Round 8 – Hawthorn v Sydney: About my Hawks

Some more authentically than others.

So at 4-4 after 8 weeks of their second successive Premiership Defence, my Hawks stand at just 50% and are losing altitude fast. Worse still, by finding a way to lose games they put themselves in position to win.

Frankly, even if we hadn’t buckled under the pressure in the key moments, and eeked out those four squeakers to join Fremantle on 8-0, I would remain quite worried … even though I daresay I’d be a tad more comfortable.


A major identity crisis under pressure looms. Not to mention pending Away games to four in form interstate sides still to be navigated.

At Hawthorn we kick the goals when they matter most. We hit targets with clinical efficiency AND imagination (at our best these ARE NOT mutually exclusive) when the game is on the line.

Not so last night against Sydney, who were allowed to score the last three goals of the match. Not so against the Giants, who were allowed to recover 3/4 goal deficits in hectic maelstroms of momentum, no less than three times. Not so against Essendon, who were allowed to score two goals in the last two minutes. And not so against The Power … who surged to a 9-goal lead in the second quarter only for us to short-circuit their charge, without finishing the job, thus leaving ourselves exposed.

Half-full and you could say something like, ‘well you were in the finish, you just couldn’t put it away’.

Half-empty and I DO say, ‘this year when the pressure intensifies in the crunch, Hawthorn have been left gasping like a deep diver who rose to the surface too quickly, their timing at the end too poorly judged’.

GWS to their great credit, at least ripped the game from our gnarled bareknuckle grip. The rest however better make sure they send some early Christmas Cards (stamped Essendon, Port Adelaide and Sydney), thanking us for the gold, frankincence and myrrh.

The question now is, where do we go from here? Hawthorn have comfortably been a Top4 fixture throughout the last four seasons. Everybody knows that has led to three consecutive Grand Finals and two straight Premierships. We’ve done our very best to make this year as uncomfortable as possible, if we wish to continue that streak.

So what … or who can we blame for that then? Why have we developed this shiftless gambler’s mentality, when we have invested so much in creating a team and style where we don’t hedge our bets?

I watched a movie long into the wee pre-dawn hours this morning. It was on SBS … and no, it’s not THAT type of movie.

Made in Japan, ‘About Her Brother’ was deeply moving. Director Yoji Yamada managed to turn what some might say were cliched, emotionally manipulative images, into naturally flowing endlessly evocative rivulets of pathos as the story of the film unfolded from stream to stream, to river, to the sea of tears I was left in when it ended.

I expect I’ve outgrown the urge to bawl and chuck a tanty when any of my sporting surrogates – alright … Teams – loses. That doesn’t mean I’m not saddened by the way they let it happen.

Am I being too greedy? Am I like the main character Ginko’s ungrateful brother, grasping brazenly for instant fulfillment I haven’t earned, then gallivanting away each and every time things go ‘wrong’?

Let me put it this way. Although the film could be accused (unfairly) of cliched imagery, there was nothing manufactured or adulterated (to me) in the steps leading to its river-deep narrative flow.

I thought the imagery complemented that perfectly, creating a visceral sense memory of imperfection, amongst the brief moments of resonant melody.

Every expected picture that you saw – winter snow, cherry blossoms in spring, Gunston set shot goal, Rioli pressure and delicious wizadry – rang counterpoint to the ultimate reality of what was unfolding …

… lying gambler using relationships to facilitate unearnt cracks at a ‘big score’ & relying on family bailouts when his ‘efforts’ were cheaply dismissed. Poor kicking (field & goal) and poor execution of skills in the crunch when victory beckoned.

I’d like to be able to assume Hawthorn will find a way to reconnect with the best version of themselves. I would hope it wouldn’t be in the ultimately doomed endeavour of finding peace in the ‘nobility of failure’.

About my Hawks … time will tell. About the rest … maybe one day, I will.


  1. Ross Treverton says

    Shades of Greg Chappell – “I’m not batting badly, I just keep getting out”. Christmas cards? Really?

  2. Gregor Lewis says

    Christmas Cards and candy and hens a laying and turtledoves… and a partridge in a pear tree.
    Love the quote there. Brief encapsulation that captures one aspect of Hawks’ malaise succinctly.
    Thanks for reading.

Leave a Comment