Round 21 – Hawthorn v Port Adelaide: Fear and moral responsibility on a pleasant Friday night


Observing from afar – the position of a ninth-position draw-affected Geelong supporter – it would seem that the Hawthorn community is clinging so desperately to a sinking ship that they are willing to ignore any sense of natural justice and reasonable analysis in relation to the Luke Hodge incident.


While Hawthorn has always been at the guard’s van end of the train of moral decency, they really are stooping now. Fear has overcome them and they will not see the Luke Hodge incident for what it was.


Chad Wingard is a very lucky boy.


The blokey-matey-Warnie analysis that ended the coverage on Channel 7 on Friday night would have been hilarious if it weren’t so sad. Home in the lounge room, we were told (not invited) to look at the incident at normal speed.


Ah, yes, what genius logic! You mean if you can’t see a bloke’s head whip-lashed around a solid post it means it hasn’t happened! I should have known.


I suppose that argument will work – if you need it to.


The Hawthorn fans are getting more and more frustrated, my friends.


And, if they weren’t angry enough, the subconscious is becoming conscious, and Hawkers are now dealing with the obvious reality (to most footy fans anyway) that Chad Wingard has had Cyril covered for a while and is now streaking away from him.


My strong advice would be not to take children to Hawthorn home games from now on.


Especially if you were thinking of going to the members.


I must add that I had a surprisingly pleasant Friday night.


[PS Did anyone anticipate Paddy Ryder turning into Polly Farmer?]



Malarkey votes:  3. Paddy Ryder (P.A)      2. Chad Wingard (P.A)        1. Robbie Gray (P.A)





About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. Grant Fraser says


    I agree with you completely – Cats are ninth.



  2. Grant Fraser says

    PS – the skipper should get weeks.

  3. Just as laughable was Terry Wallace (even more laughably known as “The List Manager”) opining on SEN this morning that it was not Hodge’s fault that the post was there. He tried to explain that, yes, Hodge can be cited for the head-high hit but should not be for Wingard’s head hitting the post because Hodge cannot be held responsible for the post being next to Wingard’s head. I tried in vain to follow the logic. It was at this point that i switched off the radio.

  4. All true JTH. There was a vicious “make the bastard earn it” grimace in Hodge’s eye and fixed jaw as he lined WIngard up.
    I am struggling to work Port out. Are they the Gus Gilmour of AFL – brilliant but erratic and unreliable?
    They have big structural weaknesses up forward. You can’t win a flag with Schulz and Monfries as key forwards. WIngard is brilliant, but still small. He’s no Josh Kennedy or Jack Darling!
    Still even with that weakness they should be bottom half of the Top 8 at worst. My current working theory is that Port 2015 is Geelong 2006. The year where brilliant young talent realises that elite sport is hard work and sacrifice is the final element to making it.
    And we know what happens next.
    Hope Hodge gets 4 and Fyfe gets off (can’t believe I wrote that). Fyfe goes hard but at the ball and sometimes collects the man in his efforts. Hodge can be vicious. He and a few of his mates are the dominant males in the AFL jungle, hanging onto their pride while swatting away the threats to their dominance.

  5. Hodge had intent . New low even for him. Are other teams closing on the orch’s game. If Yu read James coventry’s book it is clear that innovators get caught up to . Just like farming really. Hope orchs get out innovated in or preferably before gf.

    James Coventry son of Michael and grandson of that great Adelaide cartoonist Lionel Coventry

  6. Check the roll call of the maimed. It will always be a star. Tex Walker, Wingard… So confidant in my theory I won’t even name any more.

  7. There should be no doubt about Hodge’s intent. He meant to take Wingard out.

    And as for the Ch 7 commentary team, taking their opinions seriously is like believing the Chevron ad that played during the Tour de France. (According to Richo on 3AW yesterday, Pantera are a Brazilian heavy metal band. Ahem)

    Your Paddy Ryder observation is why this Essendon supporter hasn’t adjusted to Paddy walking out on Essendon last season.

  8. Strong words JTH. And quite unusual to hear you make sweeping statements such as your point in relation to Hawthorn supporters ignoring “any sense of natural justice and reasonable analysis in relation to the Luke Hodge incident”. Then there is this: guard’s van end of the train of moral decency. I think you’re implying that we don’t have any. Ouch.

    A reasonable analysis would allow for the speed both players were traveling at would it not? It might also consider that Wingard was not hurt (at all) by that terrible Hodge and his inbuilt villainy. One might even wonder if Wingard played the situation (a little) for a desired effect. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to questions these factors in an analysis of the situation.

    What is curious to me is how quickly the dominant narrative forms to (simplistically, IMHO) cast Hodge in a negative light and the tired old view of the Hawks playing style rears its predictable head once again. One day, everyone is discussing how the Hawks playing style keeps changing and adapting, the next day the discussion centres on a fixed in cement style (that is driven by thuggery).

