Round 4 – Richmond v Melbourne: Jesse Hogan, centre of the Dees’ Solar System

by Brutas Mudcake

Kids who followed the WWF wrestling during the late 80s and early 90s all had their favourites. From the manic Ultimate Warrior to the slapstick hick of Hacksaw Jim Duggan there was something for everyone. But as much these ‘superstars’ were all promoted, they were all just parts of the wrestling solar system that orbited around its sun – Hulk Hogan, the true star of the show.

In the pantheon of great footy nicknames, calling Jesse Hogan ‘The Hulkster’ wouldn’t gain points for originality, but when Melbourne took on Richmond on Friday night you came away thinking that the fourth gamer might have earned the nickname in other ways.

Just like Hulk Hogan was the Superstar sun that the wrestling world revolved around and fed off, Jesse Hogan might be the sun that powers the Melbourne Football Club.

Friday night was his fourth game, and while his end return of 13 disposals and two goals might not scream superstar it was his sheer effect and threat on the game that will mean this team could one day soon revolve around him.

After the Tigers dominated early possession, Hogan got rid of his opponent in such a dismissive mixture of strength and judgement to set up Melbourne’s first goal it literally stopped the game in its tracks. The opponent, Alex Rance, had been spoken of all week in relation to a new contract as Richmond’s most important player and perhaps the premier defender in the league. That reputation clearly wasn’t daunting Hogan and the psychological effect the act had on both teams would have to have been significant.

Here Melbourne has a player that will make others better; his size, strength, speed and competitiveness means that a ball in his zone becomes a whole new proposition. One day he may well be beacon that the team can revolve around and use for competitiveness in any match it plays.

For the rest of the night his presence hung over the match, he kicked a first quarter goal, he crashed packs, he didn’t get outmarked, he kept the ball alive when it would usually be whisked away.

As the rain came and most forwards disappear through degree of difficulty, he became an even more potent threat because his value is through his competitiveness rather than one or two particular skills talents. He has skill but, just like the wet weather exposed on Friday, the competitiveness means just as much as there’ll be times through conditions or opponents that the skills are thrown out the window and you’re left bare.

You can see the competitiveness in his body language. Every time he gets the ball you’ve never seen a person more intensely focussed on where he’s going to deliver it, exhorting for people to move and flailing his hands in a way that that says ‘if only I could move all the pieces on the chessboard exactly where I want them’. He may be too intense for his own good at times. To the public he probably looks like the anti-Jack Watts.

Jeff Garlett came into the game in the second half almost entirely due to Hogan’s competitive efforts, his contesting and pushing of the ball forward resulted in at least three possible scores for the small forward.

His stretching mark over Rance on the half time siren was all class, but the game was punctuated by his last quarter launch at a pack, and subsequent mark, that not only would have scared the bejesus out of any potential defender who might want to stand in front of him in the next few weeks, but gives a Demon midfield all sorts of confidence about what happens when the ball is put in his vicinity quickly.

13 possessions influenced a game like no other Demon has done in generations.

David Schwarz could have been a sun, if not for his knees. Garry Lyon played the part of the sun but was more the earth in the way he played. Four games in is a big call but Jesse Hogan’s breakout performance under the Friday night gaze stamps him as perhaps the first Dees ‘sun’ since……um….Ron Barassi?

Maybe the Dees will experience some Hulkmania in the next few years.


  1. E.regnans says

    It’s never to early, Brutas.
    Well played.
    Who’s the Dees’ Iron Sheik?

  2. E.regnans says


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