Hawthorn is Latin for “Lucky”.

We were at the Town Hall Hotel. It was miserable outside; soft, persistent, drenching rain had been falling since late morning. I had water running down my back. My flanny was damp and cold against my spine and I could feel the chill off my wet boots wrapping around my feet. The Grampians had disappeared behind a pale grey cloud of precipitation. It’s always a bad weather sign when the Grampians retreat behind the white curtains.


I liked the look of Goodwin for the Stawell Gift final. And he came through. I got him at 3s. Better than nothing. He started the weekend at about 11s or thereabouts. But when it comes to punting I’m a scientist; faithless until the evidence is unequivocal – or at least reasonably unequivocal. I wanted to watch the heats first. By the end of Saturday I regarded the Gift final as Goodwin’s to lose, notwithstanding the strong run of Houlihan and a few others. Hence I missed 11s and got 3s. Still, the payout bought a few pots and a counterie for the kids and me. We’d stood in the rain for a good part of Easter Monday watching the Gift semis and final. It was a highly entertaining race, albeit with a lacklustre atmosphere around the ground. Numbers were down. The Stawell Gift is like Bob Cunis on the wrong train out of Mumbai. Sad really.


In contrast to a grey Stawell, Melbourne looked positively balmy when the players ran onto the MCG on Easter Monday. The sun was out! The Cats looked resplendent in their hoops, even though it was only via the TV screen in a clammy Lounge Bar. There were so many damp woollen jumpers in the pub that the place fogged up like eye glasses in the lingerie department.


The first quarter demonstrated that the Cats were the superior side. The Hawks got a few lucky ones until the Cats clicked and made them look silly. How slow is Hodge these days? By quarter time the Cats had an easy six point lead and were coasting. Yep, Premiership material once again. Bring it on. And even when Enright kicked the ball straight to a Hawk (apparently someone threw an apple from the crowd that hit Enright’s kick, thus skewing it off course), and when Jimmy Bartel momentarily forgot how to play good football for about 75 minutes, it was still evident that they were in another league to Hawthorn. Perhaps the Northern League?


As the second quarter unfolded I couldn’t believe how lucky the Hawks became. Time and time again their kicks (luckily) hit targets. They got all the umpiring decisions just because they happened to be first to the contest (lucky), and Puopolo took the luckiest, arsiest mark I’ve seen since Peter Hudson stuck his hands out on 150 occasions one season and watched the ball drop in. Pure fluke. And poor old Roughead thought he was a ruck rover, scouting packs in the forward fifty and riding good fortune through the big sticks. Someone needs to tell him that big blokes don’t do that. Probably needs to be told repeatedly by the look of him.


After half time their luck continued. Lucky for the Hawks the Cats couldn’t get their hands on the pill. Lucky for the Hawks the Cats turned it over when they did get the ball. Really lucky. But the true indicator of Hawthorn’s decrepit game style was the copious amount of missed shots at goal in the third and fourth quarters. What a bunch of duds. What was it again? One goal eight in the last quarter? Pathetic. Rabble. Clarko’s woofer valve must have been ready to burst. The Cats, on the other hand, played highly efficient football. They scored on all three occasions that it entered their forward fifty. It was great to watch.


The final scores didn’t reflect the game. I can’t even remember what they were, but they didn’t reflect the game.  It was a game were providence (Hawthorn) prevailed over toil (Geelong). And there can be no doubt that the Hawks’ blessings cannot continue week in, week out. Surely they’ll miss a target at some point. It might not be until round 16, but it will happen. And I have my money on Hodge being the culprit.


Crowd – about 70 odd in the pub

Umpires – three little blokes in green t-shirts

Scores – I lost the piece of paper in the beer trough.

Injuries – Hawkins (pneumonia).

About Damian O'Donnell

I'm passionate about breathing. And you should always chase your passions. If I read one more thing about what defines leadership I think I'll go crazy. Go Cats.


