Round 1 – Geelong v Hawthorn: Said Hawthorn Man

by Grant Fraser

 

Already won three Big Ones, man,
One more we’re with the Pies.
“We’ll all be rooned,” said Hawthorn Man,
“Before the year by flies.”

(with apologies to John O’Brien)

 

The Dangerfields v Hawthorn, Easter Monday 28 March 2016, MCG

 

A fair proportion of followers of our winter game were heard to cry “Enough!” upon the sounding of the final siren in 2015. Three in a row (dare I say “threepeat”?) was seen to be more than sufficient for one team, and a strong undercurrent emerged hoping the following year the Mighty Fightings could/should/would topple from their perch.

 

Part of the problem, no doubt, was the manner in which success has been greeted by the Hawthorn faithful. While we are no longer predominantly folk of the green, leafy (Liberal voting) eastern suburbs of Melbourne, there was more than a hint of a return to the “born to rule” mentality one associated with Hawthorn of the ‘80’s and past Presidential performances on Offsiders. Other footy followers were seeing Hawthorn premierships as boring, its supporters as obnoxious blowhards. Think e. regnan’s brilliant Almanac parable of the hawk and the magpie at the Espy.

 

Come 2016, things were different for some of us inside the brown and gold tent. The hubris of 2015 was left behind, with some Hawks fans looking to Round 1 with trepidation. Clock reset to zero, significant departures through retirement and trade, aging champions, all other clubs “training the house down” over summer. The Age reveals 15 on our list are yet to play a senior game – highest in the AFL. You don’t have to be a teeny-bopper to tell there is only One Direction for us to go.

 

And then there was THE arrival at Skilled Stadium. In His last outing ‘G, I witnessed His last miracle for the Ravens  – an impossible goal, from the outside of his foot, under extreme pressure, from the pocket. Trips to the Point Lonsdale beach house over summer meant it was impossible to avoid confirmation of His arrival – on billboards, draped over overpasses…everywhere. He was Iconic in every sense of the word.

 

Things became worse with news that Rough would be out for half the season, and then Shiels and Hill absent due to to wrist injuries. Six new soldiers (to use a Clarksonism) to face the Dangerfields on Easter Monday…and even then one pulled out on the morning to be replaced by a first gamer. Still – put on brave face, lick the hand of the seer and hope the gods are with us.

 

I break my normal rule and sit with Andrew and Vic in front of the coaches boxes. “Ceglar’s out”. “Yeah I heard”. There is agreement that the task in front of us is huge. To get within 5 goals will be seen as a good result. The game commences and it is not long before the first of 43 roars emerges from the Dangerfield cheer squad behind the Punt Road goals. Contrast that with the tentative approach of many Hawthorn players, particularly the “ins”. James Sicily in particular seems overawed, on one occasion looking to dish off when faced with a clear and very gettable shot at goal (“reminds me of Josh Kennedy looking to pass to Franklin in 2009” I whispered to Andrew. “Hope it doesn’t turn out the same”).

Things keep going badly for us, and well for the Dangerfields. Doc Duryea turns back into traffic, twice, and gets pinged. Tall Dangerfield, recruited from Gold Coast, shows he is that most unusual of ruckmen – one who can kick. Short Dangerfield, wearing the number 6, is getting a lot of the ball and showing a lot of fight, strength and spirit. Whilst there is a lot new, and a lot to like, about the 2016 team from Corio Bay it appears Selfish Dangerfield has not changed much. He goals after receiving an “out here, out here” gift in the goal square.

 

Five goals down at the half. The coffees taste bitter, our eyes downcast. “Didn’t we come back from 5 behind at half time against the Swans?” I feebly offer, trying to boost morale.

 

My notes from the third quarter are somewhat scant as, inexplicably, we produce something and I am drawn to the footy rather than scribbling. Little legs Poppy gets the pistons going and races onto the ball before sprinting away to goal. Silky delivers from the Members flank, right on 50 (“do the plane, do the plane” I scream as I stand with arms extended, beseeching him to reprise his celebrations after kicking the winner in the 2013 Prelim.). Somehow we are in front at three quarter time. “THESE TEAMS!” I write in my notes, marvelling at this most glorious of modern rivalries.

 

But as Floki came to learn when he tried to storm Paris, sometimes the gods are not with us. Sometimes they laugh at us. Within minutes of commencement of the final term the lead was lost, never to be regained. The skipper jogs off late, wrist clearly in trouble. The Dangerfields win by 5 goals, as predicted.

