NAB Cup Round 2: Big Bad Barry Back In Town

By Damian Watson

This particular Friday is filled with high anticipation as two star forwards, who after departing from their previous respective clubs following undisciplined actions last year, begin to pull on a different guernsey in 2010. Carlton’s summer of turmoil may have stemmed from Brendan Fevola’s Brownlow antics and I am delighted as the Blues prevail over Brisbane in a Visy Park practice match in which Fevola, the Lions new key forward, booted only two majors against his old side. Barry Hall on the other hand is beginning his fresh start at the Bulldogs after an errant whack into Ben Rutten’s jaw saw his dismissal from the Swans 8 months ago. What will Bazza bring to the table tonight?

Like many around the country I am intrigued with the escalating debate as to whether Channel 7 should telecast live Football on Friday night and, like many footy fans, I would embrace the idea. In reality however, Channel 7 opts to air Better Homes and Gardens and I sit on the couch inattentive and motionless as different species of plants are analyzed.

As the delayed telecast of the Hawthorn- W.Bulldogs clash finally commences, one man instantly imposes himself on the match. Barry Hall donning Scott Welsh’s old number 28 guernsey is slotting through ‘six pointers’ quicker than a lightning Greg Williams handball, converting 4 goals in the first term alone. Big Barry begins to convey skill and finesse, quite uncharacteristic for a man of his stature, converting goals through snap shots on the outside of the boot while also using his physical strength to advantage in the 50/50 contests. Within the Hall onslaught another talented forward Josh Hill guides the ball through the big sticks to bring up his first major for 2010. Instrumental Hawk forward Jarryd Roughead registers his side’s only goal for the quarter with a kick that showed no signs of deviation off the boot. The Hawks however fail to capitalise on easy opportunities and as a result trail by 22 points at the first change.

I notice the evident contrast in game styles between these two heavyweights in the first term, as it was last year when the Dogs manufactured a blistering 13 goal first half while holding the Hawks almost scoreless. The Doggies are continuing to implement a free-flowing, attacking brand of football while the defence including stars such as Lake, Morris and Harbrow are efficient in containing the star-studded Hawks forward line, the former blanketing Buddy Franklin. Hawthorn players on the other hand are clustering throughout the midfield, transporting the ball forward through chip passing as well as the switch.

The tempo has somewhat slowed to a halt in the second stanza as the Hawks produce a brief rally. Following an admirable running goal from young Bulldog recruit Brodie Moles the Hawks string three consecutive goals together through Morton, Breust and Roughead in a bid to keep their side in the hunt. Influential premiership players Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis and Luke Hodge are prominent around the expanses of Etihad Stadium and the trio also appear to have shed the kilos over the off-season to improve the aspects of their fitness, obviously a promising sign for avid Hawks fans. However the Bulldogs stem the flow as Barry Hall boots arguably the most vital goal of the night on the stroke of half-time as another snapshot sails through the big sticks for number 5 and the Dogs hold a 4 goal buffer at the main break.

The Dogs have the hammer poised to place the final nail in the Hawthorn coffin when prolific midfielders Daniel Cross and Robert Murphy each goal to extend the margin to 35 points. Murphy is outlining his strength and judgement, laying splendid tackles that even David Campese would admire, while simultaneously extinguishing the confidence of the Hawthorn faithful. From that point onwards the Dogs are never seriously threatened and despite a questionable goal to Jarryd Morton from point blank range, the men from the west reply with the next five unanswered. Cooney continues to impress with his disposal efficiency and adds another major, Hall sees his total tally up to half a dozen and Murphy continuing his healthy streak of form sneaks one home from a set shot. On the brink of Three Quarter Time, young gun Shaun Higgins sails through another major from 45 metres and the margin increases to a whopping 55 points.

With Hall taken from the ground by Rocket Eade early in the final term the sting is taken out of the contest, however the physical pressure is still apparent in the match. Matthew Boyd caps of a sensational night with a super goal and with 30 disposals he would rate as one of the Best on the Ground.

I switch the TV off as the Dogs celebrate a 57 point victory still content that my prediction of a Bulldogs premiership is intact, although the fantasy of a Carlton flag still lingers in my brain.

Despite this disappointing loss the Hawks can take into account the fact that names such as Rioli and Burgoyne were sitting on the sidelines. However, if the Hawks are aiming to be a successful contender this season they need to become a little more accountable and have the ability to withstand immense physical pressure around the crowded contests. If another unsuccessful climax to the season eventuates for this current Hawthorn crop then the 2008 Premiership side will join Billy Ray Cyrus in the one-hit wonder category.

Hawthorn            0.1.5 0.4.7 0.6.8 0.7.12 (54)
Western Bulldogs        0.5.3 0.8.7 0.15.9 1.15.12 (111)

Hawthorn: Nine-point goals: Nil Goals: Roughead 2, Morton 2, Breust, Hodge, Franklin
Western Bulldogs: Nine-point goals: Boyd Goals: Hall 6, Hill 2, Murphy 2, Moles, Giansiracusa, Cross, Cooney, Higgins

About Damian Watson

Hey,my name is Damian Watson and I am 14 years old. My ambition is to become an AFL broadcaster/journalist in the future. I am a keen blues supporter and I live in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. I play and write for the Knox Falcons U/16's.


  1. Danielle says

    dont break my heart, my achey-breaky heart….
    lmaoooo 1992 vintage Cyrus


    Good report Damo, I hope the Hawks can make it back up the ladder this year, although i think it’s about time we saw someone other than Geelong or the Hawks win the Premiership.

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