Round 21 – Hawthorn v Port Adelaide (pre-match): The Accidental Shootist

Shades of ‘Willy Wonka’ this week, when I arrived home to learn we were one of eight winners of a ‘Golden Goal Kicking’ competition on Etihad Stadium, before the Hawthorn v. Port Adelaide match.

 

The ‘lovely and indifferent one’ entered the competition. When I was told we had our golden ticket and my part in the whole shooting match was the shooting match, I responded, “You realize my glittering playing days were back in the Renaissance?”

 

She did. Nevertheless I was in, and off to practice.

 

There we were, (7 y.o) Daughter and Dad at our local park. Daughter kindly retrieved the ball from my repeated pings, which were fruit-salady.

 

And then it was Friday evening, standing on Etihad Stadium with 7 others – 6 males and 1 female. All Hawks. During the meet and greet, I introduced myself with, ‘I was hoping you all wouldn’t make it and I could do a Bradbury’.

 

We milled about, chatting under Etihad’s dim lighting. Making our little observations and becoming lightly ‘Cliff Clavin’[1]: the roof looks lower, the point posts higher, ‘Grippy surface, ain’t it? Rubber soles tonight’, running shoes in our case. Good fun while we waited for our instructions. Some footballs appeared and we lapsed into some leisurely pre-footy-training passing and handballing. Felt good. After a bit, we received a briefing.

 

Three kicks from 3 distances – 25, 35 and 50[2] – last man or woman standing. Kick a point and you’re out.

 

We were given our order. I was last. It reminded of being picked for a few school sports teams. Maybe they would forget I was here.

 

One of the guys I was chatting with earlier, who I thought would go well, surprisingly missed on his first shot. Everyone else went through. My first kick was tentative and started to fade across the goal face, it appeared destined for the goal post, before sneaking in by about a foot.

 

Watching the shots as they fall.

Watching the shots as they fall.

 

 

The second round, from further out, sorted a few of us out. My thinking was, kick this one and I will have saved face. Third or fourth is not so bad.

I hit that one pretty well and jogged away trying to look like I had done it before.

 

 

The blur in the middle, kicking goal number 2.

The blur in the middle, kicking goal number 2.

 

Pretty happy to clear the second round, I texted home oblivious to other competitors. Someone called out, “Hey, you’re up”. I tucked the phone away and began my approach thinking, ‘Well this might put me into a final, see how we go.’

 

A text between the second and third rounds.

A text between the second and third rounds.

 

From further out, I kicked an unremarkable but undeviating drop punt and jogged away casually, until other contestants approached cheering, congratulating and high-fiving. I’d won! And did so without knowing I was kicking to win it. It was the veritable secret to my success. Keep your eyes on your device and pay no attention to what’s around you.

 

I was interviewed and then given a giant cheque for an outrageous fortune[3].

 

 

The winning kick.

The winning kick.

 

 

High fives.

High fives.

 

 

Interviewed for the scoreboard.

Interviewed for the scoreboard.

 

 

Good fun. Clarko, I’m available.

 

As for the game, very good win to Port. The elite kicking team[4] shot themselves in the elite feet, missing targets inside-50. Port’s ability to run it back out and transition into attack – especially early – was the best footy over the night. The Hawks edged back in the 3rd, but too many mistakes, Port finished the stronger. 60 more disposals stands out. Gray and Wingard were something to see live. Clarkson’s comment during the week, Port are better than their ladder position, as sure as shootin’.

 

[1] For those born after 1990, Clifford “Cliff” Clavin, Jr. was the bar’s ‘know-it-all’ character, on U.S sitcom, “Cheers”.

[2] Actual distances may vary.

[3] Actual cheque part of the story may vary.

[4] ‘Elite Kicking Team’, not something I enjoy from the callers. Most teams kick it pretty well.

About Paul Campbell

Lawyer, left footer. Loves the Hawks and follows a few U.S sports.

Comments

  1. Grant Fraser says:

    Not sure if Beloved Hawks will be the music makers this year – but we can dream the dreams.

  2. Rick Kane says:

    Congrats Mr PC and yep you mentioned all there was to mention from that game. When PA are on song they are very hard to beat as we keep finding out.

    Cheers

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