly after)

ROY: “Terrific work from Shoenmakers, both of them.”

(Cyril’s second goal)

HG: “They left Cyril all alone in the web! … Shonemakers saw him and beautiful pass…”

ROY: “Shoenmakers, the two of them!”

HG: “I think it’s unfair that they have two though.”

ROY: “When Shoenmakers are both on form…”

HG: “It’s a hell of an advantage.”

(After a point)

HG: “A failure between brain, buttock, boot and ball.”

ROY: “Can I suggest the Eagles are running out of ideas?”

ROY: “It started off… like a bunger in a letter box. Suddenly it’s become…”

HG: “A damp squib.”

HG: “Cyril! Cyril’s got it within kicking distance…”

ROY: “Cyril!”

HG: “This would be nail in the coffin. He’s turned… Hill’s there!”

ROY: “Run and put it through, son.”

HG: “Yes! Five goals in a quarter.”

ROY: “That could break their hearts, HG.”

HG: “The Narrative, Roy?”

ROY: “Well the narrative is the Eagles aren’t flying quite high enough and Hawthorn are a happy team.”

HG: “Would you say West Coast can play a lot better than this?”

ROY: “Yes… on smaller grounds.”


(At Quarter time.)

HG: “Are you calling for the probe, Roy?”

Roy: “I am. It seems unfair, it just seems as if the happy team from Hawthorn are twice as good as any other team in the competition. Do we put it down to coaching? In part, yes. But you’ve got to put it down to culture. We’re the ‘happy team’ from Hawthorn…. There’s a lot to be said for happiness, isn’t there?”

HG: “Should they tag Mitchell?”

ROY: (sighs) “Yes, probably… if it doesn’t break up their web thinking.”





HG: “Oh, no, don’t tell me!”

ROY: “He’s done it!”

HG: “Ohhh!”

ROY: “That’s the goal of the year! The Skipper’s kicked the goal of the year!”

HG: “Oh no, that – oh, no, when those things happen…”

ROY: “You know it’s on, don’t you? We’re the Happy team from Hawthorn, aren’t we?”

(HG Laughs)

ROY: “You can see why, when things like that happen. It puts a grin on everyone’s face, doesn’t it?”

HG: “It does… except if you’ve driven all the way from Perth… Imagine the people now, having come all that way in the bus. They only had two songs on the shuffle, the club theme song and Eagle Rock. They heard them over and over and over…”

(Rioli tackle on Hutchings)

HG: “He’s caught! Ohh, that’s gotta be. Yes, holding the ball.”

ROY: “You were caught son… and Rioli’s done it again, hasn’t he?”

HG: “Oh, Rioli Norm Smith medalist…. Tapped back to Gunston, he’s got it.”

ROY: “Oh, goal… this is a riot.”

HG: “That’s 8 goals in a row. 49 plays 12.”

ROY: “Oh, dear, oh dear.”

(Half time.)

HG: “Can you suggest that the momentum in that the last bit of that (2nd) quarter, favoured West Coast?”

ROY: “Yes, it did… only because the Hawks lost interest.”


HG: “They’ve got a chance, yes, Darling! … they need Darling and the Cuban Missile Crisis to fire… There’s the kick away… He’s got it. He’s got it. 4.9, there is a chance. It’s 57 plays 33…”

ROY: “We might have a football match…could this go to the wire? No-one was taking ‘wire’ 10 minutes ago.”

HG: “Hawthorn had a chance to get a goal…”

ROY: “and blew it… through smugness, being too happy…”

HG: “and now the high fliers are back into it.”

HG: “They’ve worked hard at half time getting the web back together, I think…”

HG: “Shueys’ got a chance to get a goal here, he’s kicks it…Oh, no!”

ROY: “Shuey, you idiot.”

HG: “They’re trying a lot harder, at least.”

ROY: “They are…”

HG: “But now of course the width of the oval, this appallingly wide oval, it’s impossible to play against.”

HG: “They’ve got a chance here, Has Darling got it? He dropped it.”

ROY: “He dropped it.”

HG: “Oh, no! No!”

ROY: “He’s laid an egg, he’s laid an egg.”

HG: “That’s the width of the oval.”

ROY: “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. There’s your Dyer medalist, for that act alone.”

HG: “Now it’s kicked out of bounds on the full.”

ROY: “Oh, so suddenly the oval’s too narrow.”

(HG laughs)

(Shoenmakers kicks Hawthorn’s 10th goal)

HG: “Cyril! Cyril plays on, they’ve got so many Hawthorn players over there. It’s off hands…”

ROY: “Yes, that’s a score!”

HG: “It’s the width of the oval, Roy.”

ROY: “It’s destroying the game.”

HG: “Is that going to be part of the probe?”

HG: “Frawley’s playing exceptionally well on ‘the Crisis’, up it comes…Oh, Gunston! They were all worried about Cyril…”

ROY: “They forgot about Gunston. Easy to do.”

(Rioli intercept and Gunston goal)

HG: “Oh, he’s intercepted there, onto Breust, goes out wider onto Puopolo. He’ll come back inside, he’s had a crack… has he got him? Yes! Gunston!… He’s got it.”

HG: “There was disturbing image of two people working on Shoenmakers, indicating two people needing to be worked on.”

ROY: “Is Shoenmakers struggling, both of them?”

(Isaac Smith Goal)

HG: Gone for the pocket…here’s a chance…Ohhhhh!

