Round 5 – North Melbourne v Hawthorn: Hostile Hawks Bounce the Blue Roos

Why do the blue and white stripes bring out such hostility from the brown and gold. I’m too young to have lived the 70s battles, however, Saturday night was nasty time.


No doubt, even us supporters were smarting from the pants down first half performance Power proceeded to produce prior  – it left us peeved. But our comeback showed the resilience in character this modern Hawthorn possess.


Internally, the nervous mental signs warned of a fiery night. These were so evident, this scribe had opted to watch from the comforts of home rather than travel into Eithad. In addition there was a commitment to race a steam train the next morning, uphill, and this wannabe Superman knew his best chance to outrun a locomotive would be to relax the night before.


However, a nerve-settling beer did have to be cracked prior to the game. There is carbs in beer.


As children were prepped for bed, with the eldest promised viewing of the first half, the family settled in for brown and gold revenge. A good luck text from the mother-in-law had come about the next morning run. I sent back an image of two empty bottles on the bench and the game had just started. Correctly the reply just said `Oh Brad’.


By quarter-time I thought I had inserted a DVD from one of our 80s triumphs and despite my best intentions, I knew those two bottles would have friends by the end of the game.


First the golden captain Luke Hodge advised his Kangaroos counterpart that he didn’t need any assistance getting up. Then deputy and favourite of the household Jordan Lewis mistook the head of Goldstein for the inflated object traditionally punched. As usual, ex-Box Hill player Michael Firrito was in the centre of the dust-ups. He really doesn’t like the Hawks.


But in the confines of a warmed lounge room, the advice offered from this scribe could have been heard echoing off Mount Dandenong. Those Kangaroos really do bring out the worst.


As the wife feared a heart attack, the calmness of the toddler walked across the edge of the couch to Daddy and placed a hand on this leg. `We’ll be right Dad’ his eyes pleaded, before settling for a cuddle and joining Dad until quarter-time.


In the second quarter it was time for the usual suspects to bear the frustrations of this crazed supporter – the umpires. More specifically, my frustrations expand to the constant tinkering by the rules committee that make officiating the game damn difficult. You can’t get consistency with three different interpretations of grey areas, with the pet peeve being incorrect disposal.


Even the commentary team copped advice as they marvelled at the crowd for a North Melbourne home game, raving about their supporters showing up. Perhaps if these self-indulgent commentators undertook some research they would be aware that Saturday night was a Hawthorn member replacement game, which was why the boos of the Roos for Hodge were matched by the cheers for the fearless leader from his fans.


By half-time the Hawks seemingly had command through superior ball use. But superstition had kicked in, from where I sat, the way I sat and items in my vicinity. What makes grown-ups so crazed to think that doing something that does not directly physically affect the other will cause negative ripples. Someone please find me an answer because my body hated the superstition forced carb-loading choice about 7kms into the run the next morning. I was blowing harder than the steam engine I was racing.


Texts were also being fired amongst fellow Hawkers who were unable to be at the ground. The consensus from Point Cook to Rutherglen to Boronia was that Hodge would get a week, Lewis three.


As the third quarter started, the eldest had decided sleep wasn’t his preference this Saturday night. He joined Dad on the couch and fought Dreamland all the way until midway through the last quarter. His peaceful bliss kept Dad calm and ensured his brown and gold warriors prevailed at Eithad.


As the eldest was placed into his bed, this scribe cracked a final beer. This was even though the margin was comfortable, the game won, and alarm set for 6am in the morning. That demon superstition.


Mitchell was superb, Smith consistent and Gunston a blossoming superstar in the mould of Roughhead. The only intrigue left was the response of the respective coaches after the game. Not surprisingly both let questions about the hostility go through to the keeper.


The Hawks don’t face the Roos again this season unless paths cross in the finals. If they do, let’s hope the hostile Hawks remain legit and this scribe undertakes meditation. And next season the Hawks aren’t scheduled Saturday night before Puffing Billy defends its patch against a swarm of runners.