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Great stuff , Dips very entertaining thank goodness you backed the winner of the Stawell gift , personally I think the premiership should be awarded to the team on top after the 1st round

  2. Pete Granger says

    Damian, its pretty simple. Geelong’s luck peaked too early from 2007 +
    The Hawks luck has peaked at just the right time …now.

    ‘I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm’.

    Franklin D. Roosevelt

  3. Dips

    You were no doubt happier in Stawell than we were standing in M19.

  4. Rick Kane says

    Very funny Dips. You were joking right?

    The pedant aspect of my character feels it necessary to correct your Latin translation. In fact Hawk in Latin is accipiter which is “ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h?e?us (“sharp”) + *péth?r? (“feather, wing”) (compare acus, penna). The geminate -cc- is perhaps influenced by accipi? (“take, seize”)”. So more sharp seizure than luck old man. Cheers

  5. ‘But when it comes to punting I’m a scientist; faithless until the evidence is unequivocal (?)’ You make that sound like such a dirty thing. I think a fairer take would have been, ” … I’m a scientist: healthily skeptical of harmful lies like religion.’

    PS I don’t think either of our takes serve scientists well. I mean why bring faith or not having faith into defining them? Something like, “I was like a scientist: a clear thinking, well rounded person who we owe so, so much to,’ approaches something more deserving.

  6. Cheers lads.

    T-Bone – oh ye of little faith.

  7. You know it was unfair, mate. You made it sound like a negative to be faithless, Fess up … you’ll feel better coming clean.

  8. Dips, for us Cats fans at the game the longer it went the gloomier we got. Nothing to do with the weather. The Hawks looked as sharp as razors, the Cats as flat as the proverbial nightman’s hat. Cause and effect perhaps.

    Good to see you got a reference to wool and the lingerie department in your story. Better images for us non-Hawkers than those conjured up at last Monday’s game.

    Big chance for feline redemption against the Dockers this week. Should be a ripper.

    Cheers, Burkie

  9. aussie80s says

    If they were to put losing reports in the almanac then this is a ripper. Great write up.

  10. RK – you are joking, right?
    T-Bone – I had no intention of being negative. The point I was making is that science is not based on faith, but fact and experiment. I think that’s true isn’t it? In any event, if I was to confess, to whom would I make the confession?
    Burkie – this game against Freo could be more telling than the Hawks encounter. I hope we win by 0.5 of a point.
    Aussie – gee the Hawks were good. Too good? Geelong circa 2008? Time will tell.

  11. Faithlessness doesn’t define scientists, so why call them faithless? Here’s the meaning of faithless:

    1. disloyal, especially to a spouse or partner.
    2. without religious faith.

    Clearly neither of these definitions define Scientists so why bring it into the equation? Also, your statement is ‘they are faithless until the evidence is unequivocal.’ That’s not true. They’re taking a position of waiting to be convinced until a hypothesis is proven. There’s a very big difference between the two.

    Anyway, if you say hand on your heart you meant no offence, that’s good enough for me.

    PS I’m afraid your supposed zinger on you’d make a confession to hasn’t bamboozled me. You could fess up to any number of entities that aren’t god – deity like. And on them, fessing up to yourself is always the best way to start (or so it has been for me.).

  12. T-Bone – crikey. I suppose if offence is sought it will be found. But it was just a silly line in a silly piece. Don’t hang me!

  13. We all have out sensitivities mate, and this one’s mine. But no biggie … not out to hang anyone. Just felt a need to pull you up about a bit of sloppy logic.

  14. darren groves says

    never go broke backing winners mate ,any price a good price.

  15. G’day Dasher. Good to see you on the Almanac. Yep 3s is better than 0s. You’ll have to get up to Stawell again one of these Easters. We go to the Gift and the Stawell Cup across the weekend. Its a ripper.

