Round 1 – Hawthorn v Geelong: Decisions, Decisions

Hillard O'Donnell and Associates

Hillard O’Donnell and Associates

Cats: Momentum_Logo

In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade there is an old knight charged with guarding the Holy Grail. He sits in a room surrounded by hundreds of goblets (his chain mail not showing a speck of rust even after 700 years) warning treasure hunters of the dangers of seeking eternal life. Those who seek the Grail must make a decision, the correct one resulting in the promise of new life, while the wrong one leads to instant death. Spoiler alert: when the bad guy (who happens to be a Nazi, obviously) makes a decision, the old knight watches him wither away before remarking indifferently ‘he chose…poorly.’ After Indy takes a sip from his goblet, the old knight painstakingly stretches out the moment before pronouncing ‘you have chosen…wisely.’

If you have seen this movie and you don’t think about this situation every time you’re forced to make any kind of decision, you’re definitely lying.

Dad and I were never really sure whether to attend Hawthorn v. Geelong games. Dad went to most of the games between 2009 and 2013, and saw Hawthorn lose every one. He chose…poorly. He even decided not to go to the 2013 preliminary final because he couldn’t sit through another stressful game just to see he beloved Hawks lose again. He decided to go to the movies instead. Once again, he chose…poorly.

We have a better feeling about this one. A new year, a year in which Hawthorn gets to defend it’s premiership, so we decide to get down to the ‘G to watch this one play out. The omens were good from the start: driving down Alexandra Avenue we’re hoping to snag a free parking spot. We opt for this rather than the closer (but costly) MCG parking. Just as we approach the Swan street bridge a ute is pulling out of a spot. We have chosen…wisely.

Next, we check the iPhone weather app as we stroll across the foot bridge towards the ground. Although the paper predicted a high chance of showers increasing in the afternoon and evening, there is certainly no sign of rain just yet, with a cerulean autumn sky poking through the light cloud cover. We head down to the front of the members’ section, which isn’t covered by the roof. The showers hold off for the whole match. Once again, we have chosen…wisely.

This year, each club has devised a match-day strategy to engage the fans in an effort to save the dwindling crowds that plagued the AFL this year. Hawthorn has decided to have a player for each home game to create a playlist of their favourite songs. Today is Luke Breust’s day and, while that boy can kick a damn good goal, the crowd doesn’t seem to be getting psyched up with the slow rap music that blares from the MCG speakers. Luke Breust has chosen…poorly.

The game starts at a frenetic pace as the two sides rid themselves of the nervous energy that has been building up over the Summer. The usual suspects are all there – Hodgey, continuing his game-winning form from last year’s grand final, while Mitchell and Langford are just blonde flashes that dart past the Geelong midfield. But the real winner early on is Poppy, who kicks a couple of important goals early and takes what is surely a strong contender for mark of the year. It’s a spectacular pack mark despite – as Bruce McAvaney tactfully says – his ‘small height situation’. Whatever he had for breakfast this morning, Poppy chose…wisely.

Of course, the other story of the day is between Mitch Clark and James Frawley, former Melbourne teammates both making their debuts for new clubs. There are times when Frawley seems confused, as he tries to cleverly handball his way out of trouble before making a mess of it and turning it over. There are other more promising times when he is streaming out of half back, having a few bounces and then launching it into the waiting hands of Hawthorn’s forwards. Clarke is solid all day in front of goal and is clearly a handy complement to Tom Hawkins. All throughout preseason Clarke has shown himself capable of kicking a bag of goals on some very capable defenders. For now, both Hawthorn and Geelong recruiters have chosen…wisely.

In the end it is a blow out, with gentle, bruise-free football being played in the final quarter. With both teams fully understanding how long and arduous the season is, there is a distinct lack of fight that had been present earlier. The siren goes and the Hawks have gotten through the first round with a win and no serious injuries. We sing the song with gusto and then weave our way out through the crowd, dissecting the successful plays. I’ve never felt happier than I do when the sun is setting over Melbourne and a cool wind is blowing off the river and we’re walking back to the car after a solid Hawthorn win. Clearly, this morning we chose…wisely. Hopefully, the footy gods do the same when September arrives. I feel it’s time for a history-making three-peat.


University student with a weakness for good coffee and doughnuts. Half of the reasons why I like football have to do with the $9.50 crepe and coffee combo at the MCG. The other half is Jarryd Roughead.


  1. aussie80s says

    As a few non enlightened cats supporters on this site often say, this is Hawk Porn….and I love it.

    We are starting to finally get some redemption after years of suffering caused by the former premier talking without his brain being in gear. Jeff chose his words….poorly

    I am glad I was able to go. Hawthorn were scratchy at times, butchered it in front of goal and probably should have won by a lot more. Please let us do this to Essendon next week.

  2. Phil Hill says

    The noise that they play before the footy and the cricket is an abomination. It is far worse at the test Cricket because that awful James Sherry comes out and does things like read what ever is up on the scoreboard. What is wrong with some silence, to gather one’s thoughts, discuss the impeding battle, or watch the players warm up?

  3. Grant Fraser says

    To reprise the comment of a well known Almanacker from the dark times of The Curse “Good win…Gooood win.”

    And aussie80s – absolutely. The only Must Win game all year.

    Hawk Porn…so satisfying and free to boot!

  4. Trucker Slim says

    Charlotte, you wrote … wisely! Poppy’s mark was a highlight and the Hawks were fantastic. The season got off to a great start and you captured the win beautifully.


  5. daniel flesch says

    Lovely piece , Charlotte ! And Phil Hill , could not agree with you more. The crapulous cacophany invades even the telecast here 1550 kms. from the G. There was a good article in The Age last year about the needless noise and the beauty of a bit of comparitive quiet , but it had no effect. Have yet to meet anyone who appreciates the “entertainment enhancing the match experience.”

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