Round 21 – Hawthorn v North Melbourne: Unhealthy addiction

Round 21 – Hawthorn v North Melbourne: Unhealthy addiction
August 14, by Gareth Meyer


Through an unusually bleak Canberra winter I admit I’ve gone to ground, and with it, my contributions to the Almanac. Admittedly, the Hawks’ performances haven’t inspired much prose. And the get-of-jail narrative had become all too familiar.


A weekend in sunny Sydney for the annual C2S run, though, sparked something within. With the aroma of blossom now a less distant prospect, and the gravity of the next three weeks weighing upon me, I’m suffering a full-blown case of pre-finals anxiety.


A lovely lunch for two was abruptly cut short at 2pm by an overwhelming urge to find the best AFL-friendly public house. No easy feat!  Opting for an eastern suburbs pub that promised ‘If it’s on, it’s on’ meant monitoring the entire first quarter by smartphone in the back of a taxi. The results were much more than I could have hoped for. As if by remote control, each of my ‘refresh’ hits seemed to produce another goal. I could only imagine what tricks Cyril was getting up to as his name registered in the pithy on-screen text.


Out of the cab in a flash, and with no time to quibble over change, I hit up the first AFL-friendly pub option in Paddo. But how does one ask Sydney bar staff to abandon the Olympics for a domestic football match involving two Melbourne-based teams? Coaxing the remote control from a Scandinavian staff member with only the faintest sense of the seriousness of the situation, disappointment soon struck. Despite the promise of their marketing, it certainly ‘wasn’t on’.


Fortunately, Lord Dudley’s nearby delivered in spades. As if recognising the slightly unsettling determination in my eye, bar staff here happily delivered both vision and sound to my centrally-placed stool in the front bar.  What a hit! What bliss! A few quiet Newtowner ales, a front row seat and unbroken surround sound.  Well, at least until half time.


After the long break, I experienced something of a come down as the Hawks gave up a seemingly unassailable quarter time lead.  At one point, perhaps 35 minutes had passed between goals. Had they tanked? Should I have stayed in the taxi? Perhaps so. This pub grew rowdier as the sounds of mid-afternoon bucks’ outings and girls’ nights washed over the commentary.  Punters passed with oblivion back and forth across my once perfect view.  Whatever positive vibes I could summon risked being lost in transmission to the Hawthorn mothership.


As I pay-passed a couple more ales, my worries were compounded. People in league colours began to assemble. What were my rights here?  Would mob rule dictate terms? I recognised few other voices joining me in uncontrolled cries of ‘Cy…y…..r…i…ll’ as the superstar climbed step-ladder like atop the shoulders of his opponent.  And, who would place any weight on my slightly curtailed cries of ‘Brue….st’ as the agile forward dribbled another freakish one through from the boundary.


Fortunately, I rode this one safely with the boys through to the club song. Lord Dudley, I owe you. I won’t forget your welcoming hospitality for an addicted Southerner.


HAWTHORN                   8.4   9.7   11.9   14.12 (96)

NORTH MELBOURNE       1.0   6.2   8.7     8.9     (57)



Hawthorn: Rioli 3, Breust 2, Puopolo 2, Gunston, Ceglar, Langford, Lewis, Burton, Hill, Birchall

North Melbourne: Petrie 3, Gibson 2, Goldstein, Nahas, Thomas



Hawthorn: Smith, Mitchell, Hill, Birchall, Gibson, Lewis, Rioli

North Melbourne: Tarrant, Ziebell, Dal Santo, Petrie, Gibson, Macmillan


VOTES: Mitchell, Smith, Tarrant


Umpires: Findlay, Jeffery, McInerney


Official crowd: 50,657 at the MCG


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About Gareth Meyer

Part-time food, wine and travel writer (and photographer), Hawks supporter since Huddo senior had the football on a string, proud owner of Martha the toy poodle.


  1. jan courtin says

    Hi Gareth
    I could have warned you! Unless it’s the Swans (and even then any rugby version would overrule) there’s no chance of getting AFL throughout most of Sydney. You were indeed luck that the Dudley was accommodating. Our game will never be as dominant as union and league in Sydney and Queensland.

  2. Great article Gareth, your determination to watch the game, find a pub in Sydney that would show it and stay the course as the heathen throng multiplied would surely get you a game with the mighty Brown and Gold. I trust the one you left at lunch appreciates your grit. And you got to see the Hawks find their way out of what could have been a mess!


  3. A weight fell on Sam Gibson’s nose…. yeah right. Is there a bit of a dust up happening at North.. I wonder whose fist it was that broke his nose…..

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