ROY: Oh, yes! My God, everything’s working.

HG: Smith…. I’ve got to say that was a goal you remember…

ROY: Beautiful work.

HG: Maybe they were fishing for that, Hawthorn.

HG: “Mitchell, got the ball, gets it back to Suckling, his first kick, he did it, Roy.”

ROY: “Yes, he did it.”

HG: “His first kick in a Grand Final… a goaaaaaaaal!”


(Three-quarter time.)

ROY: “It could be the end of football in Western Australia.”

HG: “For, maybe 15 years?”

ROY: “Well, 2 or 3 generations, until people have forgotten and start again.”

ROY: “Once a team has won 3 times on the trot, well it shouldn’t happen. There should be safeguards preventing this sort of thing. Don’t we have those safeguards?  I thought we did.”

HG: “Can I point out that, on today’s display, they could win next year as well.

I know. If the willingness is there… This sort of thing kills the game. I remember in Rugby League when St. George won 11 years in a row, people just gave up.”

HG: “Should there be only one team in Perth, combine Eagles and Dockers?”

ROY: “Well, the probe could look at that.”

HG: “Can I ask, speaking of Fremantle Dockers, are you entirely happy with those blow up anchors in their ground?”

ROY: “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hate that. Anything that cheapens the game has got to be weeded out.”

HG: “…This is (going to be) a long quarter for West Coast, isn’t it?”

ROY: “This is the equivalent of being strapped to a tail of the Donkey and whipped through the streets, while people throw vomit and garbage at you.”

HG: “Right. Are you hoping that will happen?”

ROY: “Well, how many times over the last 30 years, H.G Nelson, have we argued for a ‘Mercy rule’?… If you went into the dressing room and said to the WCE, high flying as they might, ‘Boys, you’re not flying very high today. Would you be happy to fly home early?’ I’m sure to a man they would put their hand up.”




ROY: “This is more like the web weavers.”

HG: “Ironic cheers for the Cuban Missile Crisis, not a great kick…away it goes to Hill, Hill may have a chance of getting a goal here.”

ROY: “Have a shot here, Hillo.”

HG: “Here he goes, runs it all the way in…Oh!”

ROY: “Oh touched! That is brilliant, that is brilliant!”

HG: “Good Brian.”

ROY: “Everyone laughed at that. It’s the Harlem Globetrotters, they’re putting on a show…”

HG: “Rougheeaaaad!”

ROY: “They’re a happy team, aren’t they?”

ROY: “Let’s return to those lyrics of the West Coast Eagles.

We’re flying high

We’re flying high

We’re flying high

We’re flying high.

I get that.

We’re the Eagles, West Coast Eagles and we’re here to show you why…

Is there any need for them to show why they’re Eagles? They’re Eagles because the bloody club’s called that. How do you show that? How do you demonstrate that, through your actions? There’s no action to demonstrate the ‘whyness’. It’s just stupid…

We’re the big birds, Kings of the big game. Well, no, clearly.”

HG: “Kings of the modest sized oval… When we’re at the ‘G…”

ROY: “We’re buggered.”


HG: “There it is… Hawthorn victors in 2015, in a very lopsided match. The happy team is happy again… Let’s take in this tune and celebrate…” (song: Dirty Deeds done dirt cheap – AC/DC).

(In the post-match, HG asks Roy about ‘the probe’.)

ROY: “…They’re the big issues before we get to the miniature of fairness and how we ensure that it never happens again that one team wins three in a row. That’s what we’ve got to get to the bottom of, ‘How did this happen?’… What if they come back and they’re in the Grand Final for the fifth year, next year? What does that say about the game?”

HG: “I know.”

ROY: “How do you feel if you’re a supporter of the Giants or the Suns? You think when’s it going to be our go? Answer: At this stage never.”

HG: “People are going to start following Rugby Union, aren’t they?”

ROY: “They will. That’s how sad it’s getting.”


For Festival Of The Boot: a 10.

That’s the revue for 2015. I sincerely hope to be back with you again next year.



Re-live the 2015 season with The Footy Almanac. Find out more here.


About Paul Campbell

Lawyer, left footer. Loves the Hawks and follows a few U.S sports.


  1. What a lovely Christmas present.

    Love the quality of the analysis, love the depths delved and love Roy and HG.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Pretty sure that Frawley said ‘should of’, other than that, yowza Paul. I wonder if Peter B will be giving us his version?

  3. 2013 – Admirable. 2014 – Respect. 2015 – This time it’s personal, repetitious, boring and humiliating.
    I believe there is an honest reflection of the day on p.462-464 of the Almanac book, but I am too afraid to look. Expunged from memory.
    Hawkporn has descended into Hawkwank – get a life.
    Sombre not sober of Subiaco

  4. SImon Dix-Draper says

    Speshal! And yes, without Dennis, You wouldn’t watch 7. They’ll need to get Tim Lane back. And make Leigh apologise for whatever he did. Ling is good, Wayne is ok, Richo’ is nice, BT is ‘all about me’ and making it ‘sensashonal!’ – if it ain’t close fugeddaboudit. Then there’s the b-team, Dwayne – big voice…meh, Darcy is not sure where he belongs…Roy and HG still genius.

  5. Thanks Paul! Loved every word of the review. Thought it would be impossible, but D Frawley sounds even more awful in print. And no Lethal, what did he do to those morons at 7?

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