Hawks 2018 season: Exit, pursued by a bear



The Hawks set out to exorcise demons in the semi-final clash against Melbourne only to find the Demons used the game against the flapping Hawks as an exercise on their way to the Preliminary Final!

Our bow out was not too dishonourable. Beaten by two sides that may well play off for the Premiership. Hit by injuries at the wrong time of the year and at the wrong time in both games. Playing a handful of youngster guns who can only learn and improve from this experience. Reduced by poor kicking on goal. We did alright. Come 2019, well the sky’s the limit.

Anyways, any Hawker worth their feathers will tell you 2018 was never going to be THE year. Happy to scare the competition and the whole damn enterprise, that’s for sure. We did well enough making the Eight. The double chance was a blessing and a chance for everybody to lose their shit thinking our evil empire was rearing. Instead we got booted in the rear. Twice.

There was no evil empire. Just a good side that knows how to win clutch games enough to get them a little higher up the ladder than was their true status. Remember, we got beaten by Brisbane Bears Lions. Like Twice. Actually, twice. No, really, twice.

Everyone has their Moby Dick. For some it is an actual whale. For others it is a hardwood stump. My Moby Dick sat for months on end near the woodpile refusing to be split or even challenged. It had plenty of scars from my many failed attempts to turn it into firewood.

I started off with rail-spikes and a mini sledge hammer gifted to me by my father-in-law Thanasis. To, you know, split wood the old fashioned back-breaking way. I think he thought it would be the making of this faux-bloke. I would set the rail-spike and bring the hammer down with all of my 55 years of faux-blokeyness channelled into the force of the blow. The hardwood stump took the blow with something close to bemusement. It mocked me I tell ya.

So I bought an axe. First ever. Weird purchase. In Bunnings there’s an aisle of axes to choose from. So fuckin many! And when you finally decide on one (don’t ask me how you arrive at that decision) you stride through Bunnings like a puffed up Paul Bunyan (but looking more like The Burly Man). The axe cut clean into the hardwood stump but showed no sign of breaking its resolve. And left me with my brand spanking new axe jammed deep into a very heavy log.

So I let sleeping logs lie. As winter tolled its foreboding bell, a bell-weather for the months ahead, we kept the home-fires burning with Stringybark and Bloodwood and occasionally Victorian Mountain Ash. And every time I went out to the woodpile my Moby Dick stood like a sentinel, sucking in my embarrassment and fury like oxygen. Stoic and wily, with its knotted visage, scars and dense grain the hardwood stump barely tolerated my presence.

I waited. And I plotted. And I schemed. I mostly waited. As August turned slowly into September and the footy finals were upon us I almost forgot about my great white whale. The Hawks surrendered and I was about to do the same. But we were low on firewood. I guessed we had two more days of wood and the weather suggested we might just get away with that ratio. Another day’s worth would be just right. That damned stump would do the job.

Then, like a bolt out of the blue or more likely Koestler’s Sleepwalkers it came to me. For months I had been trying to ratiocinate in splendid isolation and the stump had me stumped. Without pressure to solve the problem, to kill the whale, I got it. Don’t split the damn thing man, chip away at its defences. Bring the axe down at corners of the stump’s circumference. Shave it.

This worked. Took me an hour of bloody swearing, sweat and beers but I did it. I stood triumphant, one hand gripping a raised axe and one thonged foot resting on the remains of my mortal enemy. (I seriously did not do that). It is really hard to stand triumphant over a log. That night we burned my dear old friend down to its last cinder and it warmed our hearts for hours.

The Hawks are everybody’s Moby Dick. The Cats too. And the Swans. And in time Richmond will be the whale in the room, if they aren’t already. The secret to defeating this monstrous foe is to sleepwalk. Not in the traditional sense. That’d be stoopid. But to allow your best instincts and intelligence and skill-sets to work together to find a new way, an alternative, another mode of playing the same old game. That’s what the Dees and Pies and Eagles and Tiges are up to. I chipped around the boundary and broke the back of the legend that was the hardwood stump. I controlled the game. I fought the whale and I won. And you can too.

The Hawks were never going to win the Premiership this year. We knew that as far back as 5pm on 14 July as the temperature slid down from its giddy height of 15 degrees. Further south in Lonnie the Hawks were being led a merry dance by 16th placed Brisbane Bears Lions. A ten goal to three second half spelled the end of the Hawks real shot at 2018 glory. Going into the game the Hawks, in percentage terms, were 30 points to the good of their lowly opposition. There was one other stat that mattered. Brisbane had already beaten the Hawks this season. Thumped us. You’re not going to be a serious contender if you can’t beat (or even get close to) a struggler.

Best of luck to the last four in the Prelims. It will be a weekend for the hunter and the hunted. Meanwhile, the Hawks have exited pursued by a bear lion.


About Rick Kane

Up in the mornin', out on the job Work like the devil for my pay But that lucky old sun has nothin' to do But roll around Heaven all day


  1. Trucker, we might just put a hold on adding the Tigers to the list of Mobys.

    Hawks in an interesting place now. Have recovered very well since last year’s poor start. But the age profile of the list is not that of a rebuilding team.

    “We don’t do rebuilds at Hawthorn”. We’ll see.

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