To visit the Sydney Swans website click the logo below.

Round 9 – Hawthorn v Sydney: Passing the audit

I’ve made many trips to the G to take on the Hawks. Oh, the agony and the ecstasy. From euphoric hugs of jubilation with an Octogenarian stranger in the Olympic Stand following the 2012 Grand Final, to commiserating with a tearful and crestfallen lass outside the ground in 2014, who had blown three thousand dollars on a Grand Final trip from Perth, just to see us sink like the Titanic. The ledger over the years has been in the negative. Those bloody Hawks deliver a tougher examination than an auditor from the Australian Taxation Office. After the heart-stopping loss last week I hope Horse Longmire has rummaged through the shoe-box and made sure our papers are in order.


The collective football family’s thoughts have been with Jarryd Roughead and his family this week. The game of football seems trivial in comparison to the challenge this young man faces. Until this week I’ve just thought of Roughead as that red-headed bugger who we struggle to match up on. I’ve looked deeper this week and have seen the respect, admiration and love that exists for Jarryd from his peers and the rank and file. I have been given a picture of the real man who lives outside the oval. It will be a tough task for the players to cross the white-line tonight. I wish Jarryd all the best as he confronts his latest challenge.


I rush home from work for a quick pit stop to change clobber and say hello to Mrs D and the young scallywags. As I head out the door I promise Jack that I’ll call him when the Swans burst through the banner.


The train rattles into Flinders Street Station at a brisk pace, however, I am confronted by a swarm of football fans who are waiting for a tram up to the G. The boffins at Yarra Trams have done the sums and feel that one tram every 10 minutes should be adequate to transport several thousand footy fans. It appears they may be struggling with the introduction of the metric system.


I give the tram the flick and decide on a leisurely twenty-minute stroll. It is a familiar walk, one that I’ve probably done over 100 times. I turn right under the Jolimont Rd Bridge, leaving the worries of the city behind. The anticipation builds as I pass the assorted hotels and units, until I round the corner and see the wonderland that is the mighty MCG. I first made this walk as an eight-year-old on holidays from Wagga Wagga. Memories with every step. I am glad I bypassed the tram.


I’m flying solo tonight. My mate Woody (a Hawks man) has pulled the pin earlier in the week. Apparently Mrs Woody has organised a surprise dinner to celebrate their 20th anniversary and she didn’t fancy the offer of a cold pie and a Cornetto to mark the special occasion.


I take my seat in the Great Southern Stand. I introduce myself with a handshake to John, my neighbour for the night. John is a spritely and welcoming 82-year-old Bulldogs fan who has rolled up hoping to see a good contest. We pass the time talking about footy, kids and falling off ladders. To my amazement John mentions he has only just retired from a career as a University lecturer. I ponder what the footy will look like in 44 years-time when I am 82.  I’m pretty sure Buddy’s current contract will have expired by then, mind you given his current form I wouldn’t bet against him being a handy target in the forward 50 well into his late seventies.


The contest quickly develops into a game of chess. I am more of a Connect 4 type of guy so I struggle to keep up. Players run and shuffle, leaving their man to guard space and there is no empty grass to be found. No goals in the first 15 minutes. This game may go to penalties. Gary Rohan breaks the deadlock and it is good to see the kid from Cobden back in action. We keep the Hawks goalless for the quarter. Poor old Teddy Richards’s head hits the deck hard and while he rises like a boxer who has just beat the count, I think that will be the last we see of him tonight.


We take control in the second-quarter and McGlynn kicks two goals in as many minutes. In a flash Buddy marks and goals to make it 40-4. I did not see this coming. Reg Grundy is marshalling the troops down back with aplomb and Tippett is imposing himself on the contest. The usual suspects in the midfield do what they do best, all with a minimum of fuss.


Nick Smith is wearing Rioli like a glove. Apparently they used to go high school together. I suspect Nick used to follow him to the canteen, grab his shirt and impede his run just as he was about to pick up his hotdog and coke. I would have paid to go and watch recess kick-to-kick.


A group of young male fans nearby obviously can’t handle their mid-strength beer as they trade insults and bravado, much to the disappointment and distraction of those seated nearby. I wait for some humour or wit to break the tension, however, it is sadly not forthcoming. I hope they pull their respective heads in before they head out into the Punt Road bars later in the evening.


My wildly optimistic hopes of a Hawthorn shut-out are put to rest as they kick the last couple before the break. The sleeping giant has woken and the Hawks have a mortgage on the Sherrin. When I was eight my father told me not to kick across the goals, yet I see it happen five times in two minutes, as if to test my sanity. The crowd comes to life as the scores draw close and we cling to an 11 point lead at the final break. John bids me farewell to catch the early train home to Ringwood and I wish him safe travels.


The Hawks goal early and it’s back to a four point lead. Bloody Hell. Our run has ground to a halt and it is hard to see an escape. The glass half empty in me is coming out. This is a season defining moment where we need to hold firm.


Enter Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin. With the game in the balance, the Hawks cough the ball up and Buddy takes hold of the Sherrin on the wing. A quick look through the telescope identified no friends. No dramas for the big man who swings onto the left with the grace of a Ballerina and then drives his foot through the ball with the force of a Jackhammer. Time stands still as the ball makes the 75 metre journey through the big-sticks. I’ll remember that goal for a long-time.


The boys hold firm to run out gritty 14 point winners. Every player has put their hand up tonight in a fantastic victory for the club. Tom Mitchell blanketed one of the stars of the game and shown he has another string to his bow. Tippett is starting to look at home in the ruck and has a handy ally in Sinclair.


Across the park we are looking solid and tonight we have passed the toughest examination in the AFL. Our papers are in order and we have passed the audit that is the Hawks at the MCG.

FAlmanac banner sq

About craig dodson

Born in the sporting mecca that is Wagga Wagga and now reside in Melbourne with my lovelly wife Sophie and son's Jack and Harry. Passionate Swans supporter and formally played cricket at a decent level and Aussie Rules at a not so decent level! Spend my days now perfecting my slice on the golf course and the owner of the worlds worst second serve on the tennis course.


  1. Keiran Croker says

    I started the night with the walk through Treasury and Fitzroy Gardens after drinks with some old work colleagues. A great way to approach the G.

    Great to have G.Rohan back. Am looking forward to S.Reid’s return. I think then we may be a genuine contender.

    Kids good again. G.Hewett particularly impressive.

  2. craig dodson says

    All looking good kc..if we stay healthy we will be in the mix

  3. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    A decent and important win, Craig.
    G Hewett excellent.
    T won the battle of the Mitchells.
    Rampe the rock in the absence of Ted.
    Ballerina with the jackhammer is very nice!

  4. craig dodson says

    It was a win of substance Mathilde.
    Very easy to have fun describing l franklin.

  5. jan courtin says

    Nice one Craig. I particularly liked it when many Hawks’ supporters started leaving after Buddy kicked that monster! Good solid display by our boys, especially Tippo. Hanners, Ramps, Reg and the cygnet Georgie.
    Let’s hope Teddy will be back to combat the North forwards.
    Cheer Cheer

  6. Rick Kane says

    Hats off to a determined win by a determined side, with a slice of Buddy brilliance.

    The comp got what it wanted, the footy public too. Us Hawks fans, not as much …

    Cheers CD, excellent take on the game, love that you call the young fella when the team runs through the banner. That’s a lovely moment.


  7. craig dodson says

    Thanks jan..fingers crossed for teddy.
    Appreciate that rick..yep the phone call makes the little mans day

Leave a Comment