NAB Cup, Round 1: Hawks look ready to rumble

By Rick Kane

Don’t tell me that Saturday night’s match between Hawthorn and Richmond was essentially irrelevant. I know, I get it. For starters, who gives two hoots about the NAB Cup? February is more about adjusting back into work schedules, rueing festivals missed and admonishing kids to finish their dinner, all of it. Footy is a side bar conversation at best.

However, I was curious that Hawthorn was fielding its A side. So I bought a few Hawthorn Brewing Co pale ales and settled in on the couch. What a match, what a game, what a delight. Never in the annuals of sporting prowess … too much? Tone it down? Pull it back? Aw, all right.

Of all the pleasures this game gave yours truly (and there were plenty) the highlight was undoubtedly having about the best side we could muster out their on the field. At the same time. The fact that for most of the game they looked so good was a bonus. The cherry, as they say. If this were only game one then I can’t wait for the season proper.

The way the Hawks played reminded you of 2008 and 2009. I was enlivened watching Mitchell gather and pass in the blink of an eye and Sewell turn on a penny, while moving between full stance and a couch, then Ladson kick hard, direct and into the chest.  Even Tom Murphy played well. They looked musclier than I can remember. Lewis looked leaner. Hodge’s haircut made him look more serious and more like an olden days player than he already does. A Hawthorn footballer with gravitas. I like that.

Up forward Roughy and Buddy (newly tattooed) turned it on. They weren’t at their peak but if this pre-season comp is about tuning the engine well they’re just about humming. Buddy’s 5th goal was a cracker. And thank you to the camera person situated almost directly behind him. Watching as Buddy ran in, tight in the pocket on the boundary, it never looked like missing. The ball stayed true to the furthest goal post, arcing inwards as the ball went through the big sticks. I cheered and swallowed deep of my Hawthorn Pale Ale.

Across the field they played as one. In one sense, it was as if they were recalling their best and when they tuned into that you could almost sense the player’s excitement rise. As a fan and spectator, it also reminded me of what was missing for a lot of last year. If you ain’t got the cattle, as the saying goes.

We’re heading into 2010 with the cattle. With Bateman and Rioli still to come back into the side, as well as Burgyone and Gibson, Hawthorn, at this early stage of the year looks ready to rumble. At the same point last year, early in the pre-season, you were already hearing whispers of something rotten. After Saturday night’s training run it looks and feels (he says hopefully, desperately) like something good this way comes.

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. Rick,

    What is Hawthorn pale ale?

    Does that mean the club can add 1000 to its membership tally?

  2. Paul,

    See the following link: for all your answers.

    Rick, – I’m hoping the Hawthorn Pales were enjoyed as much as what the Hawks served up to you on Sat night !!


  3. The beer is pretty good, the game was mmmmm.

    Daff – you can pick up a six pack from the beer shop on St Georges Rd, the one that stocks 87 beers from around the world. I can’t promise that it won’t convert you.

  4. Rick,

    I like trying new beers so I might just give it a go.

    Please tell me there’s a Huddo Lager, Scotty Bitter (!), Lethal Stout, etc.

  5. hehehe, good thoughts Paul, maybe in some of our specialty ranges down the track we might make some reference to them…

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