Chappy’s pact remains intact

The two arch-rivals prepare to do it all again. Mooney is a late scratching. Menzel the Magician (leading the goal kicking at Geelong) is named as substitute.

The match begins under glorious hazy sunshine. I’m standing among a bunch of triumphal Hawthorn fans. Where is Charles Darwin when we need him? The message emanating from the more potty-mouthed Hawthorn folk are that felines are canines. One ‘glamour’ has the gall to have a crack at Ling’s lack of facial beauty. The temerity!

Hawthorn (‘61, ‘71, ‘76, ‘78, ‘83, ‘86, ‘88, ‘89, ‘91, ‘08) completely dominates the first ten minutes. Chappy’s one-man covenant of ensuring eternal Geelong domination over Hawthorn looks extremely shaky. Hawk supporters sing their British-style football chants with gusto and undesirable frequency.

The Cats are jittery, slow and indecisive. The Hawks are irrepressible. Buddy’s troupe appears as unstoppable as a pyroclastic flow. Buddy is on track to break Fred Fanning’s record. Rioli is evasive and creative. Sewell plays with a Newlyn Cats toughness and determination. Mitchell is like that annoying goody-two-shoes urchin at school who slyly dishes out a dead-leg, draws an angry reaction, feigns innocence and never incurs the teacher’s ire.

Geelong’s first-quarter resurgence begins with Chappy. Who else but sterling and redoubtable Chappy? He is either laying a ferocious tackle, applying a solid bump or dobbing a vital one from 50 metres out. Chappy’s accentuated follow-through with his kicking action seems more pronounced than normal. As the ball leaves his boot, Chappy’s legs seem to keep him airborne for longer than the Wright Brothers initial flight.

Milburn, Lonergan, Taylor and Scarlett stem the tide and start to gel. Milburn will be knocking up getting possessions in local footy in 2025. Lonergan takes Buddy. I don’t envy him. Lonergan is a fighter and is to be much admired.

Geelong’s profligacy in front of goal proves costly in a more error-riddled and defensive-minded second term. Stevie J. needs to reassess his ambitious agenda a tad. He has more ideas than Pythagoras and ex-Cat Ronnie Burns combined. His kicking GPS needs recalibrating. And I hate it when he resorts to playing for free kicks. A Razzie nomination beckons.

Released from Buddy, Harry Taylor takes half-a-dozen marks. Three of them telling pack marks. Bartel, Kelly and Selwood win the hard ball. There are good signs for Geelong. It’s just not reflecting on the scoreboard. At the long break, Hawthorn just have their noses in front. Hawthorn fans seem to still possess that unshakeable belief. That sequence of numbers will always see to that.

The third quarter is an absolute cracker. Chappy’s 55-metre goal early in the term is an object of beauty. And it’s a further lesson in timing and kicking technique. Hawk supporters start singing Bateman (to the tune of Batman) after he puts Hawthorn 14 points in front.

At the midpoint of the third quarter, the Cats go berserk. They kick six goals in close to as many minutes. It is electrifying. And it bears some similarity to Carlton’s third-quarter burst against Collingwood in the 1970 pennant decider.

The origins for this goal avalanche are hard bodies (Bartel, Chappy and Selwood) winning the ball, speed-of-sound ball movement and a free Scarlett. He must stink like a skunk. Scarlett plays the Beckenbauer libero role to perfection. His precise disposal begins many attacks forward. Lonergan has the wood on Buddy. Milburn continues to impress.

Youngster Mitch Duncan again illustrates the importance of the toe-poke at Geelong with a toe-poked goal out of a pack. Corey, free of debilitating knee soreness, continues his improved kicking efficiency in 2011 with a nice goal on the run. Bartel, who I reckon is vying with Scarlett for best-on-the-ground in the third quarter, Chappy-snaps a beauty on the left. Bartel is a great, great footballer.

Varcoe morphs from Leyland P76 to Maserati. Incrementally, Varcoe is getting there as a footballer. His two goals come from cohesive teamwork reminiscent of the 2007 Grand Final landslide victory. Varcoe, after initialising a passage of play on the half-back line, sprints 100 metres to gather possession and seems to drop kick a goal for his first. Stevie J. is finding more of the ball and playing in a more conventional mode.

Exceptional football leaves Geelong leading by 22 points.

The game is very watchable. Long kicking is well and truly back in vogue. Hence, so are attempted pack marks and the crumbing of packs. Brad Ottens’ will and influence can’t be underestimated.

It’s neck and neck early in the last quarter. Geelong steady and then, like Lord in a WFA race at Caulfield, kick away. The kick emanates mainly from Scarlett. So does the punch as he irons out Lewis. Kelly and Selwood rule the roost in the centre and Lonergan continues to blanket Buddy.