    Finally, if you reckon Hodge is such a dirty player, what’s your opinion of Stevie J? He’s visited the Tribunal many more times than most of his contemporaries.

  9. Malcolm Ashwood says

    JTH yep definite intent by Hodge pretty avarage and dumb by him must get at least,3 weeks and thought from the outset,Ryder was a strange recruit for the power in that he is a ruckman 1st and a forward at a pinch( better at CHB than up forward) agree with,PB the power are under achievers but they need a key forward.Fyfe if he didn’t already have the strikes against him would be a fine and move on as the afl won’t want him to loose the brownlow for that insufficient force will be the term used when,MRP report comes out later today

  10. I think RGF has picked it.

    Intended tone of this piece? Playful.

    Position of the writer: Situational (Cats out of the finals)

    But, then again, it’s all a bit of fun until someone gets seriously (and unjustly) hurt.

  11. Hawthorn are the “Family Club” in the Sicilian sense of the term.
    Love Nanks use of the “orchs” for Hawthorn. Killer whales – predators or suddenly a threatened species?
    The finals are looking enticing (for all bar Cats supporters). Glad I’ll be out of the country. The pressure would kill me. Unless the other generous spirited Almanac correspondents did first.
    Carna Eagles.

  12. Nice view John.
    Hodge has form. And Wingard was hurt. Just because he got up and 5 minutes later made Hodge look stupid doesn’t mean he wasn’t hurt peoples.

    And yes, Stevie J is a bigger sniper. But only just.

  13. Everything looks bad in slow mo. The game is not played in slow mo, so viewing this is irrelevant. Hodge hit Wingard high (not with the raised elbow but the trailing body as Wingard jackknifed around after hitting the post) and should get a week (two at most).

    The reference to Wingard and Rioli, was apropos of nothing. Irrelevant slight, poor journalism and probably not a thought that has occurred to any reasonable football supporter (not that Wingard is the better player – that is clearly arguable, but that Hawthorn supporters view this as a reason to justify getting someone off a charge).

  14. Grant Fraser says

    I reckon all of you blokes are Colacists.

    Skipper gets 2. Fair call and we will take that.

  15. They say pictures never lie, or perhaps they do.

    Saturday’s papers seemed to show Luke Hodge, the boy from Colac, enjoying his bump on Chad Wingard.

    Footy is often compared to politics, especially Question Time.

    This brings to mind the reflections of Doug Anthony, the boy from Murwillumbah and former National Party leader, on the joys of politics – ‘it’s a great sense of satisfaction, barrelling a fella’.

    The eyes have it?

  16. Grant Fraser says

    As for the speculation that we target other players for heavy treatment – I have little doubt that this is the case having watched the DVD of last year’s Big Dance, well, a few times. Swans #4 appeared to have been identified as a dangerous opposition player, and took multiple heavy hits that would have stopped a lesser being. Effectiveness curbed. It appeared that word had got out that if the opportunity presented itself, make the hit stick…and they did. PROVIDED THERE IS NO TRANGRESSION OF THE RULES is it suggested this is inappropriate and not part of the game as we know and love it?

  17. Dave Brown says

    Yep, the slo mo looked bad. The still photos even worse because they show Hodge lining him up with the hip. Sure it’s a split second decision but a decision nonetheless. To consider that anything less than intentional with medium impact makes a mockery of any concern the AFL professes to have for the heads of their players. The only people smiling at that penalty are Hawthorn fans and personal injury lawyers

  18. Dr Goatboat says

    you can take the boy out of Colac but cearly not the cloaca out of his head…fair comment Smokey, sorry I missed Wallace’s insightful comment on the furniture..although must be said akin to Hazlewood not being responsible for any occasional delivery hitting a stump…

  19. Gratuitous Whacks Breaking News:
    “What did you expect? We have nothing left to live for,” Harms and Pendlebury agree.
    “I told him I needed a fortnight’s freshen up leading into the finals. Maybe Clarko will listen next time.” Serial offender of Colac.

  20. I’m with JTH 100% and then some on this incident.

    Last week Nathan Brown copped a week for arriving a split second late to a marking contest. Parker was courageous and copped a heavy knock (and fortunately was OK) but there was no malice involved. In this case Ling hysterically said Brown ‘must get weeks for that’. He got 1 – which is the same as what Hodge effectively got (not counting the extra 1 for points loading).

    Now I’ve seen a lot of dirty/dangerous acts on the football field over the years and this would be in my top couple. John Ironmonger’s pick up and throw of Graham Wright head first into the ground at Princes Park c1990 comes to mind as being on a par.

    Not only did Hodge bump Wingard in the head from a frontal position with intent (and other options), the ball (and Wingard) was over the goal line and his head was also slammed into the point post.