About Bradley Thomas

Tried every sport, excelled at none. Enjoyed being a participant though. Among the passions are Hawthorn, thoroughbred racing, border collie Barney and of course, my wife and two sons. Love the joy of cheering a Hawthorn goal, landing a Running Double and deflating a batman's ego with slow swing bowling.


  1. What the hell is wrong with Hawthorn? That’s the 3rd time Lewis has been reported for striking against North, for two suspensions. The second year in a row Hodge has taken out Swallow. And then the Brian Lake thing.

    Not to mention palming off a mental illness on us at the trade table. Twice.

    I want to admire them but they make it hard. There’s unsociable footy and then there’s outright thuggery.

    You’d think they’d be grateful for Gibson and Hale.

  2. Admire them? I don’t think so. It is a case of Power Without Glory at that joint.
    But, that’s how they have always been from Matthews and Scott to the present. They have won flags but they have a character that is not admirable. It’s sad really that they have this sullen feel about their place. There’s an emptiness there that trophies cannot fix. It’s just a hollowness based from their really poor first 35 years. They still have a chip on their shoulders that will never leave. Unlikable club. Pity.

  3. ILuvHawkThugs says

    As stated Rob C, the Kangas seem to bring out the worst in the Hawkers. Even the ’07 semi-final was a display of undisciplined behaviour. Clearly there is some tension between the two squads at present.
    However, as a fan of the brown and gold, I will take the current unsociable `thugs’ any day over the timid, `Mummy’s Boys’ as Parko put it, who didn’t come out every week with a winning attitude.

  4. Nothing admirable or brave in hitting a player from behind. Nor in targeting a player – as appeared to be the case with Swallow. Have to agree with paubai’s comment re these consistently foul spirited tactics: they create “an emptiness that trophies cannot fix”.
    There is much good work being done to rid our communities of coward punches, domestic violence etc. Violence in any form – particularly the sniping, gutless kind – is more than merely “unsociable.”

  5. aussie80s says

    Don’t understand all the comments about emptiness that trophies cannot fill. Obviously not made by Hawthorn supporters. In a recent survey, on which Caroline Wilson wrote an article in The Age, the modern players do not enjoy the game except at one club – Hawthorn. As out song says, We Are A Happy Team At Hawthorn. Over 70,000 members have signed up and none of them feel any hollowness at all.

    To win a premiership takes two things; skill and hardness.

    What Hodge and Lewis did was nothing like the dirty play that was witnessed in previous generations. They have been rightly suspended for their actions but neither inflicted any serious harm on their opponents. They overstepped the mark on what the acceptable boundaries are and have correctly been punished for that.

    North used to intimidate and ragdoll Hawthorn for a decade under Carey and Archer which came to an end after Jess Sinclair caved in Lance Picione’s face. Nice guys finish last and footy is a very hard game and walking the boundaries is a thin line away from trouble.

    I felt sorry for Steven May of Gold Coast who was also suspended for doing nothing wrong as far as I could see.

  6. via collins says

    My TV must be different to yours.

    What Hodge and Lewis did was EXACTLY the same as the dirty play of the 70s.

    Good luck prosecuting any other view.

  7. Must agree with the non-Hawthorn-blinkered comments here from genuine lovers of our game. Hodge and Lewis were a disgrace. Blatant thuggery has no place in modern football. Euphemisms like “unsociable” cannot disguise deliberately targeting the head of an opponent. Lewis delivered a classic king-hit (coward punch) from behind, when Goldstein had eyes only for the ball, and was completely unprotected. The Hodge elbow to Swallow’s face was vicious and unwarranted. Both should have received harsher punishments for their violent behaviour, especially when May from the Gold Coast got 3 weeks for simply bumping his opponent while competing for the ball. There is an ugly culture at Hawthorn, from the coach down. Incidents like those against the Kangaroos will kill our game, and drive more parents towards soccer, as the preferred football code for their kids. We all know the difference between playing it hard and playing dirty.

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