Round 16 – Port Adelaide v Hawthorn: Missed It by That Much

I’m not the smartest phone in the Apple store. People who know me reckon I’m one blind short of a Kresta. I pretty much summed up my CV in that regard in a short (allegedly true) story called ‘Car and I’ for a humorous compilation entitled Great Australian Bites, edited by the Suburban Boy himself, Dave Warner.

So, what I’m about to relay is just another notch in my CV. I was in Adelaide last week. Not for the game. Oh, no. I couldn’t possibly have organised my time to fit that in could I? I had a meeting on Wednesday in Port Adelaide. Yes, I said Port Adelaide. As if that would trigger a “what if” thought. I flew in on Tuesday evening. Had a great dinner with colleagues at Madame Hanoi. Def Recommend. Then a full day meeting in yes, I know, Port Adelaide.

It was only when I was walking through Adelaide airport on Tuesday evening that it clicked. I thought to myself, wait a minute … then I thought about donuts … then I chided myself – focus man … then the penny dropped. The Hawks would be in this same fair city two nights from now and I could and should be there. To support them. And to get a load of the Port Adelaide fan base. PAssion. I missed it by that much!

On Thursday night I sat myself down in front of the telly, Hawkers Pale Ale in hand to watch a game I could’ve watched live. Oh, the pain, as Dr Smith might have exclaimed. The mis-step was twofold. One, not being there. Duh. Two, by being in my own home I deprived my good wife Vicki and a couple of the kids the chance of watching Master Chef. So, while I enjoyed a sparkling game of hard and tough footy I was acutely aware (because they raised the matter a number of times) that I was spoiling someone else’s fun.

Meanwhile, in Adelaide, the Hawks were hell-bent on spoiling Port’s fun. They headed to SA with that in mind and that’s just what they did. They adopted the ‘starve and choke’ defence method. PA were reduced to foraging for the ball or morsels of the game. In his post-match presser, Clarko noted, (ignoring the codification of the English language) “as PA started to fatigue later in the game” the Hawks stepped it up. Port missed it by that much.

This game was the tale of two team’s seasons. One team knows how to win by remodelling its game to play each different opponent. The other team is Port. For two quarters we got a finals like match. The intensity was truly gripping. Hodge, Mitch and Lewis led the way, like desperadoes waiting for a train. This was robbery in full view. The first half was wrapped when Puopolo took a screamer over Broadbent and finished the job with a goal. The Hawks took a six point lead into the beer and time for a quick durry break.

In the Second half Adelaide Oval denizens witnessed a couple of remarkable things. First, just how polished a unit are the Hawks. Relentless. I’m tipping the Port Adelaide congregation didn’t fork out their readies to witness that.

Then they watched as the umpiring descended into panic mode in less than a minute. For just shy of ten minutes I don’t think anyone knew exactly who was in charge of the game. The umpires kept blowing that little tin dictator. At anything. At ghosts.

In the confusion one team kept their head, the other succumbed to the confusion. The confused were ably assisted by Charlie Dixon’s sooky reaction. Looking like a bushranger but behaving like an East Terrace hipster whose skinny latte just wasn’t quite hot enough.

And then there’s the crowd. What a riot. What spoilsports. That is why I should have been at the game. I almost choked on my laughter every time they booed. Could a crowd be any more demanding? The more they hated the footy lesson being handed out to their team by the mighty Hawks the more I loved the game. If only they focussed on the game their team was playing rather than the 100 frees they reckoned was Port’s. If only. Missed it by.

The gravest and greatest umpiring error of the game was not calling Cyril’s incredible leap and grab a mark. What a spectacular sight. As Hamlet text me on the night: In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel! In apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! Hamlet is wont to hyperbole but on this occasion I texted him back immediately: Damn straight.

Yes, in technical terms you could contest (after having seen it replayed a dozen times in slow motion) whether he had control of the brass ring as he fell through the stratosphere on his way back to the place us mere mortals cling to with dear life. If you did mount that argument I would be snoring by the time you got to your third point. Geez Louise. Boring enormous or what.

There is a letter of the law and the spirit of the law as any bush lawyer knows. There are times for the letter of the law to be laid down. There are times when it is in our best interests to soar with the spirit of who we are. That was a mark. Damn technicalities. Dare to dream. Imagine the umpy deemed Cyril’s remarkable catch a mark. That’s what we’d be talking about today and tomorrow. That’s what the kids at school and the office juniors round the water cooler would be trying to emulate. That’s the heart and soul of our game. That’s footy. Missed it by that much.


FAlmanac banner sq

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. Agreed Slim, I would give you the Rioli mark any day just for the encouragement and spectacle. But, (I know you shouldn’t start a sentence with a preposition) in exchange I would like the Westhoff mark on the wing paid! And the Aaron Young first quarter tackle in front of goal…

  2. E.regnans says

    Trucker – love this.
    The haphazard way you roll into Adelaide.
    The focus on spirit of the law, rather than letter.

    Years ago an academic told me that the litigation-happy Americans lived in a rules-based society, in which people were forever looking for loopholes, whereas the English lived in a principles-based society, in which the common good (manners, consideration for others) was seen as inherently worthwhile.
    These artefacts and the notion of a feel-good “vibe” seem to be sorely tested in the face of professional competition, though. Vibe pays that mark every time.
    Long live vibe.

  3. Cyril doesn’t fly for marks. He flies to split packs and create opportunities for the Hawks runners. So the umpires were rewarding Hawthorn by not paying the mark and the other half dozen times he launched himself into the stratosphere (and not coincidentally the backs of three Port defenders).
    As you quite rightly said, all at Hawthorn is strategically (and cynically) designed for the ultimate team football and focussed on results.
    You get the flag not the mark.

  4. Rulebook says

    The correct decision would and should have been a free kick against,Cyril for using his hands and it definitely wasn’t a mark geez the umpiring was diabolical and you want another error,Rick
    It’s bad enough that we see that mark payed to Ablett over Pert all the time thank goodness another one wasn’t added

  5. Didn’t see much footy on the weekend, I was in Broome.

    At one stage, just after coming back from the beach and getting ready to go to the pool, I saw that Cyril fly on the TV. “I love Cyril but that’s a free kick,” I said. Don’t know what the decision was.

    And Rick you’re dumb as buggery to miss a game at Adelaide Oval when you’re… that close.

  6. Let’s all get in a circle and….

  7. John Butler says


    I see No Hubris Week was cancelled then?

  8. Jth talking up the Puddies; Trucker Slim with Hawk porn. We must be getting close to the Pointy End.
    I see they are coming at you with the tired old hubris line. I’ve got your back, brother

  9. They paid G Ablett’s mark over G Pert and Gazza only held it for a nano second. Must have had a greater sense of theatre back then. But they still call it the MARK of the century. Poor old Cyril’s effort has gone the way of the thylacine.

Leave a Comment