Round 3 – Western Bulldogs v Hawthorn: That One Day in April

That One Day in April

Western Bulldogs versus Hawthorn

3.20pm, Sunday April 10, 2016

Ethiad Stadium, Melbourne

Gareth Meyer

 

 

Hawthorn’s big-occasion, shock-and-awe tactics were on show early in the guise of a dead-eye Gunston from outside fifty and the banana-bending nonchalance of Rioli.  With the brown and gold marching towards a six-goal lead six minutes into the second term, it seemed a familiar case of ‘how far the Hawks?’

 

For the 46,000 or so at Etihad, fortunately this contest followed a different narrative.  This was an autumnal grand final – an epic tussle between underdogs turned upstarts, and the aged three-peat demigods of Glenferrie Road.

 

Youthful bulldog exuberance began to challenge the Hawks’ age and guile mid-way through the second.  Jordan Roughead’s wily interception of a misjudged reverse dart in the Hawk’s backline swung the momentum, inspiring a run of four majors on the trot.  Bontempelli soon emerged from a pack about twenty out to snap one on the left, putting the dogs within reach by halftime.

 

In the third, the boys from the West seemingly stripped pages from the Hawks’ playbook – managing possession, controlling tempo and switching play like an English league premier side.  Courtesy of a Suckling sling and pocket-hero Wallace, the Bulldogs marched to a 19-point lead by three-quarter time.

 

Enter the Hawk cavalry in the form of Lewis, Mitchell, Rioli and Burgoyne.  Their physical presence at the first centre-square contest in the fourth was ominous. McEvoy soon pulled down a big one at the front of a pack and goaled in the third minute. Cries of ‘Cy-ril’ then swirled the ground as junior read the ball from the pack like a watermelon off the back of a truck and nailed it from fifty.

 

Still, the Hawks underestimated the resilience of their younger opponents.  As the clock ticked into the red, it was a contest that kept giving.  For fans of both sides, it was the best of times and the worst of times, as the lead alternated at least half a dozen times.  Set plays and defensive structures soon gave way to individual acts of brilliance or good fortune.

 

It could have been a case of Dahlhaus blues for the Hawks as the young forward, tumbling and turning, toe-poked one through under huge pressure.  The Hawks soon replied, with Poppy soaring legitimately above a pack and dropping the ball at the feet of a swooping Bruest.  The fan club signature cry of Brueeee-sssst went up as the half-forward displayed a signature side-of-the-boot snap.

 

But a tragic and decisive scene was still to unfold.  With the clock under two minutes and the dogs up by three points, the Hawks took a kick-out in the defensive goal square.  With no time to work the angles, Birchall’s untidy long bomb up the middle found its way through several clawing hands to Burgoyne in the clear.  Silk did what he does best in big moments – delivering the Sherrin at perfect height into the hands of the emerging Sicily inside fifty.  The young Hawk confidently converted his third for the term, sealing the win.  His ecstasy contrasted with tragedy as bulldog skipper Murphy went to ground with an ACL, his season over.

 

 

Scores

Western Bulldogs                   0.2       4.5       10.8      13.12     (90)

Hawthorn                                2.4       5.5       7.7       14.9   (93)

Goals  Western Bulldogs: Dalhaus (2), Biggs (2), McLean (2)

Hawthorn: Rioli (3), Sicily (3), Breust (2), Gunston (2), McEvoy (2)

Best    Western Bulldogs: Dahlhaus, Daniel, Murphy

Hawthorn: Mitchell, Birchall, Hartung

Umpires           Wallace, Donlon, Chamberlain.   crowd 46,800

Our votes      Mitchell, Dalhaus, Hartung

 

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.

Comments

  1. Nicely done Gareth – welcome.

    I have watched my beloved 3 and 3’s goal from beside the point post (c/- the, um, “deliberate” from Suckers…) on numerous occasions and still do not understand how he did it. The helicopter, kick the pointy end, start it spinning and let physics do the rest banana I get. But was his the greatest flat punt goal since the Boy from New Norfolk hung up the boots and his bung knee?

  2. Neil Anderson says

    Well done Gareth. After just finishing a report on behalf of the Bulldogs, it was interesting to read something from the Hawk perspective.
    We must have been on the same page because I also used the expression about the best of times and the worst of times. Obviously referring to our team’s prospects in different ways as the day unfolded.

  3. Welcome indeed, Gareth.
    Very well played.
    The dart, nonchalance, watermelon, truck… Picturesque.

  4. Gareth meyer says

    Thanks for the welcome everyone. GM

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