Hawkology Part 1: I used to rule the world. ‘Cyz’ would rise when I gave the word.


 [Rated H – Occasional Hawthorn]


It was not our year. It was the year of the dog… Trump, Ali, Gene Wilder, Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen and George Michael – ‘Dogs were by far the best news. Still, it was anything but a dull year for the Hawk-hearted. No more ‘Peats’ but there was a Paul who started odd pieces never finished or ditched them when they seemed pointless. Relentlessly, they are cobbled together here, mostly as written at the time without a tidying of context and revision. If you are a Hawk they may fill a void. If not, these are not the voids you are looking for.


Act I – Sounds of Summer.


“Greatness is respected, rejoiced, revered. Greatness is the goal and in sports greatness can become… boring. After the rise we await the eventual fall. No-one can win all the time right? Nobody’s perfect, so why should they be?”

Lawyer and Deputy White House Communications Director, Sam Seaborn (AKA Rob Lowe) in his role of Narrator for ESPN 30 for 30 doco, “I hate Christian Laettner”.


“The most annoying thing about Duke, about the Yankees, the New England Patriots is that they win, over and over and over again.” [Same Doco].


It’s pretty early but the boys look in good nick. We’re still very hungry. Losing (the Grand Final to Sydney) in 2012 still cuts a lot of blokes up so we don’t want to go down that path again.”

Cyril Rioli, December 3, 2015[1].


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To Obtain Happiness You Must Risk Becoming Miserable

On a wall in Chancery Lane, Bendigo. Victoria – 2016.


Never f*ck with a winning streak

Crash Davis in the movie ‘Bull Durham’.


 Act II – Chancery Lane, Counting Crows and the unexpected virtue of a pre-season with Marilyn Monroe.


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“Mr. Jones and me look into the future.

Stare at the beautiful women.

She’s looking at you.

I don’t think so. She’s looking at me.”

‘Counting Crows’ – ‘Mr. Jones’ from the album, ‘August and Everything After’, listened to on the road to Bendigo, February 2016.


February 2016 – It was a pleasantly warm working week in Bendigo, when the pre-season carnival rolled into another town. Walking for coffee, the lurid boots beckoned from a sports store window and a man’s fancy turned to footy. Chancery Lane has a funky blend of food, coffee and fashion. ‘Round here something radiates. Artisans, Hipsters and Goths, they all felt it, the reverie before reality, the return of a King… well, David King.


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The Lane takes its name from the Court of Chancery (UK). In bygone times, petitioners came here when the common law would not provide a remedy. It has been a while since I studied Equity, but it always held a salty-musty fascination. The Chancery exploded partly because of its remedies – specific performance, injunctions and damages – and partly for floodgate numbers willing to chance it for equitable relief. They nailed their colours to the mast, with some success, and it drew criticism from Common-Lawyers that the Chancellor’s discretion was as varied as each Chancellor’s foot[2] – a ‘deliberate out of bounds’ rule of its day.


The pre-season is a promissory note and the season specific performance. The upright and fair, defaulters, non-performers and those with unclean hands all will reveal themselves. You must do equity to get equity. Do you wait and see or are you making an argument, ‘this will be our year’.


“I know it’s only in my head.

But the girl on the car, in the parking lot

Says, ‘Man, you should take a shot’… ”

Counting Crows – ‘’Round Here’ from the album, ‘August and Everything After’.


Hawthorn assiduously approach 2016 having set an unsustainable high standard: 5-consecutive Preliminary finals, 4-consecutive Grand Finals and 3-consecutive Premierships. To sustain the unsustainable they’ll need to avoid the avoidable and downfall could come from a tumult of events including but not limited to:

  • Fitness
  • Form
  • Hubris
  • A smooth PCL recovery for the big Rough
  • Diversifying the offensive portfolio
  • Breuy, Lewis and the Muse
  • Too unsociable
  • Not unsociable enough
  • Too much weights, not enough speed work
  • 7 signs of aging
  • The tactical chasing guerillas


To be honest, it’s the furthest thing from the mind at the moment. If we can get ourselves up into the top four later in the year then it would perhaps be silly not to think of it at all, but at this point you’re very much focused on whatever the next little challenge is. So much water has to go under the bridge…

Sam Mitchell – ‘No end in sight for Mitchell” – hawthornfc.com.au, 22 February 2016.


