Round 16 – Sydney Swans v Hawthorn: Howzat!


What a match! What a test! If I could appropriate Bill Woodfull’s observation of another game and another era, there were two teams out there but only one of them was playing footy.


At 7.15pm on Saturday night, with five minutes until the first bounce, even the most rusted on fan, of either side, would not have stumped up the readies to bet on what took place thereafter. It was a shellacking. It was a rout. It was beautiful.


I literally bounded into the house at 7.23pm, having heard Big Boy kick the Hawks first goal, listening to the radio while I drove a daughter to a party (I think that where I took her; I was more focussed on the radio than getting the damn chore done), picked up supplies at Safeway (prawn enchiladas for dinner if you don’t mind) and Maccas for the kids (Saturday night special). We were on our way.


The couch was mine. The TV mine. The family bustle in the background mere static. I adjusted my internal dial and picked up the sounds of Brian ‘Peatbog’ Taylor (he’s hurting my ears) and vision (I like what I see). Before my very eyes I swear I saw the coming of the Lord! Well, a 6 goal to nothing quarter anyway.


While the commentators crackled on about Sydney leading most of the key stats, the Hawks got on with the bidness (he’s says trying to sound Thornbury hip but coming out all Preston white-boy). Gunston had three in the bag, Roughy, back on the park after a cancer scare, was on the board.


The win was all but set up in the first 30 minutes. In that quarter the Hawks were kicking with an astonishing 82% efficiency! That would make a productivity assessor, let alone an insurance adjustor, go numb in their metrics.


For a brief moment in the Second, the Swans took control of the game. Buddy added three goals to the Swans score, which was at that time 0.4 (4). Peatbog was predicting a big Swans comeback and I think he also declared that Donald Trump would be the next President of the USA but he might have just burped.


Then things turned, in the eye of this beholder, beautiful. The Hawks, looking slick as, with smart (and dizzyingly quick) ball movement, took every chance that came their way. Sydney, on the other hand, looked pox and loose (to quote Damien, my Hawks loving friend, who I was in text conversation with through the game). The Hawks made the Swans look silly. Mind you, they were doing a pretty good job of it themselves.


Fourteen goals after halftime. We kicked 14 goals. To three. The Hawks were on fire. They burned the Swans. Springsteen may as well have been talking about the Hawks when he sang, “Sparks fly when the boy-prophets walk it, handsome and hot”. The King of Colac led his merry men with discipline, courage and flair. Rioli, a player who defies the rules of the game and statistics and gravity made our forward line seem like a never-ending Catherine wheel.


Roughy kicked five goal and almost tore his back open sliding across four exposed bolts behind the goals. That’s right. This multi-billion dollar game couldn’t complete a simple OHS audit on the playing surface. One of the game’s best players almost paid a pretty serious price for such an appalling indiscretion. Now, let’s get back to the positives!


Up until this game Sydney had not let an opposition kick 100 points against them. Until this game. The Hawks defence was more miserly than the most miserly unit in the AFL. The Hawks out misered the Swans (I don’t care if it’s a word or not, I’m going with it). While the Hawks scored freely, our backline built an imposing wall of sour.


Controlling the back line and finding a route out, often straight down the middle, was our man Birch. He’s the reason why the backline is the most important part of a team’s structure. And why they go largely unknown. With rolled shoulders and an awkward Hulk-like gait, he set up defensive plays or forced Swans’ attacks wide or just took the ball and ran.


The Hawks kept running, finding space, criss-crossing the ground, taking the ball forward, through hand-passing, controlled kicks and what appears to be a built in radar for at least three options at any point. The Hawks have great players but there is not a star. The team is the thing.


At home on the couch I drew deep from a Hawkers Pale Ale (yes, it’s a thing) and toasted the journey the Hawks are on. If we can demolish the Dockers and skin the Swans who knows where this leads. On Saturday night all I knew was that that was one hell of a win. The Hawks look lean and mean and keen as bloody mustard. The journey just got a whole lot more interesting. So, howzat!



SYDNEY SWANS  0.2  4.5  6.12  7.15 (57)
HAWTHORN  6.1  9.5  16.7  23.8 (146)


Sydney Swans: Franklin 3, McVeigh, Parker, K. Jack, Kennedy
Hawthorn: Roughead 5, Gunston 4, Rioli 3, Breust 2, McEvoy 2, Hale, Smith, Litherland, Schoenmakers, Shiels, Puopolo, Suckling


Sydney Swans: Kennedy, Parker, Hannebery, Goodes, Jetta, McVeigh
Hawthorn: Hodge, Rioli, Birchall, Roughead, Mitchell, Gunston


Sydney Swans: Craig Bird (calf/achilles), Tippett (hand)
Hawthorn: Bradley Hill (corked calf) replaced in selected side by Angus Litherland


Sydney Swans: Zak Jones replaced Craig Bird in the second quarter
Hawthorn: Billy Hartung replaced David Hale in the last quarter


Reports: Ted Richards for striking Sam Mitchell in the first quarter


Umpires: Stevic, Hosking, Pannell


Official crowd: 37,369 at ANZ Stadium


Our votes: Hodge (3), Rioli (2), Birchall (1)


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. Grant Fraser says

    Hawk porn. Must say it was gratifying to see Birch and Judas have a cuddle après game, putting paid to talk of block knocking prior to the earlier stoush. Is your singing voice holding up Rick? We may again be called on for a duet in October/November….but we shall see.

  2. aussie80s says

    Absolute Hawk Porn and is there anything better than beating $ydney $wan$ on their own patch. One of the best H&A wins of recent times.

  3. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    The coming of the Lords … the never ending Catherine Wheel … out-misering. They’re real, what you experienced, Rick. And I experienced it up much much closer. And much colder.
    They/you were glorious. Bravo!
    And it seems the dislike of the $wans just continues to deepen …

  4. RK – correct me if I’m wrong but I get the feeling you enjoyed that victory?

  5. Great write up Rick – the result we might have expected against Sydney earlier in the season but did not produce. Hawks working hard and need to – the worry is that we may peak too soon and some of the lads get a bit ahead of themselves. Might have to find some of that Hawkers Pale Ale – available at all good Preston bottle-o’s?

  6. Trucker Slim says

    Thanks for the feedback and yes I’m still ginning from ear to ear.

    Grant, whoa, steady up. Let’s see how the next few weeks go. :)

    Aussie, yes it was a terrific win, one for the poolroom.

    Mathilde, I must have missed the memo about disliking the Swans, I love playing them. I love beating them even more!

    Dips, correctamundo!

    Crash, I don’t think we’ve peaked. I think Clarko has learned how to prepare for the pointy end. Remember, there were 5 players missing from our side who could step up as well. Hawkers is sold at the bottle shop on the corner of Gilbert and Murray or at Carwyn Cellars in Thornbury. It’s a very nice drop. Ressa brewery.

  7. daniel flesch says

    Must be a different Hawk beer to the one i got at Dan Murphy’s , Trucker. It was shite , a six pack of it. Think it was called Hawthorn Bitter.Unlike that win , which was almost too good.. I didn’t see any mention in the media that the reason Roughie landed on those bolts was Dane Rampe’s shove in the back as he kicked the goal. He had given Gunston an identical shove earlier as he put one through. Jack turned and gave him a good shove back . I’ve not seen Jack do anything like that before -a usually cool customer pretty annoyed. And justifiably so. Cut it out of your game , Rampe !

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