Mitch Duncan, on the end of a brilliant kick from Menzel the Magician, toe-pokes another major. Menzel’s kicking biomechanics (hip rotation) look more than a little like Darren Jarman. Menzel to Duncan has a nice ring to it.

The Pod nails a banana from the boundary to ensure Chappy’s pact remains intact. Many of that posse of Hawthorn supporters who are still having difficulty with their biological classifications leave before the final siren. The final margin is 19-points.

Votes are almost impossible to give. For what it’s worth, I reckon (1) Lonergan, (2) Bartel and (3) Scarlett. Apologies must go to Selwood and Taylor.

After seeing Scarlett chaired off by Messrs Milburn and Enright, Geelong supporters skip and whistle back into the city.

Barely a fallen autumn leaf is displaced.


  1. Great piece Flynny. Very hard to read as a Hawks supporter. I loved your incisive observation of Sammy. I reckon you’ve nailed him the way JTH nailed Swan in an Age article a couple of years ago. I also cracked up at your description of Scarlett. I too was at the game in our customary Hawks home game seats, three rows from the fence just inside the 50m line at the Punt Rd end, Olympic Stand. We watched Scarlett run down the flank unopposed a dozen times. Actually, we watched Geelong sweep across the field so may time we got dizzy.

    The Cats were at the top of their game and the Hawks were too. Which is why it was such a terrific contest. However, the Hawks deficiencies were exposed in that light. No credible ruck. Renouf was subbed! A fragile backline. Hodge isn’t fit. We have work back at the drawing board to get on with.

    One small point, without meaning to sound ungracious in defeat, concerning the Scarlett Lewis incident. How was that not 50? That’s a text book 50. Would it have changed the result? I don’t think so. But it did leave me puzzled with a sour feeling long after the game was done.

    Oh, and I gave 3 votes to Harry Taylor.

  2. Nice one.

    Went along as an Essendon supporter who dislikes Hawthorn and has a big soft spot for the Cats… (I mean a neutral). The two teams put on another cracking game of Footy.

    Observations on some Cats players…

    Taylor: Marks from opposition kicks, amazing judgment and timing.
    Ottens: Best performed ruckman in the comp this year, including Sandilands.
    Selwood: Almost becoming underrated again. Made a rare blue in the second quarter and gave a ‘this has never happened to me before’ look – He kicked the reply two minutes later – enough said.
    Menzel: Everything he touched seemed to turn to gold, has a bit of Steve Johnson in his round the body kicking style (agree with the Jarman comparison as well)

    Great weekend of footy.

  3. Flynny – wonderful summary. Bit rich the Hawks fans getting into Ling’s facial limitations when they have a bloke called Roughead in their team!

    Scarlett was masterful. Won’t get that much room against the Pies. If Menzel keeps developing at this pace he could end up in the league of Pendlebury.

    We love Chappy at our house.

    Hawks probably a bit stiff that Cyril did his hammy.

  4. #3. It’s not Jarryd Roughead’s fault that he has the face of Dame Joan Sutherland.

  5. forwardpocket says

    I enjoyed this game. Is Varcoe Geelong’s bellwether? Does Geelong have the most attractive female supporters in the league? I mostly go to Collingwood games so it was a completely new dimension to football for me.

  6. Syd K, you sure paid attention to the detail, Taylor and Ottens were great yesterday.

    Think our backline and midfield/rucks were the difference, and resilience. Hawks fairly resilient too it must be said, thought we were one more goal away from a back breaking lead when we went 22 points up in the third; what a quarter of Australian rules football that was!

    Go Cats!

    Cheers, Ben

  7. #3,


    does that mean Menzel is going to Western Sydney as well as Pendlebury?

  8. Peter Flynn says

    Cheers all,

    A great rivalry. Both play a terrific style of footy.

    R Kane,

    That was a certain 50-metre penalty for mine. Shame about Rioli. A delight to watch play.

    Geelong booting 17 goals was a good sign. The adjustment from previous years is to kick longer and go a bit wider. A little bit more Buffalo Gals I believe.

  9. Andrew Fithall says

    Phantom – Just so Rick Kane doesn’t have to go to the trouble and expense of sending a chocolate frog across Bass Strait, I am happy to have a chocolate frog bet with you that Pendlebury will not go to GWS. When I win the bet I can just organise for Rick to give the frog to me.

  10. John Butler says

    Superb Flynny.

    Sounds like you enjoyed yourself. And why not. :)

    Phantom, I think you’re getting to them. :) :)

  11. So it’s Daisy who is going Andrew.

    I would prefer to get the mileage from Rick’s ‘Freddo’ for a while, but I am happy to have a ‘Choo Choo Bar’ on round 8….mate.

  12. Andrew Fithall says

    Mr Phantom. Since you have already conceded the Pendlebury one to me, I should leave it at that, but am happy to accept the bet on round 8. Now can someone explain what a choo choo bar is?

