Round 1 – Hawthorn v Brisbane: 12 Monkeys?



Hawthorn v Brisbane
2.40pm, Sunday March 22
A near-empty MCG


– James Cole: “Maybe the human race deserves to be wiped out.
– Jeffrey Goines: “Wiping out the human race? That’s a great idea. That’s great. But more of a long-term thing. I mean, first we have to focus on more immediate goals.”
12 Monkeys (1995)



Sitting on the couch watching footy never felt so peculiar. According to the authorities, this is what I should be doing. I’d planned a trip down from Brisbane to attend Round 1. I had a good feeling about Hawthorn’s 2020 prospects as early as September. Missing out on finals by a whisker never felt so reassuring.


Fast-forward to Sunday morning and watching Offsiders on the ABC, it felt as if the blinding obvious was finally being spoken out-loud. The 2020 season shouldn’t, likely wouldn’t proceed for some time beyond the afternoon. It was the only decision the AFL could make.


Despite the existential danger of a global health crisis, something not witnessed since the end of the Great War, the AFL and its myriad stakeholders had been working tirelessly to justify a need for the 2020 season to commence (and for the AFLW season to conclude). It was as if any threat to humanity would have to wait for now. A more immediate goal was at stake.


Doing as I should, I settled in to watch the match, sensing it would be the last for a while. The MCG was empty and after watching earlier games of the opening round, this strangely felt like the new normal. How quickly we adjust.


The game began at a frenetic pace. Moments in, Hawthorn’s Isaac Smith snapped the first goal of the match. Looking both pleased and bemused, he bounced around elbow-bumping teammates who would oblige while dancing to avoid others who attempted more traditional forms of celebration.


Despite Hawthorn’s quick opener, Brisbane appeared to dominate much of the play, thanks in large part to the relentless pressure of its defenders and its runners led gallantly by Lachie Neale.


Hawthorn weathered the storm off half-back and counter-punched through the likes of Sicily, Stratton and a lean-looking Jack Gunston. New recruit Sam Frost was slotting in nicely.


Brisbane, for its part, was clearly up for it. Charlie “Chucky” Cameron and Eric Hipwood were lively. At the other end of the ground Harris Andrews was doing well to make new Hawk forward Jonathan Patton earn every touch.


By quarter-time Brisbane had done enough to get its nose in front, but it felt as if Hawthorn were setting the pace.


In the second term Hawthorn’s cream rose to the top when required. A three-goal blitz involving Shaun Burgoyne, Chad Wingard and Oliver Hanrahan, with plenty of involvement from Luke Breust, saw Hawthorn establish a handy lead. Together with Burgoyne and Wingard, Breust would end up with three majors himself.


Briefly on the ropes, the Lions fought back and by half-time, the game remained tight with just a nine-point lead Hawthorn’s way.


Half-time brought with it the announcement from an exhausted-looking AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan that the 2020 season would be put on hold for two months. Viewers were informed by the commentary team that the players and coaches were none the wiser and would be informed post-match.


In the third, Hawthorn’s runners started to lift, with the likes of Tom Scully, James Worpel and Jaeger O’Meara keeping the Lions honest with pace. The Lions kicked the first goal of the term through McStay. Breust responded not long after and by the time Burgoyne kicked his third after turning a few Brisbane players nearly half his age inside out, it felt like it would be Hawthorn’s day.


By the final quarter it looked as if Hawthorn might edge away and in the end that’s what they did, Luke Breust’s don’t argue and third goal illustrative.


Brisbane threatened early in the quarter with the game still tight, but Hawthorn responded well, finishing with the final three goals of the match to edge out Brisbane by 28 points, its first win against the Lions since 2017.


A little bit stronger and a greater depth of experience across the field probably won Hawthorn the day against a Brisbane side that is clearly well on the way up.


On a strange day, for both sides it was a solid start to the season that may never be. How they build on that is anyone’s guess.


HAWTHORN     3.1  6.2  10.2 14.6 (90)

BRISBANE      3.3  4.5 7.7  9.8 (62)



Hawthorn: Burgoyne 3, Breust 3, Wingard 3, Smith, Hanrahan, O’Brien, Patton, Scully
Brisbane: Hipwood 3, McStay 2, Cameron 2, Neale, Rayner



Hawthorn: Wingard, Mitchell, Burgoyne, O’Meara, Sicily, Stratton

Brisbane: Neale, Andrews, Hipwood, Robinson, Rich


Crowd: 0


Our Votes: Breust (Haw) 3, Mitchell (Haw) 2, Neale (Bris) 1






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  1. Thanks for your report Sasha. Watched bits and pieces and the highlight for me was Shaun Burgoyne’s game.

    Thanks, too, to your firm (Sasha Lennon and Associates) for continuing with your sponsorship of the Almanac, at a time when we have lost more than half of our income.

  2. No worries JTH, in times like these, we need the Almanacs of this world to provide us with some comfort and hope. I’m looking forward to celebrating Burgoyne’s 500th AFL game in six or seven years from now.

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