NAB Cup, Round 1: Hawks look to be back to their best

By Steve Healy

I turn on the TV, the Aurora Stadium light shine on to a brilliant surface, which is set for a game between 9th and 15th from last year, Hawthorn and Richmond. There’s all the evidence in the world that this will be a blow-out, but to be fair, indigenous stars Rioli, Gibson and Burgoyne are out of the Hawthorn team, even though Franklin and Roughead are in, a pair that should have enough will-power to outdo the Cousins-less Tigers.

The game begins, and I immediately notice Dustin Martin, a kid with so much on his back, getting a few possessions in the opening minutes to make an immediate influence on Tiger land. But Franklin overpowered Alex Rance to kick the first goal of the game, before taking another strong mark in the 50 and converting again. General play was tight, but the Hawks had Buddy, who was leading and marking as well as ever. First-year David Astbury snaps a goal for the Tigers, giving them a sense that they’re really in the game. But that’s about it for the Tigers, Franklin marks again and kicks his third, Hodge runs in and kicks an easy goal, and despite Suckling missing a super goal from 15 metres out on a slight angle, Ellis, Roughead and Moss all kick goals before the quarter ends with Franklin almost kicking his fourth for the quarter. Its 0.7.3 45 to 0.1.1 7, and it’s not looking good for the Richmond Football Club. Mitchell and Hodge have been unstoppable, picking up 12 possessions each while Martin has had a healthy seven in his first quarter in the big league.

It only gets worse for the Tigers as the second quarter gets underway, with a super goal from a 50 metre penalty (which seems to be a trend in this year’s competition) from Luke Breust. Fraklin kicks his fourth, and the margin is already at a ridiculous 55 points. Jack Riewoldt adds some sort of hope with a snap through the sticks, but Sam Mitchell gets a super goal in the same way that Breust did. Suckling and Lisle add goals, and Roughead kicks his third behind (a sign that he should work on his kicking) as the half time sirens sounds. The Tigers have been blown out by a ridiculous proportion, trailing 2.10.7 85 to 0.2.1 13 at the break, an embarrassing 19 scoring shots to three, an absolute annihilating. Mitchell leads way on the ground with 22 possessions for the Hawks. A talking point throughout the first half was the “protected area rule”, in which a fair few metre penalties were given away as a result. Ben Nason came off late in the quarter, with a bad knee injury suspected.

The second half starts. Hislop, who has played a terrible game to this point, kicks a behind. Shiels answers with a goal for the Hawks before Hislop gets a lucky goal after a (rare) stuff up in defence from Hawthorn. The goal of the night follows, Franklin marks the ball just inside 50, just inside the piping, before roosting a high drop punt towards the goals, squeezes it through  the right hand goal post. Credit to the camera man for being right behind the kick. Hodge kicks another, before hitting the post immediately afterwards. Mitchell kicks another one, before Roughead kicks a long goal on the run from 51 metres, giving him nine points. The margin is 102 points, simply incredible. Richmond fans get a reason to smile when Polak kicks a goal, but Roughead replies with a set shot through the sticks, the siren sounds and the Hawks lead by 102, 3.15.11 128 to 0.4.2 26.

The last quarter starts and the Tigers finally find some pride, through a couple of Jack Riewoldt goals. Schoenmakers, who looks impressive, snaps one through, Nahas kicks a couple to bring the margin back to 85, before Richmond add a collection of behinds to their score, including a complete stuff up from Jack Riewoldt, who hit the post from a couple of metres out. Mitch Morton puts one through the sticks, and the quarter ends, one that was completely dominated by Richmond, probably due to the Hawks resting Franklin.

The final score’s 3.16.12 135 to 0.9.8 62, Mitchell finishes with 39 possessions, and clearly best on ground, while Martin lead the load for Richmond, with 26 touches in his first AFL game, which is a great sign for Tigers fans.

As for the Hawks, they look as good as they were in 2008. But can they bring that form in to the home and away season?

Hawthorn 0.7.3 2.10.7 3.15.11 3.16.12 (135)

Richmond 0.1.1 0.2.1 0.4.2 0.9.8 (62)

Super goals

Hawthorn: Breust, Mitchell, Roughead

Richmond: None


Hawthorn: Franklin 5, Hodge 2, Roughead 2, Ellis, Moss, Suckling, Shiels, Lisle, Schoenmakers, Mitchell.

Richmond: Riewoldt 3, Nahas 2, Astbury, Morton, Hislop, Polak.

Umpires: Grun, S Ryan, Anderson, Ritchie.          Crowd: 11,217 at Aurora Stadium.

My Votes: 3. Sam Mitchell (Haw), 2. Luke Hodge (Haw), 1. Lance Franklin (Haw).

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.

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