Round 13 – Hawthorn v Essendon: Jibber JABber from the world of Naive Idiots

What were Channel Seven thinking? Whenever Hawthorn meet Essendon there is bound to be intrigue beforehand and headlines afterwards, sometimes the other way around, sometimes both. Surely these are the sort of games that should be broadcast when you have spent the GDP of Greece to earn the right to show it, well you might at least consider the option. But no, in a weekend of just 6 games it didn’t make the cut. But fear not, the game would not be overlooked.

I Hate Them More Than Anyone“. It’s a lovely quote from a poignant moment in history that was given new life as it was splashed over the back page of The Age on the Saturday morning of the game between the Hawks and Bombers. Alister Clarkson appeared to be enamoured by the eloquence of the message from a saintly oracle that he chose to share the deeper meaning with his playing group. The quote was made by James Hird via text message to Stephen Dank a few years ago when James seemed a bit envious of Hawthorn and was interested in devising a plan to emulate those that he hated by taking the clubs’ membership slogan of “Whatever It Takes” a little too seriously. Perhaps there is no greater praise than to know that your enemies are jealous of what you have.

About 1500 jabs later, the short cut to Shangri-La had taken a tumultuous detour. What must have been most galling to St James The Pious was that while his Bomber Bus had plunged down the great ASADA ravine and into two years of hell, the Happy Hawks had found Nirvana (the state of mind, not the band… but possibly both) and were off enjoying two years of heaven with Back-to-Back flags. It was almost as if Hawthorn’s success grew exponentially proportionate to Essendon’s misery. The more hate James had, the more silverware ended up at Waverley. I have the same theory with my hate of hip hop music and it’s subsequent obsequiousness but that’s another issue.

Anyhow, at the unusual time of 1:30pm, another line was being drawn in the sand. Hawthorn, being without Rioli, were able to include Langford from a near injury free playing list. The Bombers had some injury concerns and had changed a quarter of their team from last week. The Hawks are nearly unbackable favourites at $1.08 but must still remember a similar scenario in round 2 which ended in tears. Essendon play a free flowing and fast game that worries the Hawks but fortunately for those with brown and gold allegiances some less than impressive examples of goalkicking were on display. Less fortunate for the Hawks was Frawley popping a shoulder early on which could have ramifications later on. Hawthorn don’t appear to be overly motivated by The Age headline. It was fairly close for the entire first half in a hard but fair clash between the two combatants.

Roughead and Gunston, who had both been quiet last week, popped up. Roughead is dominating playing on the ball and taking some strong marks while Jack could have kicked a bag had he found his radar. Poppy also popped up with 4 goals for the game. Gibson nearly registered his first major in the brown and gold but instead thundered it into the point post with such force that had the post been constructed in the same manner as the point post at Windy Hill in 1982 it would have had the same result as Lethal’s effort all those years ago.

In the third term Hawthorn finally found their game plan, their process, their systems, their brand or whatever it was that clubs keep going on about. By three-quarter time they were now comfortably in front by a margin of 30 points and it could have been more if not for some wayward efforts. It was now that another chapter in the saga that is Hawthorn v Essendon was to be written.

While players were starting to resume taking their places for the start of the final quarter, Michael Hibberd put his elbow into an unsuspecting Sam Mitchell’s back. It wasn’t overly rough or overly necessary, it was just one of those little niggles that happen in every game. Interestingly, when Hawthorn players do it, it’s called unsociable but when other clubs do it then it is just part of the game. If Hawthorn players had done what Franklin and Tippett did the previous evening there would have uproar but as they were Sydney players it was deemed acceptable. Even the penalties of a week each would have been different if they had been Lewis and Hodge v North Melbourne.

Nevertheless, Mitchell turned around, laughed, pointed to the scoreboard, made a needle injection gesture and appeared to mouth the words “time to jab up.” The modern phenomenon that is social media gained a new lease on life and goes into meltdown as if it isn’t already sucking enough oxygen. It is known that Essendon took about 1500 jabs collectively so stating a known fact can’t be the problem. Essendon claim there were no illegal substances in those jabs, despite having conveniently lost a lot of spreadsheets, so that can’t be the problem. Mitchell didn’t seem to say Thyamosin Beta-4 so that can’t be the problem. Hibberd said he had no problem with it so that can’t be the problem. So what was the problem? It seems too many people want to take the call of being society’s guardian of political correctness and it is a bad look to state a factual occurrence which shall not be talked about. PR starts up after the game and Mitchell has to apologise for his errant judgement, although barely seeming to be able to hold back laughter at the incredulous situation. St James The Pious begrudgingly but graciously gives Mitchell a pardon while labeling the whole saga just a result of a media propaganda war – like Tienanmen Square it never happened. He receives a warning from the AFL not to do it again. The world is again a safer place.

There was a last quarter played and Hawthorn won the game convincingly enough by 38 points. As the opponent was Essendon it feels like it is worth 8 points and gets the Hawks back into the Top 4.

HAWTHORN       2.4   5.8   11.14  16.18 (114)
ESSENDON        2.5   5.7   7.8      11.10 (76) 

Hawthorn: Puopolo 4, Gunston 3, Hill 3, Suckling 2, Smith, Breust, Langford, Roughead
Essendon: Carlisle 3, J.Merrett 2, McKernan, Goddard, Melksham, Cooney, Dempsey, Daniher

Hawthorn: Mitchell, Gunston, Puopolo, Lake, Roughead, Gibson
Essendon: Hurley, Z.Merrett, McKernan, Heppell, Goddard

Our Votes                                    Mitchell 3, Roughead 2, Gunston 1

Umpires: Stephens, Kamolins, Findlay

Official crowd: 62,500 at the MCG


  1. It’s interesting, isn’t it.
    But it’s also no problem.
    The AFL is doing nothing about it, and both clubs have moved on.
    Nothing to see here, except Mitchell jabbing his arm.
    I’m sure Essendon players have heard it all before, but just not seen it.
    Mitchell was having a bit of silly fun, and he apologised.
    He should’ve just said go xxx yourself you dumb xxx or something clever like that…

  2. Steve Hodder says

    Armin, I just don’t feel that the mighty Mustardpots are playing that well at the moment. There are moments of ok footy and a lot of ho hum stuff, nothing to make me think we’re being tuned up ready for the finals. I’d prefer Roughie kicking bags of goals rather than getting heaps of midfield possessions. The back line, with the exception of Frawley, looks fine but the midfield iffy and lots of goal kickers says, to me, the forward line is unsettled and trying to find a way, rather than knows the way. Get what I mean? The next month will sort us out.

    As for St. James of Essendon have a look at

    Say no more!


  3. Dave Brown says

    Yep, the ‘incident’ itself was a huge non-event. But while the league has the ludicrously vague charge of ‘bringing the game into disrepute’ at hand, anything is possible. Remember when Peter Caven was charged with that after allowing his face to be photographed post Plugga caving it in? The whole process of false apologies to confected outrage leaves me thoroughly cold.

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