Hawks Answer the Pres

September had come early. Halfway through August, Hawthorn and Melbourne were playing off for potentially the last spot in the top eight. It was an Elimination Final in Round 20. A Hawthorn loss, a moderately heavy loss, would see Melbourne steal their position in the top eight, while the Hawks would fall out and more words would be said during the week involving Jeff Kennett. The pressure on the Hawks’ players going into the game must’ve been enormous. Melbourne were playing for a spot in the finals, a sharp reminder to the lengths at which they had progressed in 2010, and it would be quite daunting for some of the club’s younger stars in the making.

Under grey skies, the umpire bounced the ball into the sodden MCG turf as the fate of both teams’ was to be decided. Melbourne looked like a top eight side early, with Liam Jurrah marking and goaling and then the forward line revelation in Lynden Dunn took a strong grab and converted. Lance Franklin answered back, skillfully snapping the ball across his shoulder as the rain started to bucket down. Brad Green got onto the end of a long, probing kick from Cameron Bruce, and he kicked goal number 48 of the year. The Hawks answered back with goals to Carl Peterson and Xavier Ellis after the ball luckily fell into his lap at the back of a pack inside 50. Jack Trengove skillfully shrugged off a few tacklers and converted, before Campbell Brown did the same as he battled Melbourne defenders on his way to the goalsquare, ramming home the equaliser as quarter time dawned.

Colin Sylvia gave Melbourne the lead early in the second quarter, intercepting a handball and snapping truly, before Rhan Hooper got a boot onto a ball in the goalsquare as Aaron Davey was carried off in the hands of trainers with a calf complaint. He wouldn’t make it back on the field. Austin Wonaeamirri provided a good highlight, running onto a bouncing ball at half forward, burning away from Stephen Gilham and goaling on the run. Peterson replied for Hawthorn, then Ellis snapped a nice goal to take the margin out to 14 points. Melbourne hit back hard though, with Jurrah kicking goal of the round. After a clanger Hawks’ kick at Melbourne’s 50m arc, Wonaeamirri pounced on it, booting the ball off the ground towards goal as he and Jurrah chased after it. Wonaeamirri played the shepherding role, allowing Jurrah to go to the ball, which was tumbling and spinning in the forward pocket, by himself. Jurrah used his natural instinct and kicked the ball off the ground towards the vacant goalsquare. Some would call it a fluke, but Jurrah meant it, and would land the goal again and again if put in the same scenario. Bruce put through his first from the goalsquare and Melbourne trailed by just three points going into half time, 8.1 to 8.4.

As I ate my fourth piece of Cheeseybite on toast, Jarryd Roughead snapped his second goal to give Hawthorn an eight point advantage. Luke Hodge, having a bit of a rough day at the office, had his face split open in a tackle with Nathan Jones, and as he came from the field with blood coming from his head, Jack Watts kicked a goal from the Shannon Byrnes position (the goal line). Then Mark Jamar took a great mark on the lead and converted from 45m out on a tight angle, Melbourne were in front. Franklin hit back after a soft free against James Frawley, but Jamar hit back again, taking a dive into the turf to mark and kick his second. Franklin again regained the lead for Hawthorn, snapping a high ball towards the big sticks, and Ellis intercepted a kick at the 50m line, playing on and kicking truly for his third. Hawthorn went into three quarter time with a 10 point lead, 12.7 to 11.3, and Melbourne’s chances of featuring in September looked thinner and thinner as the weather was promising more rain.

The rain came, and came, and came some more. It was a torrential downpour. I felt sorry for Steve Healy, and perhaps Michael Allan, who were most likely braving the conditions at the ground. I didn’t feel sorry for the players though. A tight, slippery scrap transformed the game, and saw the eventual winner come out on top. Hodge, as aforementioned, had played much better games, took the margin out to 16 points, chasing down a loose ball in the forward line, kicking the ball out of mid-air in the goalsquare, before Green marked in a vital contest to Hawthorn’s season. Josh Gibson went to ground, Green played on, ran into goal and from 30m out he drilled it. Sadly though, the accurate Demons suffered a couple of behinds when they really couldn’t afford to miss, and were barely kept in the game.

Mark Jamar has easily been the second best Ruckman in the AFL this year, behind only Aaron Sandilands. He has a good motor, great tap skills, is ferocious at the ball, can take a good pack mark and knows where the goals are. So, with a ball-up deep in Hawthorn’s attack against Brent Renouf, who is a rookie when paired with Jamar, the Russian was expected to clear the ball away from danger. Renouf won the tap to Shaun Burgoyne, he put ball to boot, and Melbourne’s season was over. It shows that you can have a career-best season, yet he lost the most important hit-out of the season. Again, Hawthorn won the ball at a stoppage, with Hodge kicking the ball towards the vacant goals, and it went through, much to the delight of the brown and gold army. The siren sounded, Hawthorn now had almost two feet in the finals race.

After this gritty loss, Melbourne will know that they can compete with the top teams of the AFL. Hawthorn might not be a top team, but they still boast stars such as Buddy, Roughead, Hodge, Mitchell and Brad Sewell. Those players can cause some serious damage in September, and if they do, you can expect Jeff Kennett’s mouth to be going into overdrive.

Hawthorn 4.1—8.4—12.7—15.9.99

Melbourne 4.1—8.1—11.3—12.6.78


Hawthorn-Franklin 3, Ellis 3, Roughead 2, Peterson 2, Hodge 2, Hooper, Brown, Burgoyne

Melbourne-Jurrah 2, Green 2, Jamar 2, Trengove, Wonaeamirri, Watts, Sylvia, Dunn, Bruce


Hawthorn-Sewell, Burgoyne, Franklin, Mitchell, Ellis, Stratton

Melbourne-Bruce, Bail, Sylvia, McKenzie, Bartram


48,211 at the MCG


3: Brad Sewell (H)

2: Shaun Burgoyne (H)

1: Cameron Bruce (M)

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.


  1. Steve Healy says

    Melbourne’s season is not over.

  2. Josh,

    I am seeking further info on a potential coach for the Wynyard Football Club, ex Dookie coach as discussed earlier.

    I would like to talk to some one from Waaia about him. Opposition would give a sound critique I suspect.

    If you are able can you email me at [email protected]

    Cheers Phantom.

  3. Phantom,

    What sort of info do you need? What sort of player he is or what sort of personality? Because my uncle works with the bloke, he could give me some personality info on him if you wish.

  4. Josh,

    e coached Dookie to a flag in 2006 and is looking to move to NW Tassy.

    I am coordinating Wynyard’s recruiting and am doing some “due dilligence”.

    The player is Dale Osbourne. His CV. looks ok but before we got into the situation of flying him over here for discussions I was seeking further info.

    I appreciate your assistance. You would know the challenges facing people involved in regional clubs.

    Cheers, Bill.

  5. Further Josh, I suppose the first question is can he coach?

    What sort of a footballer is he?

    Is he a reasonable person?

    He obviously is in a regional place now so does he fit in?

    Anything like that.

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