Hawthorn v Geelong by Steve Healy (Grade 9)


Hawthorn V Geelong

This is it. I’m home from school on a Friday afternoon. I plan to leave home as early as possible, off to the footy. Hawthorn V Geelong. Another big crowd expected at the MCG, and an even better game of footy expected. I Say bye to family members, and head off to Alamein station to catch the 5:24 (stopping all stations to Flinders St). My phone is in my pocket, my wallet with $10 ($3.70 for train ticket, $4 for the record and $2.20 to get in the ground), and I have folded up The Age’s sport section and stuffed it into my jumper. I hope to read some quality articles describing last night’s game and the coming games in Round 1.

 I get my chance to read The Age on the platform, as I just miss the 5:24 (due to the station entrance being on the wrong side), and I sit on the bench and stare across from the singular platformed station. The trees are beckoning with a mysterious feeling, Alamein Station is deserted (which it is a lot of the time), and I press the green button to find out that the next train is the 5:39 (stopping all stations to Flinders St). Stopping all stations is usually a rarity as the train always flies past East Richmond.  I read the paper and wait for the train. It comes and leaves and I see the usual sights from the train, like Glenferrie Oval and the burnt roof of the Richmond Club Hotel. Soon enough, I am getting off the train at Richmond Station and walking across Brunton Avenue, whilst avoiding cars. the first Record salesman I see $4 and take the sacred text to the Ponsford stand entrance, buy the $2.20 ticket and take the escalator to the top level, where I am sitting in general admission.

 Me and Ben arranged to sit in one of the few general admission areas for the game, Q28 of the Great Southern Stand (top level, last section and brown seats), as it is the least known area that is providing general admission. As I arrive into the stadium at about 6:10, there are two or three people as expected sitting in the section. The great thing about going to the footy is at age 14, I can still pay $2.20 to get into the ground. I pick up the record and flick through the pages looking at the teams and some interesting articles. Being at the MCG is a moment to savour every time you visit, and this day was no exception. The sun was going down, the Grand Final from last year was on the big screens, and Stuart Dew was having shots on goal with Michael Osborne on the ground. I realised that for the second year in a row I would be seeing the unfurling of a premiership flag. (I was at Geelong V Melbourne last year at Skilled Stadium) Ben arrived at around 7 and he took the people toll in the section to around fifteen. The flag had been raised, both teams came out (Geelong cheer squad were too slow was the flag raising) and the game was close to underway. Hawthorn won the toss and kicked the city end. Scarlett had gone to Franklin and Taylor on Roughead. Sam Mitchell and Gary Ablett were lining up in the midfield. The game was underway and the crowd was big. Hawthorn started well. Clinton Young had the ball at 60 metres out, kicked but hit the post. (This was one of quite a few for the game) Gary Ablett narrowly missed a set shot a couple of minutes later. Ablett is an amazing player; he picked up 15 possessions in the first quarter and just dominated through the middle. He performs well every week, and he has every asset that a footy player should have. He always gets the ball when he wants it, and he is always in the right positions. He regularly gets chains of two or three touches in passages of play. All of his games have a similar pattern, around 90% game time and he is rested in the forward line for a few minutes.

Ryan Gamble kicked the first goal for Geelong. He had a great first quarter, but he missed a couple in the few minutes after. Osborne kicked the first for the Hawks to be followed up by a miss (first of many) for Buddy Franklin. Geelong missed some chances; a miss from Stokes early on was a bad one. Andrew Mackie kicked a beauty, which was followed up directly after by a brilliant snap from Ryan Gamble. The margin was 22 points. Roughead kicked a well needed one and just before the siren Stuart Dew kicked a ripper from the boundary line. It was Geelong by two goals. 12 scoring shots to five should have seen a bigger margin, however.

The second quarter boasted a similar pattern, but the game was quite entertaining. Osborne made the lead reduced to five, but Geelong persevered and kept firing. Steve Johnson kicked one but when Franklin and Bateman kicked a goal each the Hawks were behind by just a point. The remainder of the quarter saw Geelong dominate in attack, but they just couldn’t get out to a lead. The margin was at the same as quarter time in the end, 52 to 64. Geelong had 24 scoring shots in the first half, but returned 8.16. I enjoyed a well cooked pie at half time and looked forward to the second half.

Geelong exploded in the third quarter. They started converting and causing turnovers, and soon the margin was out to 41 points. Ablett was still firing as were many other players. Sam Mitchell was still trying hard, but Luke Hodge hadn’t had that much influence. Dew kicked his second as did Franklin but Geelong went into three quarter time leading by 37 points. An interesting inclusion I noticed for the 2009 Season was Betfair prices after every quarter. Geelong were $1.01 and Hawthorn $30. It would have been a good $30 to bet on, too.

The last quarter was brilliant. Hawthorn came back and just fell short, but there was a feeling during the quarter that they could have won. It was a great quarter of exciting footy that should be expected from two sides of such high quality. Franklin played well and ended the game with five goals. It was a brilliant game, a good performance from both teams. And a great game to attend.



Hawthorn  3.2  8.4  10.6    16.7 (103)

Geelong   4.8  8.16  14.19  15.21 (111)


Hawthorn: Franklin 5, Roughead 4, Osborne 2, Dew 2, Bateman, Rioli, Stokes.

Geelong: Mooney 2, Rooke 2, Gamble 2, S.Johnson 2, Mackie, Enright, Ablett, Blake, Chapman, Lonergan, Varcoe.


Hawthorn: Mitchell, Tuck, Roughead, Bateman, Franklin, Hodge, Sewell, Birchall.

Geelong: Ablett, Bartel, S.Johnson, Corey, Chapman, Selwood, Ottens, Ling.

Umpires: McBurney, Wenn, Ryan.

Crowd: 69,593 at the MCG.


About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and footyalmanac.com.au. 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. Hi John,
    I’ve been an avid reader of yours for many a year. I remember reading “Loose Men Everywhere” and truly believing that Geelong would never win a flag. I’m sure you’ve heard of the “prophecy” of Doug Duncan, a born-again Christian “prophet” who foresaw that the mighty Geelong would not win a flag until some obsure random box had been checked. I was brought up in a Christian household, and this was frowned upon question…

    “Mum, was Doug Duncan’s prophecy really true? God wouldn’t lie, would he?”

    Anyway, your blog has popped up in my blogfeed as “Geelong” is one of the tags I look out for.

    I’d love for you to read this post I wrote the day before the 2007 Grand Final. It was an attempt to try and control the emotion I was feeling before the bounce down. I eagerly followed your column in The Age throughout the year, and I’m sure you influenced it in some way.


    Please, have a read. Like Steve, I’ve followed the Cats since I was very young, and I relish the opportunity to speak about in them in more than just “footy parlance.”

    Thanks for all your Cats related thoughts!

    ([email protected])

  2. Oh, and I love reading about footy experiences from a young mans perspective! Keep it up!

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