Finals Week 1 – Geelong v Hawthorn: A Classic

John Harms on a classic September Friday in Melbourne.

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo13, Anna11, Evie10. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.


  1. I’m still scratching my head. It was as if this game was scripted. Was Hawthorn unlucky to lose? Would the Cats have been unlucky is Smith kicked it? The Hawks were probably better for big slabs of the game, but they struggled to contain the Cats when Geelong got on the burst. It could mean the Dogs will be very dangerous for the Hawks this Friday night. The Dogs are currently THE burst side.

    What pandemonium after the siren. Can you imagine if a Grand Final ended that way? Its still mathematically possible for the Hawks and Cats to meet in the Grand Final. Scary.

  2. Love it JTH.
    I do wonder about this one.
    No doubt it was a close game – and they bring their own excitement.

    I wonder though, in the context of the other finals, whether this was an old WWI trench warfare relic, while the Dogs, GWS, Crows have already switched to playing WW2 air-raids?
    Maybe it’s horse for courses.
    We’ll see.
    Roll on, the finals.

    That’s a lovely imagining, Dips. Imagine the GF decided like that.
    Ever moment so important.
    Games are full of redemptive opportunities. Until they’re not.

  3. Grand stuff JTH. I try to rate finals for pressure, like you rate horses for class. A lot can dash the last 400, but can you do it when you’ve been flat out from the 800?
    Geelong and Hawks rated 9.5. Sydney game 9.0. Perth game 7.5. Adelaide game 7.0.
    As always the elimination final winners are overrated, so Hawks and Cats are in it up to their wily old ears. GWS if they strike good tracks. Others passing. Sydney have bowed a tendon. Adelaide and Bulldogs – up in class. Not this prep.

  4. It seemed to me that when the Cats had hit their groove in the 2nd Q Hodge, first to realise what was happening, amped the aggro, got everyone seeing red, and changed the tone of the game. He effectively disintegrated the Cats mojo by taking the game to another place. Good game awareness. Cynical player. They never quite got it back. But will be better against any other team, I reckon.
    Motlop has less game awareness than my copy of The Great Gatsby. Mind you, if he’d kicked the goal…
    Play Guthrie in the middle. Don’t drop Bartel, I warrant he’ll be with us when he’s wanted at the end.

  5. Cat from the Country says

    I relived the game and am still exhausted at the result!
    Go Cats!
    Hubby, a Doggies member and I are tipping a big upset with the Dogs and the Cats playing off!

  6. ajc – spot on re: Guthrie. He’s done it a few times this season. Scott has him selling raffle tickets in the back pocket, we get in trouble, he moves into the middle and smashes it. Why do they make simple things complicated?

  7. Earl O'Neill says

    Theo has great hair. Get him a guitar for Christmas.

  8. Hawks brought everything except the serious brutality they can bring. Watch for this in the next few weeks. Clarkson will expect his players to do this, it might not be enough, but they will be seriously brutal from this week. He may even be prepared to..shall we say.. Have one of his players..reported and suspended on the sacrificial road to victory. Beware dogs, the nasty Hawks, and I mean nasty, will return on Friday night. They will be more than unsociable, fasten seat belts footy fans..

  9. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Beautiful stuff JTH,
    The prep, the ritual, the game and the roller-coaster of emotions. I reckon Theo will write about this one in years to come. The hug – the spontaneous expression of knowing that you have avoided defeat and are ready for the next battle. There’s a story about the great ‘Hug’ moments in footy waiting to be told by fans because it’s so raw and so real. Go Cats

  10. Thanks for all these comments.

    High pressure game alright. No time. No space. Players had to make the most of their moments in the clear.

    ER, it’s one of many questions of this month. How will Hawthorn defend tonight? How then does that impact on what the Dogs cando.

    I absolutely loved Mark Blicavs game.

    Motlop had the footy three times in the dying stages.

    I’ll tell Theo Earl – love your comment.

    Theo and I had a terrific night after what was a really good day. Thanks again to Ray Wilson and Gareth Andrews. And nice to see Susan and Olivia at lunch.


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