Round 14 – Adelaide v Hawthorn: Half a Chance


Silk applied a strong-arm Tarzan-glue like vice tackle on Kelly, the hapless Crows defender, who gave a feeble acting display of attempting to handball (that still would have gained him a gig on Neighbours) and then Silk brought him to the ground with such a glorious thud, as if World Championship Wrestling scouts were in view and the man in white sung his whistle as if praising the Gods. Silk took the free, 30 out and slotted it. Then I knew we were in with half a chance.


Burton, the brilliant young Hawks back-man, who apparently played forward as a junior, late in the Third after the Hawks had had the run of play for the better part of 30 mins after watching the Crows rip three goals in less than five minutes late in the Second to take an 18 point lead into the big break but the Hawks slowly, determinedly and defying all expectation even their own, found enough speed, belief and numbers to stay with the superior Crows but not break them until Burton seized the moment when Shiels handpassed to him, about sixty metres from goal, and Burton, forgetting his manners, position and main task, intuiting the marine beacon that is the big sticks that only a hungry forward can really know, seized the pigskin, broke open a shard of space that he himself squeezed through and with the clumsiest kicking action short of a cartoon split the middle. Less than a minute later, as if he was a magician, he did it again. Then I reckoned we were in with half a chance.


The King of Colac agreed to be mic’d up for the contest. Channel 7 showed the results following the game. It highlighted the deep understanding Hodge has of the game and the respect he commands from his team-mates. You can check it out here: ( Through the game he is constantly reinforcing the team’s rules to young aspiring Hawks like Hardwick, Brand, Duryea, Burton and Henderson, instructing them and explaining how they should set up for the next play. He is not shy, very articulate and in one moment with an umpire, fiercely funny. His team management/coaching isn’t just for the newbies. He offers Big Boy advice and challenges Birch. He even reprimanded the new mighty Mitch (for something I didn’t quite understand given that our new Number 3 was doing everything he could for the Hawks cause). Tommy Mitchell listened attentively and I bet followed through with what Hodge expected. While I only got to see this fascinating insight after the game, knowing Hodge is that switched on tells me we were in with half a chance.


Henderson rose to the challenge in his 100th game and against his old team to be our standout player, getting 30 touches (90% disposal efficiency), including 8 marks and two great goals in the Last, the second when he stood his ground to take a mark deep in our 50, knowing he’d be body crunched which he was and for which he received a 50m free taking him to the goal line and a sure goal but that was only the icing on the cake in the best game he has played for the Hawks where he found space time and again to be a valuable link player and certainly best on ground. That second tier players like Hendo were taking the game on so forcefully gave me good reason to think we were in with half a chance.


Howe negating Sloane (and running down Cameron!), Poppy’s aerial delights, Langers finding form, another sparkling exhibition of football best practice by Mitchell, the love him and struggle to love him Shoey back in the team and making it count, O’Brien owning the esteemed number 23, Birch back and at his best, Hardwick, our clean kicking back-man clearing time and time again, Duryea and Brand adding to our best defensive line-up this year and the unsung Shiels tackling the hell out of anything that moves, then following up with second and third efforts clearing the ball for our outside runners – all of these guys were pinging from the first bounce and not surrendering. And I wondered, were we in with half a chance?


I picked up Jackson from his Preston Bullants U15s Thursday night footy training and one of the dads, Jase, a good bloke with an even temper, even though he is a Blues supporter said he had put some money on the Hawks because the odds were $7.50 and that’s ridiculous in a “two horse race” so why not and I laughed thinking the odds may as well have been 50/1 because the Crows were top of the ladder and my Hawks were, ahem, rebuilding but it did get me thinking because he thought our Ins were a strong quartet and I wondered if I wasn’t giving the Hawks enough credit because if Jase or your average punter was considering the odds and the Ins and Outs and other esoteric things maybe I was being too pessimistic and maybe, just maybe, we were in with half a chance. Nah, that’s just Harry Hopeful yapping on.


Our votes: 3 Hendo (H), 2 Silk (H), 1 Burton (H)


Adelaide 12.10.82
Hawthorn 14.12.96



Read further analysis of this game from Rulebook, Ben Footner and others, here:

About Rick Kane

Up in the mornin', out on the job Work like the devil for my pay But that lucky old sun has nothin' to do But roll around Heaven all day


  1. RK – mathematically, can the Hawks make the 8? If so they will play on the MCG because the AFL loves them. They could beat anyone on the MCG, given the right conditions and the run of the ball. They could, for example, beat Richmond or St Kilda or West Coast in the 1st week.

    Then in the next final they would get to play on the MCG because the AFL loves them. And they might play a team battered by the first week of the finals. But the Hawks will be fresh because they will have had a whole season of “playing within themselves” (in pro running its called “insufficient performance”). So they win the second week.

    Then its a Prelim!! Anything can happen. The Hawks have the experience. And they’ll be on the MCG because the AFL loves them. They could win it!

    So off to the grand final they go! Extraordinary! Hawks v Dees. Fairy tale finish coming up.

  2. Dave Brown says

    Not enough credit has been given to the Hawks for their performance on Thursday night, Rick. Yep, they took every half chance in the first half that kept them close enough at half time (had the Crows taken theirs they would have been 6+ goals up). In the second half they completely dominated the Crows. I imagine that’s the last time another team will allow Hodge to play loose this season. Well played!

  3. Well played,Rick ( and Dips) the Hawks were to good the Crows got what they deserved.To say my language was colourful draft night when we had ignored,Burton is a huge understatement.Hendo his good has always been good his poor is just so soft.well at least the hawks had two ex redlegs playing

  4. Once again, Burgoyne is just a pleasure to watch. My goodness there will be a father-son fight if his kids are any good.

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I’ll have to fish my Crows scarf out of the upstairs bin in readiness for this Saturday. Equanimity now!!

  6. John Butler says

    Trucker, like the performance against Sydney, I reckon this effort spoke to the quality of the Hawk’s culture (to use that much abused cliche). There was professional pride and craft in both efforts.

    Though they struggle big time when the tempo is quick, they still know how to work the angles. And those veterans are still dangerous if they can corner you.

    Ambition still obviously burns at the club. But will the list accommodate? Your thoughts?

  7. Rick Kane says

    Whoa Dips, hold yer horses (and yes I’m refering to that crappy Darryl Braithwaite song that for some inexplicable reason the mighty Hawks happen to love). A year or two ago yes, we were taking it one Premiership at a time but these days it’s one quarter at a time!

    DB, it was the best our back half have worked this year and the ball bounced our way. Luck and hard work. I kinda think Crows supporters have given Hodge too much credit (and trust me I’m a Hodgey fan … to an embarrassing level). He was a big factor but he wasn’t the factor.

    Rulebook, what a call re Burton (that you actually made in a comment following your own article). You put him up with Pav! We’ll take that.

    Yes Bucko, Silk is all that and more. And he does seem to rise to game vs the Crows. I’m remembering a Prelim a few years back and the last minute of that game …

    Swish, not the scarf!

    JB, as we have already seen so far this year the Hawks win some lose more. That’ll be our lot this year and maybe next. I’m happy to give the younger players game time and sort out the chaff. Also, a season is a long time and the next thing the Hawks have to test is who (how many) can play out 22 games. We are already seeing some good signs but we obviously need some more mature skills in the mix as well. Like the tattooed guy from the Tiges.


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