Round 16 – Hawthorn v Collingwood: A horrible night’s footy

 

I could’ve envisaged it going so much better.

 

It was all planned out. Bags were packed and ready to go. Water was being consumed. Dinner had been prepared and consumed early by yours truly. By 5.30 I was out the door and driving a teammate to the local away ground for a Friday night clash. We were severely undermanned in the top division, having over 20 players out. Coming up against the top team, it was always going to be a slog.

 

But I had hopes.

 

A decent effort, an honourable loss, could play out in front of an impressive crowd. I could then check the Collingwood scores and head on home for the second half.

 

None of this went to plan.

 

For my own Under 19s game, the tone was set early.

 

The opposition had silky midfielders who broke out of the guts every time and streamed forward unmarked. With a couple of talented giants sitting at full-forward, they had us defenders scampering everywhere for the game. Mini patches of fight gave us some goals and decency, but our midfielders didn’t turn up to play and it killed us. The shallow high-fives of well-wishes and empathy were dished out only minutes apart for us exhausted defenders, who were doing the most running on the ground due to chasing so many spare players. An eventual 120-point loss was humiliating but fitting. Oh well, Collingwood could lift my spirits.

 

Instantly asking injured teammates for the score, they told me we were up at quarter time and Quaynor was getting plenty of the ball early in his debut game. I quickly got changed and headed home, keen to leave the field of destruction I had just spent sprinting around for the past two hours. The radio tells me Hawthorn have played better for the first half, and are starting to kick a couple of majors in the second term.

 

My presence is obviously required by the TV and heater (strategically placed, may I say). But what I watch only disturbs me more. The fast-paced, run and gun corridor footy that Collingwood had played all the way to the 2018 Grand Final was officially gone. Not since the last quarter of the St Kilda game had it fully burst open. Geelong led the trend of figuring us out this year, shutting down the corridor and making us stop and kick down the line to an inconsistent American giant. From there, other teams have slowly cottoned onto it. The Bulldogs have done it twice and nearly won both times. I began to panic that the Premiership that I had been yearning for since that horrible 2018 September day was perhaps not coming anytime soon.

 

The third quarter didn’t lift my spirits. Hawthorn were playing defensive and poorly skilled footy. Unfortunately, they had dragged Collingwood down to their level, and the Pies weren’t confident enough to take a risk and split the game down the middle. On hindsight, this round shows not many teams are willing to do this at the moment, as Geelong have fallen into the same trap. But for a talked-up midfield and dynamic forward line, the way we move the ball is disgusting. Cox is having a shocker. Mihocek is being out-marked despite working hard. Our defence, especially Scharenberg, is keeping us in the match with some astute defending.

 

De Goey threatens to break open the match with a terrific roving goal, but it doesn’t happen. Collingwood just inch ahead. An early last quarter major gives us a three-goal lead, which is close to comfortable in this dog fight. Another goal or two would seal it. That major never comes. Hawthorn strike at the perfect time. Sicily’s rebound eventually pays off, and Shiels provides the biggest moment of the match as he is the first to successfully take on the kick down the middle. It gives them a goal. In time, it’ll prove to be a defining one for the tale of two teams.

 

Hawthorn’s forwards lift in big moments, proving they are going to develop into the next line of Clarkson’s Commandos. Lewis and Hanrahan are the culprits. O’Brien not so much, but he does some good things. I’m wondering how a team as silky as Collingwood are left in this rut as goals to Sier and Hoskin-Elliott are cancelled out by Breust’s winner. The siren rings and the hollow feeling slides into my stomach.

 

Collingwood just aren’t good enough, and it hurts. Their current game style is frustrating, and there’s no alternative, no plan B to ensure they can still move the ball quickly down the corridor to one-on-ones. I turn off the TV and decide footy sometimes isn’t that great. Cricket will do for now. Maybe some Ash Barty. Anything other than a night like that.

 

 

HAWTHORN               1.5       3.8       4.9       9.13 (67)
COLLINGWOOD          4.0       5.4       6.7       9.9 (63)

 

GOALS
Hawthorn:
 Breust 2, Hanrahan 2, Lewis 2, Hardwick, Worpel, McEvoy
Collingwood: De Goey 2, Hoskin-Elliott 2, Mihocek, Treloar, Cox, Daicos, Sier

 

BEST
Hawthorn: 
Sicily, Smith, Impey, Lewis, Hardwick, Worpel
Collingwood: Crisp, Scharenberg, Roughead, Moore, Pendlebury

 

INJURIES
Hawthorn: 
Nil
Collingwood: Nil

 

Reports: Nil

 

Umpires: Meredith, Findlay, Fleer

 

Official crowd: 66,407 at the MCG

 

 

Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.

 

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