  13. Andrew,

    I am not sure I understand. I have not conceded anything to you. I just chose not to take a wager that was not related to a match result. To get a chocky bet on a game is big for me as I am not a punter.

    I could not take a chocky for something that has already been decided. How would I sleep at night. Every one knows he’s going.

    Now, a Choo Choo Bar is a retro hard licorice ‘filling puller’ that we used to buy in the sixties for three pence. Dave Nadel would know them. He knows heaps of stuff. I assume they still have them. It would be very easy for you to post over to Burnie as it won’t melt.

  14. David Downer says

    Some of your finest here Flynny. The S.Mitchell description a pearler! And a special credit for “Beckenbauer libero role”.

    Would you say that a Bomber-free (and Gaz-free) landscape has actually been just the tonic required for the Cats? Seems to have pumped a fresh new spirit into the place when it could have all just petered out.

    In reference to your chums at the ‘G, I’m not overly fond of those potty-mouthed soccer-chanting Hawks you speak of. Are these the late 20’s/early 30’s blokes who fit somewhere between the Barmy Army and the Red Faces-launched Music Men? They come to the footy with a swag-full of pre-rehearsed ditties to entertain the masses – which in itself, no worries.

    But when Hawthorn belted St Kilda (’66) in the 2008 PF, a number of these choir members took great delight in intimidating the absolute hell out of a bunch of old huncher-over Sainter nanna’s (in their mid-70’s at least and hand-knitted throw-rugs in tow) as they left the aisles. More inappropriate, frenzied, in-your-face taunting you wouldn’t find. Safety in numbers for these blokes.

    As has been mentioned at the odd knacker lunch, many of these “children of the 80’s” Hawks have morphed themselves into a particularly arrogant breed of supporter. And before I get howled down, yeah, yeah, I know, every club has them…


  15. Of the mnay good lines I love that Ronnie and Pyth are mentioned in the same sentence.

  16. Peter Flynn says

    Thanks DD and JTH,

    Very amusing DD.

    The C Scott appointment may well turn out to be an inspired one. The Bomber-free tonic has been liberating.

  17. Rick Kane says

    #8, Mr Flynn, re the Scarlett indiscretion – here is the response I got when I sooked on about Scarlett to a good friend, Western Districts man and Cats supporter: “I think you are being a bit harsh on poor old Matthew Scarlett, it was only Jordon Lewis that he clocked and as he is a Warrnambool boy a smack behind the ear never really harms them”.


  18. Peter Flynn says

    J Lewis has had a whack or two over the journey (e.g Harbrow).

    Given the NFL narrative on concussions, I hope there are no lasting effects.

  19. Rick Kane says

    Absolutely … I was, er, being, ah, light-hearted. It helps ease the pain in my footy shaped heart. Apparently it’s just a game but that’s bullshite. I know cause I can feel it deep down.


  20. Richard Naco says

    Inspired penmanship (and yeah, I know that technically it was typed, but the spirit of this piece truly emanates from a quill).

    I love playing the Hawks. Since ’08, anyway.

  21. Peter Flynn says

    Cheers Richard,

    Appreciate the kind thoughts.


  22. Andrew Fithall says

    Just re-read your fine piece Flynny. That last line could have you heading down the Haiku path I reckon. With all the Almanac admiration for Chappy I am not sure if I should be proud or ashamed that some years ago I was able to get a rise out of him when he was on the field and I was safely behind the fence. The occasion was a VFL/VFA? final Geelong against North Ballarat at Port Melbourne. He wasn’t playing well and I was letting him know. I congratulated him on getting reported so at least the statisticians would know he had made an appearance.

    If I wasn’t taking it just one week at at time, I would be looking forward to May 13.

  23. Peter Flynn says


    Hawkers were dragging their feet and kicking leaves.

    Thanks for giving Chappy the motivation to succeed.

    I’ll leave the haiku to the great man in Scandinavia.

  24. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Enjoyable as always , PF Chapman is a controversial , DCM and I concur re the similarities re , D Menzel and , D Jarman . Vardys inj is important the cats and crows have both copped inj to v important players which could hurt there chances big time .
    Thanks Flynny

  25. Peter Flynn says

    The Chappy pact transfers to the Bombers Rulebook.

    This was a ripper game.

    What I didn’t say in paragraph 2 that is topical now is that Varcoe was racially abused.

    He wouldn’t have heard it thank goodness.

    It was shameful.

    And it was shameful that I didn’t have the courage to confront them about it.


  26. Malcolm Ashwood says

    PF ii think the vital point is that we are all aware now of racial vilification and have no problem in reporting a moron . We all should have been aware of the sensitivity but we weren’t . The positive thing is while we have gone backwards in society over so many issues this is one in which we have made a giant step forwards

  27. Peter Flynn says

    Too right Rulebook.



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