    Only by sheer luck is Wingard not a) in a wheelchair for life or b) dead.

    One measly week. That really sends a message about the head being sacrosanct…

    Either the MRP members must go at the end of the season or the system needs yet another overhaul because that is a disgraceful outcome (yet so very predictable).

  21. Hodge’s intent was clear – to harm CW. The ball was out of play.
    Agree completely with JD and JTH: sheer luck prevented an unspeakable injury and the incident does not set a good example for young players or the community at large
    Forget orcs. I doubt the media and some members of the public have expressed such a pathetic endorsement of violence since the brown shirts gathered at Nuremburg.

  22. Dave Brown says

    Godwin’s law?

  23. Mark Duffett says

    Well spotted Dave – but nevertheless I am largely sympathetic to Jen’s view. If I were a one-man tribunal it’d be touch and go whether Hodge played in the grand final.

  24. Some consolation Mark – at least its touch and go if Hawthorn play in a Grand Final thanks to 2 Perth trips in a fortnight. Life has a way of evening out.
    Same with Fyfe getting off – he and the Dockers faithful deserve a consolation prize in the Brownlow.

  25. Peter Flynn says

    An interesting catch of the day Harms.

    Should Hodge contest his penalty?

  26. Yes the Cats are playing off for the Richmond Cup (9th on the ladder) but you are still able to see an incident for what it is. Dirty Dog Hodge should go for a month.

    What would the incident look like at light speed?

  27. 2 weeks. How convenient. How inappropriate. Will we now see similar things in local finals over the next weeks? We need a new MRP not the ‘it was alright in the old days’ coterie of ex-players.

    Of course Hodgeball will appeal to some State of Origin fans but even the NRL is trying to take out the shoulder charge. Or is that our problem – we call it a bump when it is a shoulder charge. And for those who celebrate, echoing RL’s ‘Bring back the Biff’ mob, contact with the head has always always always been illegal, that’s why the other term was a ‘shirtfront’.

  28. David Zampatti says

    I told my son, who has the wisdom of youth but, perhaps, not of the ways of the world, that two things would NOT happen this week:

    i. Fyfe wold get rubbed out; and
    ii. Hodge would get two weeks

    I figured that the AFL could not countenance Fyfe losing two Brownlow medals because of a series of incautious incidents only one of which, his whack on Jordan late last year, was the sort of thing you’d expect a player to be rubbed out for. Got that right.

    I was also convinced that surely the AFL wouldn’t have the gall to allow Hodge to receive a penalty that is actually a benefit to him and his club for an act that many will consider the worst of the season. I thought they would either find some bio-mechanical/ circumstantial/ freeze frame argument to let him off completely or bite the bullet and give him the 3-5 weeks it deserved (depending on how they graded potential to cause life-threatening injuries or tetraplegia). But I was wrong.

  29. For me the overriding failure of the Meadow Lea MRP this year in grading incidents is they appear to have no ability to put themselves in the boots of the victim. i.e. if I was hit that hard would I consider it ‘low’ or ‘medium’ impact? Or, if an opponent of mine was to put my life and limb in jeopardy through sheer stupidity or nastiness, would I be happy with that?

    Which is odd given we’re talking ex-footballers.

    My other bugbear is the emphasis on the outcome and not the act/intent.

    Really, the AFLPA should be voicing their disapproval that their members’ health & safety now appears to be worth so little.

  30. Interesting last point there, JD.
    I guess AFLPA would also be concerned with the penalising and removing the income stream of the perpetrator.
    Your point on the weight given to each perspective is worth a thought.

  31. Dan Hansen says

    Kane Cornes, for pushing Sam Mitchell who goes down like an Italian soccer player. Two weeks

    Luke Hodge, one of the most dangerous mongrel acts I’ve seen on the football field for a long time. Should be six weeks, but is offered two weeks if he takes the early “good bloke” appeal.

  32. I know I’ve already had a couple bites at this cherry but I’d just like to have one more.

    I didn’t notice previously because I was too gobsmacked at what I was watching – but check out Hodge’s ‘what for?’ reaction!

    Bless him. I think Luke really deserves an apology for being treated so harshly.

  33. Just read through the comments. I agree the hit was deliberate and deserved more than two weeks off to freshen up for the finals.
    And Nanks, did you mean “orcs”? Wonderful, hadn’t occurred to me.

  34. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    SEN’s Mark Fine (you may not have heard of him) lost me for good when he defended the response to Hodge’s action with “it’s a man’s game” or similar earlier this week, as if what Hodge did was full of courage.

    Hodge’s response was straight out of the Barry Hall / Brent Staker playbook.

  35. Is this the same Mark Fine who argued in May that no team in 2015 had the list depth to match Collingwood?

  36. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    We might have to move this to another thread Bakes

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