Hawthorn v Geelong: just another classic in the rivalry

My memories of Geelong/Hawthorn games stretches as far back to about 1995, when I was five, and the Cats (I think) beat Hawks at Kardinia Park/Baytec/Shell Stadium.

We were in the box and Dad (a Hawks man) got very drunk and disgraced himself all the way home; fast forward to the 2008 grand final and I was in the same state trying to forget what had just happened.

So needless to say for me playing Jeff Kennett’s mob is always an event. Today it’s Easter Monday, and left with no one to go to the game with, I invited mates over for a few brews and some good footy.

Geelong’s doomsayers have predicted we’ll fall away this year, and for the first twenty minutes of the game it looks like maybe there’s some truth to that. The Hawks look a formidable unit with BUDDY!!! and is-he-really-this-good-already? Cyril Rioli. Franklin and Jarryd Roughead outmuscle, outpoint, and outwit our defenders; Rioli and his turn-sideways-and-you’ll-miss-him aboriginal friend Cameron Petersen are tackling anything that moves.

Brandon and Hayden rock up decked out in singlets and join me in the lounge room. Hayden’s a Cats man, god bless him, while Brandon is a closet Tigers fan – “I barrack for bloody Fitzroy”. Brandon laughs at the scoreline, while Hayden and I wallow at the ever-increasing deficit.

Thankfully we snag a couple of late goals, one through the hugely impressive Shannon Brynes to keep in touch – just.

During the break, Brandon and Hayden fill me in on how Trentham will go this year up in the LEAGUE. They’re hoping for an improvement on their 0-40 (?) record from the past two seasons.

The second term sees the Hawks just continue on their merry way. Sam Mitchell has the ball on a string, with his every disposal seeming to hit the target. Son of God, while still racking them up, isn’t his usual Brownlow self – Petersen nabs him for holding the ball.

We’re winning enough of the ball; the problem is that whenever we play the Hawks we just seem to enjoy spraying the ball either side of the goalposts. Bartel, while brilliant, missed two for the quarter, while Brynes and Mooney also miss sitters. 1.7 for the quarter, a bigger deficit and all of a sudden the beers are going down a little quicker – shades of 27/9/08.

Chris and Bradie walk in during the half-time break, awkwardly pass on salutations to Brandon and Hayden and take their seats. Numerous important topics are discussed during Auskick’s 15 minutes of fame, such as the validity of trade unions, safety at work, and how the purple shirt and striped tie outfits of Channel Ten’s commentators is disgusting.

Just as the premiership quarter is about to begin Sam and her friend Jess walk in the door – “no worries, don’t bother knocking” – carrying with them fish ‘n’ chips. The perfect antidote for hungry on this Monday afternoon.

The company is fantastic, and all of a sudden so is the football – I’d love to be a fly on the wall during Bomber’s quarter/half/three-quarter time chats. We come out firing, with Cam Mooney holding onto everything. Second-gamer Mitch Duncan snags a beauty when he scoops a loose ball with one hand and calmly puts it through. It’s not until late in the term that the Hawks finally up their goal tally, through a Bateman goal and Buddy, who was never in doubt hard up against the boundary on his “wrong” side.

Three-quarter time and we’re bloody well in with a sniff here. Hayden, Chris and I, the Cats supporters are quietly confident.

Remember years ago now, when Geelong recruited Bradley Ottens, and he was struggling slightly and Bomber went on his infamous “all of you” rant at the media? I do, and so does Brandon, who with a tinge of sadness says, “we let him go, ‘cos we thought he was no good. Now look at him.”

The big man who so nearly lost his hand in a boating accident over the extended off-season is running all over the top of Brent Renouf, who is now the Hawks’ premier ruckman. Blake’s tapping away beautifully and Ottens is pulling down screamers up forward.

He was always meant to be the answer to our perceived forward problems, and as we slowly eke our way in front, he shows why. He’s got one of the best kicks for goal in the comp and he calmly slots a goal while others around him miss.

In the end big Otto, with a bit of help from Bartel and Moons – what’s that white stuff in his hair? – get us over the line.

How we won by nine points is beyond me but the final siren goes and Hayden, Chris and I are almost frothing at the mouth. A few more beers and laughs are had before all part ways.

Another great game to add to the list of Cats/Hawks encounters. And Dad’s defence? “It’ll never be as good as ’89 mate.”

About Daniel Paproth

Auskick superstar. Melbourne Weekly writer. World's whitest Outkast fan. Arrogant Geelong supporter (hey, we've earned it).


  1. I thought the highlight of the game was the Kennett mood change and strategic withdrawal stopping off to shake hands with Frank Costa. Frank’s smile was memorable.

  2. yeah that was a great moment. Costa must have thought it was hilarious.

    sorry about the writing in this one, i meant to edit it before i sent it in, obviously i forgot.

  3. Great article, Pappy. Not sure that I’d call Otto one of the best set shots in the league, though … he’s had heebie-jeebies to match Mooney’s since the ’08 Granny, just fewer shots exposed him less. But he is definitely back to his best now, I think.

    Duncan is an absolute revelation – the next Joel Corey, without a doubt. He’s just a non-fussy, no-nonense player who gets the job done with class and composure. If we can keep recruiting the likes of Taylor, Selwood and Duncan, I think the future is safe at Geelong.

    And the white stuff in Cam’s hair was vaseline, so the bloke in front of me at the footy informed me. His head had been split open earlier – there was blood on his guernsey – and that was there to stop the bleeding.

  4. Peter Flynn says


    Stephen Wells is the unsung hero down at KP.

  5. Flynnie – too right. Hope they give him legend status.

  6. Indeed he is, Peter. He is, let’s face it, the very reason why Geelong haven’t slumped yet. He assembled for us a multiple-premiership winning outfit, and continues to feed it with young talent that is just as good.

    Steve Motlop – if he can ever avoid injury long enough to string a few games together – is going to be a beauty.
    Varcoe Jnr is meant to be even better than Trav, though an almost identical type of player. When he bulks up, he’s gonna be a star.
    Djerkurra and Hogan just keep getting better, as well.

    I am very excited about the future at Geelong (especially this weekend’s hopeful debutante, Pods – though he is, I suppose, in the “older” category ;) )

  7. Dan Crane says

    Great article pappy – i get the same nervous feeling when i see the cats beautiful jumper clash with the brown and gold and i’m supposed to feel relaxed about the footy this year after the stress of 09!

    And for Susie – a pies mate of mine was at Vic PArk the other day and said that Varcoe was great, and he rarely has anything worthwhile to say about Geelong or any other non-collingwood player…maybe the future ain’t so bad.

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