  16. My god (not that there is one of course), there are Cats fans who still write for the Almanac. I thought you had all migrated to Big Footy.
    Burkie – feline redemption against the Dockers this weekend? Tell him he’s dreaming. That fits with the definition of faith as belief in the absence of evidence.
    A grand piece Dips. That description of “the Stawell Gift as like Bob Cunis on the wrong train out of Mumbai” has got me confused. I’ve got about 6 mixed metaphors mangled up in my brain.
    Could you explain it for me – in a non-sexist; non-judgemental; culturally appropriate context of course.
    We have added Richard Dawkins to the editorial panel to vet your pieces in future. You can take the mick out of the Hawks; but you can’t take the Mick out the old altar boy.

  17. PB – love your work. My Bob Cunis line was supposed to mean that I see Geelong as a neither here nor there team, AND heading in the wrong direction. But given the confusion that other lines have created I don’t blame you for being confused too.

    At the risk of firing up the whole G*d, religious debate, it has always bemused me when great atheists like Julia Gillard (and I only pick her because she immediately comes to mind) say, in times of national disaster, that their prayers are with the victims.

    Quick, call Richard Dawkins!

  18. For the record, I don’t have any problem with calling Julia Gillard a hypocrite. Don’t think that her beach front property purchases support any crackpot conspiracy theories about climate change being a sham, though (and who was it that came up with that again?)

  19. Paul Spinks says

    I’m still rueing all those unlucky, habitual handpasses that went straight to a Hawk palm or a teammate with a Hawker on his hammer.
    And that was when we were playing well.

  20. Damn it, I’m like a dog with a bone, I tell ya.

    Let’s examine this further:

    You got Goodwin at threes, but you could of got him at elevens if not for being a “faithless” scientist when it comes to betting.

    That’s not dressing it up as a negative???

  21. God bless T-Bone!

  22. Laurence (Loz) Foley says

    To be safe Damian (Dips?) I think your comment should read:

    The Notion of a Supreme Being as Imagined by those who Need One bless T-Bone.

    If there is one thing I have learnt from years in the word-manipulation game, never lead with your jaw.

  23. Thank you Laurence. I rarely get support for my activism on this website. And it’s hard work keeping its right wing Christian clique in line.

    Further on this, I think the notion that Damien got in touch with his inner scientist in this allegory about missing out on the better odds is sheer folly. If he really wanted to get touch he would have tested a larger number of heats … say somewhere in the region of a thousand, as opposed to a couple. What he would have found is that taking the odds at eleven wouldn’t have been anywhere near successful in the long run. He would also have found that betting and punting is for losers and that he should have kept his fiver in a much deeper pocket. For me, the true villain here is Damien’s inner conservative; (notwithstanding the little demon in him that has a hang up with science!) It was his inner conservative who prudently counseled him about not taking a risk on elevens. The shame is really that he didn’t call upon that same inner conservative before he led into this thread with his jaw.

  24. Laurence (Loz) Foley says

    Sorry T-Bone, that’s not what I was saying. But anyway! Too much single malt last night. I apologise for a lack of clarity.

    I was actually saying that if Damian had written it like that, the odds of a bite would have been far less, There’s some pretty strong dogma in the positions you have taken in this discussion.

    And THWWAACKKKK! The bite came.

    What did my Latin and Maths teachers used to say (apart from “Get me the big cane from my cupboard”, qed?)

  25. Ahh you needs ya anyway Laurence.

    Yeah, I’m going a little full boar here when Damien was just being a teensy weensy negative about science, but even being teensy weensy gives me the shits. I mean, in essence he’s saying that Science has failed him in this instance, when it was actually a lack of science that failed him. Reckon that it was a worthwhile exercise fleshing that out.

  26. That should have been ‘who needs you anyway … who!.

  27. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Think that should read “full bore”

  28. darren groves says

    Will do dips,still love watching the pro running,maybe we stick to discussing athletes and equine athletes rather than focus on carlton and or geelong,lol lol.gee they are both travelling a little ordinary,espescially my mob.

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