Warm days and unfettered optimism make pre-season a time for dreaming. Dreaming of a premiership – one, not four. I’m somewhat aware – as a supporter’s luck goes – I’ve been riding a private jet of excess, sipping champagne in the spa with Cussons Imperial Leather, instructing ‘Simon’ to fly to Tahiti. Sooner or later, I will come to the end of my soap-on-a-rope. Also have a nagging recollection of Mr. Creosote, in ‘The Meaning of Life’ movie, trying to stuff in one more wafer thin mint and exploding in his own vomit. As surely as all good things must end, there’s no fun in that premise.





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A fed, fat and satisfied ‘El Gordo’ in Chancery Lane (excellent coffee). El Gordo can be translated as “The Fat One” and is also one of the richest lotteries in Spain, known as Spain’s fatty lottery.


In the end, supporter’s luck won’t change how I feel upon a whiff of the liniment. I don’t covet four but tend to want them to win whatever is in front of them; a pre-season game against Carlton in Launceston? Not so much. You have to care. If you don’t care become an Australian Tennis player.


Leaving the lane and drifting further into Benders, it was hard to miss that Marilyn Monroe is coming to town. All around there was giant advertising of the screen goddess.


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Looking closely at the above picture of Marilyn, could hardly believe my eyes   and yet there it was. MM dressed in the very same gold lamé we will slip on again interstate this year. Perhaps I shouldn’t compare the incomparable beauty of Marilyn with the… hold on, both are incomparable beauties.


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A three-story tall statue of Marilyn stood in Rosalind Park’s piazza. Modeled by American Artist Seward Johnson and inspired by the scene in the 1955 film, ‘The Seven Year Itch’.


On February 18, hunted for a venue in Bendigo to watch Hawthorn-Carlton. Ever since Grant Thomas and Lenny Hayes stood on a dais holding an oversized punch bowl and wearing expressions like their dog had ran away, the  pre-season has declined to dead ball. Now it is stripped back to a few untelevised practice matches and no punch bowl.

The ‘do nothing until you hear from me’ pre-season, devoid a single cherry picked game on free-to-air TV may seem an unusual marketing plan but is understood on a contract level. Call it a Cup, a Challenge or a Jamboree, come and see the unreal thing but not for free. For the un-pre-paid, on Sunday February 28 2016[3] Carlton played Essendon while the free-to-air broadcaster re-ran ‘My Kitchen Rules’. There has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian football fan.

Meanwhile, back in Bendigo, I stumbled upon an Americana-steeped, last of the great pioneer town bars with good selection of craft beers. An inviting place where nobody knows your name; ‘Omaha, somewhere in middle Victoria’.


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Pre-season football requires the national agile vision we were informed of recently. Maybe it’s the generational change or conspicuous absentees. Like the latest Star Wars movie, the new batch look fine but you want Solo and the Wookie. Esoteric calling of who’s lighter, fitter and playing how many ‘minutes’, prompts reflection on how many minutes you should put in?

A little uninvolved in the 3rd, I noted Dermott’s comment on one of our departures.


“This is where the Hawks need to find something in the absence of David Hale. Often times they could bang it long and know there’s a 6 foot 7 key target there, other than that they get movement… in tough times, they can put it up to him and at worst he’s going to bring it to ground”

Dermott Brereton during Hawthorn v Carlton 18.2.2016.


David Hale was not the quickest, not a prolific mark and about as no frills as they come (announcing his retirement to teammates, he quipped he’s now free to concentrate on modeling) but Big Haley hit into contests unequivocally. The Hawks liked his rucking and forward versatility and he had a tendency to play well against Geelong, which I came to appreciate. Sometimes one moment is all you need to know and, personally, it is the dying throes of the 2013 Prelim. 30 seconds left (and with still a chance of late inequity) Hodge went long, Hale bastioned front position and then dependably handballed to Shiels, ensuring safe passage to a Grand Final.


