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Round 19 – Hawthorn v Sydney: I only have two words to say about Hawthorn…

 

I only have two words to say about Hawthorn… the second word is Hawthorn. The Collins Dictionary says if you hate someone, you have an extremely strong feeling of dislike for them. Not sure I’m at the hate level just yet, mind you Friday night certainly moved my dislike reading into the extreme.

 

The night doesn’t start well. Three late scratchings for the Swans: Lloyd (hip tightness), Rohan (back spasms), Dodson (man flu). While Lloyd and Rohan are most likely dealing with their injuries like professionals, I’m whinging like a three-year-old who has missed out on the last slice of birthday cake. Why did I spend $17 on cold and flu tablets? They are a bigger rip off than a Ponzi scheme. The Swans will cover my absence from the `G, but the pie vendors will be disappointed.

 

I’m rugged up on the couch, like I’m about to make an attempt on Everest, as the umpire holds the ball aloft.

 

The signs are not good early. It seems like I’m reliving a familiar nightmare. The Hawks are playing controlled football and always seem to find a spare man. The Swans are like a boxer who is frustrated at his opponent’s unwillingness to stand in the middle of the ring and trade punches. This is a well-worn script that is frustrating to watch.

 

That uneasy feeling in the stomach has returned. Not the Hawks. Not again. Too many times they have spoilt our party. I’m usually pretty relaxed watching the footy these days (particularly after having kids), however, those Hawks can bring out the red mist in me. I’m swearing at a PhD level as Hewett goals on the siren to keep us in touch.

 

Observing Cameron Mooney reporting on the sideline I tell Mrs D (for the 187th time) about the day I kept him goalless in an Under 12s match in Wagga Wagga. Mrs D says if I tell her that story one more time she will organise an intervention.

 

Clarkson is taking the points in the coaches’ box and Horse needs to pull some strings as we continue to have the game dictated to us. We’re 21 points down at the main break. I can’t bear to watch the half time analysis. I don’t need David King to start drawing a Venn diagram on a plasma TV to tell me that we are getting carved up.

 

I’m pacing up and down the loungeroom. Angry. I can’t see the brilliance in Hodge or Burgoyne. I’m not objective. I only see Red and White. Geez those two blokes have broken my heart a few times over the journey.

 

Is the game gone? Is the season gone? Season 2017 has been the ultimate rollercoaster. I’m hoping we have something more to give in this game. Seeing Kennedy in bandages is not a good start. Tonight of all nights we need him firing on all cylinders.

 

The younger brigade help us close the gap in the third quarter. Papley is the stereotypical little angry man, however, he could also find the big sticks blindfolded. You can’t teach a kid how to read the flight of the ball – Mills just gets to the right spot time after time.

 

Buddy is not on tonight. A rare off night stands out like a sore thumb. Others are carrying the slack. Hewett is a beautiful set shot for goal and our back six have put the brakes on the Hawks. We can win this. Langford plants a kiss on McVeigh – that is disrespectful with a capital D.

 

Two goals to start the final quarter and we take the lead – take that you pesky Hawks. I’m starting to believe. Back and forth the ball flies. Contest after contest. A game of territory. If I blow my nose one more time it may well end up in the tissue. Roughead leads the Hawks brilliantly and they wrestle back the lead. Papley goals and we are back to a goal down with a minute to play.

 

We fumble the final handful of chances we get to seal the game. There is to be no grandstand finish tonight. As has been the script tonight the Hawks find a man in space and control the final minute. It’s like a game of Connect 4, yet they get three yellow tokens for every single red token we get.

 

My mood is dark. I go into full emergency management mode. All media is turned off. There will be no Herald Sun purchased tomorrow. No analysis. No discussion. Just bury my head in the pillow and pretend it didn’t happen. Hawthorn and only Hawthorn can do that to me.

 

As I ruminate in bed my mind turns to tomorrow’s Auskick session. Maybe I’ll make them do a beep test, repeat 400s maybe even hill sprints? Snap out of it, you can’t take your frustration out on five-year-olds! There is one little fella who wears a Hawks jumper, so might have to avoid him though.

 

Come 2am and I’m still tossing and turning. Is the season shot? Can we still make the eight? Will we ever beat Hawthorn again? Will I still have the man flu at Christmas? I can’t find perspective tonight.

 

I wake early. The media ban is still in place. I’m starting to think clearly again though. Our form line is solid and we have shown more than enough over the last few months to suggest we can be there when the whips are cracking in September. We just need to scrape in. A true test of character awaits on Friday in Geelong.

 

As for you Hawthorn, we will meet again. You have got me/us again. Everyone needs a villain. Victory, when it comes, is always sweetest that way. You hold sway on the ledger and deserve the spoils tonight. We will lick our wounds and come again one day. Beware the wounded Swan.

About craig dodson

Born in the sporting mecca that is Wagga Wagga and now reside in Melbourne with my lovelly wife Sophie and son's Jack and Harry. Passionate Swans supporter and formally played cricket at a decent level and Aussie Rules at a not so decent level! Spend my days now perfecting my slice on the golf course and the owner of the worlds worst second serve on the tennis course.

Comments

  1. Grant Fraser says:

    Craig,

    I find the comments from yourself and Jan regarding the depth of your fear and loathing of the Mighty Fightings as, well, interesting (surely the most interesting word in the English language).

    To me true rivalry is a product of the acid burn of results in the Big Dance. Home and away is all very well and good, but it is only when all the chocolates are up for grabs that elation (and despair) truly kicks in for me. Perhaps it is also a product of the stage in life we have reached at the time. As my bio in the MCC’s “Balcony Banter” says, I am fortunate to have lived through two (brown and) Golden Ages for the Hawks.

    As I see it, the ledger is square between our clubs in terms of GF results. We still kick ourselves for kicking ourselves out of 2012, but it gave us the motivation to book end our win against your blokes. I see the Swans as a worthy competitor where the result will always be up for grabs. I have a similar view about us and Geelong – the fiercest of rivals in the last decade, with a coversyl inducing record against us for the duration of “The Curse”. But I cannot hate them…and not just because we have a 2:1 record against them in terms of Grand Final wins (sorry jth).

    So what is it that causes us to designate a team, or teams, as The Hated Ones? Perhaps it is truly irrational? But I do know one thing – as a young man who went to every Grand Final between 1983 and 1989, I will never, ever, ever stop despising………Essendon.

    #Always

  2. craig dodson says:

    Grant,

    I 100% agree that rivalry is intensified from the Grand Final Experience – there is that feeling that the opposition has ‘stolen’ a lifetime of good memories, by spoiling your party. The constant reminders certainly linger longer.

    Cheers
    CD

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