 

From the perspective of the Dangerfields, when you bet the farm on success you want a good crop first up. As far as the Hawks are concerned, I feel like I have just discovered the Easter Bunny is in fact Mum and Dad. A little bit of magic and wonder has died, and the world seems a lot more beige than yesterday

 

Weagles next week, Hell bent on revenge. Then “everyone’s second team” at Jihad. 0:3 looms as a very real prospect. It may be a long season.

 

What lies in store for my Hawthorn team?
When all around seems dark?.
“Ask me in October, son.
Now let me chew me bark.”

(with even more apologies…)

 

My votes: 3 Dangerfield (Dang.); 2 Tall Dangerfield (Dang.); 1 Mitchell (Haw.)

 

Goals: Dangerfields: D Lang 3 J Caddy 3 Z Smith 3 L McCarthy 2 T Hawkins 2 C Guthrie J Murdoch L Henderson M Blicavs S Motlop.
Hawthorn: J Gunston 3 P Puopolo 3 L Breust 2 W Langford 2 B Hartung S Burgoyne.
Crowd: 74,218 at MCG
Umpires
: Scott Jeffery, Robert Findlay, Jacob Mollison.

 

About Grant Fraser

Best known as a lumbering full forward for the East Doncaster U13 & U15 Reserves premiership teams. Proud to say that daughter Alexis was born in a premiership year like her Dad. Elder daughter Courtney has returned to the broad church that is the Hawthorn football club. Will never give up hope on luring The Boy (James) back from the clutches of the anti-Christ in red and black.

Comments

  1. Grand report. First game I have seen as a neutral for 20 years. I only go to Eagles games or to barrack against Fremantle. Started out barracking for the Dangerfields but kept oscillating in the interests of a close contest. Reckon you have more to look forward to in September than the DF’s, once you get a side back (not this week but).
    Short Dark Dangerfield (#26) looks like he trains on meat pies and beer. His disposals were one part sublime to five parts negligent. Big tall RMWilliams Dangerfield plays behind and pushes and shoves a lot. Only gets a kick when the umpires feel sorry for him. Like blonde surfy mop top Dangerfield, but jeez the #35 formerly known as #16 carried them.
    Frawley and Hartung were your best after Mitchell. You need another tall defender. Schoemakers? Because he’s sure not a tall forward.
    Apologies for the Avenging Eagle coming on in the last five minutes to break Hodge’s arm with that brick she hid in her handbag. I could only hold her back for so long. The MCG needs masonry detectors not metal detectors.

  2. Not sure I’d be writing off the Hawks after one game Grant. It was a ripper contest, but the Cats seemed very ready for it. Lots of highlights. It was tough and mean footy. The crew I was watching the game with all felt that the first quarter had a finals feel to it.

    From Geelong’s point of view obviously Dangerfield was superb but it was also good to see some young blokes cracking in and winning the footy – McCarthy, Gregson, Kersten (early), and Z. Smith.

  3. Thanks PB. Will have the Hawks supporting aspects of the family at the G on Sunday…hope the chips are good as the result may be ordinary. Hodge a huge loss on top of everything else.

  4. @Dips – thanks for the “maganamaneous” comments. Subject to further injury we ought be back…but like the third Q yesterday, how much petrol will we expend to get there?

  5. CITRUS BOB says

    Please – there are enough Dangerfield’s roaming the countryside now without inflicting more upon us!
    Still trying to figure out PB’s 16#. But then again he does get lost in translation when he is watching/viewing something from the real Australia.
    Dips – would I assume correctly you were not at the game?
    Citrus

  6. CITRUS BOB says

    Grant – modesty prevents me from saying what a great article 35/10 is my mark.
    CitrusBob

  7. @CitrusBob – many thanks

  8. Citrus – was not at the game. Watched it at The Gift Hotel in Stawell. The locals wanted the Cats to win too.

  9. Rick Kane says

    Personally I would have give the mighty Mitch 2 votes.

    Great piece GF. From Vikings reference to destroying my one last vestiage of hope (that the Easter Bunny is rool) you slammed home a terrific report. Well played. Better than a bunch of players running around on Mond’y. Cheers

  10. @Rick – thank you. I fear the rot commenced when we did not sing the club song at the 2015 Almanac release. You know how I am about omens.

  11. E.regnans says

    Entertaining, GF.
    It is hard to avoid that Cat signage heading west of Werribee overland.

    Kind of you to mention that Espy parable
    https://www.footyalmanac.com.au/grand-final-west-coast-v-hawthorn-a-few-days-later-at-the-espy/

    We’re all blowin’ in the wind.

  12. @E.regnans – my pleasure. One of the most insightful pieces I have read for a long time. Stopped me dead in my tracks at the time and caused me to reflect. Particularly liked the reference to the baby hawk…shall we call him “Freddy”?

Leave a Comment

*