While on departures:


Brian Lake only played 54 games in brown and gold – 3 of them were flags. Arguably, the best was behind Brian when he came to Hawthorn, regardless his ability to deliver in big games was nothing short of extraordinary. I’m usually indifferent about defenders, but when it’s coming in hot you want Brian under that ball. You need Brian under that Ball. I’ve not seen a more heroic defensive intercept mark. The one step short passes were less reassuring but you could overlook them. He also had a tendency to play well against Geelong, which I came to appreciate.


In contrast to Brian, Matt Suckling has gone to the ‘dogs. His left foot will be missed. He could make that ball boogie-woogie, so much so he was nearly a set-piece-player. Get him in space. Let him kick. Personally, I’m fond of his goal in the 3rd quarter of 2014’s Grand Final and another on three-quarter-time of the 2015 Preliminary Final against the Dockers.


Special mentions for Jonathan Simpkin, Jed Anderson and Sam Grimley.   Simpkin played 33 games over three seasons, Anderson 10 and Grimley 3. They were all part of a depth critical to success and it deprived them of starts.


Heard in the commentary:


“Well all the other supporters are sick of them Derm, but you can’t help having incredible admiration for what they’ve done”.Anthony Hudson – late in the 3rd of Hawthorn-Carlton. 18 February 2016.


I think Hudson’s two propositions are mutually exclusive. My monitoring on the point detects anti-sentiment on the rise with the big swing coming from the neutrals (rusted-on haters remain steady). Conversations with neutrals reveal a three-peat trend; benevolent after 1, indifferent after 2, but after 3 they cry out, ‘Make it stop’. A senior Barrister friend said he has not observed anything like this in his lifetime. He calls it Hawkism.


Which reminds me, when the opening vision to the Fox Footy program ‘30 Minute Thrillers’ features the end of the 2012 Grand Final (Malceski goal), the end of the 2011 Preliminary Final (Ball goal), the end of Round 19, 2012 against Geelong (Hawkins after the siren) and then dredges all the way back to Round 1, 2003 (A Brad Green winner against us, in the final minute) is this coincidence?

Of course it is, I’m just a sentimental conspiracy theorist.


Act III – Round 1: Geelong v Hawthorn. MCG. Monday March 28 2016.


For Round 1, this felt like a final. After tumbling out of the eight last year   Geelong were trending in the hubbub in view of their big signing, Dangerfield. Reading the Herald-Sun ‘Footy 16’ preview, Jon Ralph, Jon Anderson, Scott Gullan, Jay Clark and Grant Baker all picked them for Premiers and 7 experts picked Danger for the Brownlow.

Round 1 has an odd greater meaning than other rounds. You’ve been waiting a while and are looking for clues. Chances are, if you lose Round 1 and then win the next 5 you’ll be happy after Round 6. You won’t be happy after Round 1. Luke Breust kicked the first of the Hawthorn’s season and things looked rosy enough. Alas, we were poor afterwards, particularly in contested possession. Zac Smith had 2 or 3 before I knew he had reverse migrated. Meanwhile, up forward we appeared to have replaced Roughead and Hale with Grant Denyer.

At half time we trailed by 30-points. Geelong 11.1 – 11 fuc*ing 1! Dangerfield was living up to the summer long narrative.

When you are 5-goals down at half time of any game you should expect to lose. You hope you’ll claw it back to 2-goals at ¾ time and the opponent will retch on a fur ball, but it doesn’t happen as often as I would like. For some reason that doesn’t stop me hoping.

A 3rd quarter revival by the Hawks – 5 goals to nil – only elevated my expectations we’d go on and win it. Not to be. They recovered control of stoppage and clearance, and their 7 goals to 2 in the final quarter spoiled the opener. Dangerfield took a spectacular high mark (replayed over and over for weeks) and then badly missed his shot (not replayed as much).

The Hawks need to knock some rust off and play a couple over 6’ 1”. But this is only a funky beginning and the end of a long pre-season.


{Up next – Hawkology II]




[1] Guthrie. B, “Rioli signed and sealed until 2019”, hawthornfc.com.au

[2] Attributed to English Legal Scholar John Selden.

[3] In Melbourne.

About Paul Campbell

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

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