Round 14 – Collingwood v Hawthorn: Football

Collingwood v Hawthorn, 3 July, 7.50pm, MCG


On a day when football seemed like the most irrelevant thing in the world the Collingwood v Hawthorn match at the MCG showed why football is one of the more important entertainments (diversions, distractions, past-times, recreations, and pursuits) we have.


The MCG was a fitting arena for this moment. Often it is seen as a battleground or a theatre. On this occasion it felt like a secular cathedral. The game began without the usual fanfare of club songs and players running through over-sized banners. Rather, there was a one minute silence, players lined up, heads down. The hush in such an imposing amphitheatre, with over 75,000 spectators, was its own simple respectful message to the Walsh family and the community at large.


Hawthorn won a game that highlighted the best of contemporary football. This was a struggle of the highest level contest and skill. Hawthorn and Collingwood inched their way to 101 points and 91 points respectively. Neither side dominated the other, the lead changed at least six times. For supporters, this was 120 minutes of edge of the seat footy. If I can say this with deep respect and sensitivity, this is the sort of football I reckon Phil Walsh would admire.


I could go on about any number of great passages or players from this game. Pendlebury almost willed the Pies to a win (he’s the epitome of 150 years of this game’s success). Rioli, in another scintillating performance, (as if kicking five straight wasn’t enough) was the catalyst for the goal that sealed the Hawks win. What about Cloke splitting the big sticks, 50m out on the boundary? Or Shiels, Hawthorn’s unsung hero, playing a game equal to his team’s big names. Speaking of big names, what about the Hodge and Swan match up? That contest alone was worth the price of admission.


This was a good old fashioned arm wrestle of a game. It was played under the darkest shadow the game has encountered in recent times. Both clubs demonstrated respect for the moment. At the end of the game coach and players of both teams gathered in the centre of the ground. They formed an unbroken circle, Hawthorn player standing beside Collingwood player and held a silent 30 second vigil. That spoke volumes for these men’s priorities.


Some people have argued whether this weekend’s AFL games should have been abandoned. I don’t know the answer to that. I do know that this game was a cracker and certainly a valve following the sad and tragic events of the day. It was played by footy loving men who are the embodiment of skills, dedication, ingenuity and speed. Sure, they were playing for the four points but it felt like the game was being played for much higher stakes. It felt as if this game of football was played as a testament to the road Phil Walsh traveled.


COLLINGWOOD 3.5 7.7 9.16 12.19 (91)
HAWTHORN 4.2 8.5 12.7 15.11 (101)

Collingwood: White 2, Swan 2, De Goey, Broomhead, Williams, Cloke, Adams, Crisp, Fasolo, Blair
Hawthorn: Rioli 5, Breust 3, Shiels 2, Gunston 2, Schoenmakers, Smith, Suckling

Collingwood: Pendlebury, Sidebottom, Varcoe, Crisp, Cloke, Williams
Hawthorn: Rioli, Lewis, Mitchell, Hill, Shiels, Stratton, Smith


Collingwood: Nil
Hawthorn: Breust (groin), Smith (eye)

Collingwood: Darcy Moore replaced by Jarryd Blair at three-quarter time
Hawthorn: Matt Spangher replaced by Matt Suckling at three-quarter time

Reports: Travis Varcoe (Collingwood) for forceful front-on contact against Cyril Rioli (Hawthorn) in the final quarter.

Umpires: Rosebury, Jeffery, Mollison

Official crowd: 75,880 at the MCG

Our votes: Team effort

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. Steve Hodder says


    I think you’re right, the game was like a “valve” to the awfulness of the day. The awfulness of the tragedy was still palpable but footy had a place.

    I’m still thinking Hawthorn is not playing anything like we need them to be; the back line is working, Lewis, Smith and Hill around the middle were something like they should but the forward line? No one can take a sure grab. We winkle goals out of scrimmages and deft passes (Lewis to Rioli, how about that?). I dunno that we can win big a big final without a main forward (Roughhead, Hale and or Gunston) marking and leading the supporting cast (Rioli, Puopolo or a half back/mid fielder streaming through).

    Dunno about Suckling and Langford at the moment? Schoenmaker might be winning me back. Loved the way Spangher slotted back in.

    Where would we be without Mitchell or Hodge?


  2. Nice work, RK.

    The absence of the “promo” noise also reminded us that football can well and truly do without it.

  3. Grant Fraser says

    Happy to be corrected, but it appeared that the final tribute was of Clarko’s making. Causes me to reflect upon the man – lambasted for whacking the occasional wall, shoving some pissed wanker when he probably felt like snotting him, being the force behind the “unsociable” Hawks, being short (I added that one). Yet at times like Saturday night he shows tremendous depth of character.
    “For mine” he is no more, no less than a solid bloke who is deeply passionate about things and struggles to keep his heart somewhere back from his cuffs (when he is not wearing a Hawks polo shirt).
    What a great mate he would be.
    And Steve – absolutely. I am pretty sure that I will be at our Grand Final Day wine bottling this year rather than the ‘G as something is just not right. JTH will have to do without Rick and I serenading the crowd at the Almanac launch.

  4. Rick Kane says

    Thanks SH, I think the Hawks are doing alright but we’ll see this weekend against flag favs, Freo.

    Hi MOC, long time no beer? Must correct that.

    G’day Grant, I don’t know and it’s probably not that important to me. Clarko, like a lot of player/coaches of his age, appears to have one foot in the old ways of coaching (dictator) and the other in newer ways (manager). Also, ageing (maturing) widens your perspective (unless you’re Sam Newman).

    Whatever the result of this game or any other played on the weekend what really attracted me was the spirit in which it was played.


  5. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Great report Rick. Came away admiring Hawthorn and the maestro Rioli. We nearly got ya! Game was played and barracked for in terrific spirit under the circumstances. Cheers

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