The Axis of Enlightenment

By Rick Kane

Somewhere between these three points lies the truth.

  1. Late last week, Crawf, writing for the little paper, (Victorian reference) argued that in the upcoming Easter Monday game between dreaded rivals, Hawthorn and Geelong, the Hawks would prevail. He finished his well balanced essay exclaiming that if the Hawks couldn’t beat the Cats in this game then they wouldn’t beat them again this year. Anyway, that’s what he’s talkin about.
  2. “The inclination of football fans always is to find meaning and implications in every result, but sometimes, a match should be left to stand as and for what it is. Every Geelong-Hawthorn match should. That is the mark of their rivalry.” Greg Baum, The Age, 10 April 2012
  3. Watching the Hawks capitulate in the last quarter you have to wonder what’s playing on the warm up MP3 before games against the (Black) Cats? I’m tipping a bit of Stevie J Wonder (Very superstitious, writing’s on the wall … Very superstitious, ladders bout’ to fall … When you believe in things that you don’t understand then you suffer) and Screamer Hawkins (I Put a Spell on You) and Voodoo Chile by Jimi (Bartel) Hendrix.

I’m at the game with a good friend and Hawks supporter, Damien and my 10 year old traitorous son, Jackson, a Cats fan. We joke that we’ll have to wait until the final siren before we can get stuck into him. Hawks fans have at least learnt that you don’t celebrate a win against the Cats until the final siren has stopped sounding. So the final siren sounds. And Jackson gives it to us … at the ground, on the train home, in the car from the station. As Damien drives off, Jackson is still on the road waving his scarf and singing the Cats song.

You want a little empathy? I got texts, tweets, emails and phone messages from near and far lambasting me for the Hawks failure. Not from desperate Hawkers, seeing another victory slip through our spectral fingers, oh no. These messages were from tipsters and Super coaches and mischievous relations. Hey Rick, yer bloody team’s loss meant I didn’t get 9/9. Oh dear, I am so sorry for your misfortune, I’ll see what I can do to rally the boys.

And now I’m dreaming. I never dream. I spend 7 hours each night bobbing on gentle velvet darkness and awake freshened.  Not this week. Last night I dreamed I served Hodge in an unnamed supermarket and we got talking. He asked me what I would do as coach. I said somewhere between these three points lies the truth.

  1. Don’t blink. You lost a second round game to the premiership side (a team that is generally regarded as one of the best ever) by 2 points. 2 frickin points that’s all so get over it.
  2. Hold your nerve. The Hawks were the dominant side for most of the first three quarters. In the last you went too defensive, almost servile. That’s not the mighty Hawks style. So don’t do it.
  3. Trust what you’ve got. There is a reason the competition is a little bit frightened of the Hawks. They know what you’ve got. Sure some players will get found out. Just like every other side, including the Catters. You reckon the Cats had 22 great players on the field playing great footy for 120 minutes. Well, they didn’t. You know and they know that they have been found wanting twice in two weeks. The Hawks have a great starting line-up, excellent players waiting in the wings and a couple of beauties to return from injury. Trust what you’ve got.

Hodgey thanked for me and disappeared. Interestingly, he didn’t pay for his groceries.

The Hawks Cats game was as compelling an argument for footy’s stature in the national dreaming as anything. Watching Rioli take that Vander Haar type outstretched juggling mark or Rioli’s flick handpass to Suckling 60 metres out, who then booted it cleanly through the big sticks or the wonderful control and ground coverage executed by Rioli on the outer wing is why I keep coming back time and again to this wondrous thing. Monday’s game had everything except for a fairy tale finish. That’s okay. That can keep. The Hawks lost a ripper but they will be back.


About Rick Kane

Up in the mornin', out on the job Work like the devil for my pay But that lucky old sun has nothin' to do But roll around Heaven all day


  1. Paul Campbell says

    Sage advice to Hodgey, Rick. I thought Roughead’s return was a bright spot. I think he could be very influential as ‘Swingman’. Go Hawks! PC

  2. Very true Rick.

    My greatest fear is that we win 9 in a row against the Hawks (which includes the next home & away game) only to have that run of wins bookended by two GF losses.

  3. Rick,

    we do have something in common. Something very close to the heart.

    We both have well adjusted and intelligent sons – they both barrack for the Cats.

    Jackson sounds like a fine lad.

  4. Grant Fraser says

    Could be worse Rick – your son could barrack for Essedonia
    (don’t ask…just don’t ask)

  5. Rick Kane says

    PC, I agree, Roughie’s influence (across the ground) will strengthen the Hawks.

    Pete, I wish the Cats greatest fears were realised as opposed to Hawks ghosts materialising again and again!

    Mr Phantom … you’ll keep. Oh, I long for the day when I’m wearing your chocolate dripping grin!

    GF, now all I want to do is ask.

    On a more sober note, I’m glad the Hawks went in to bat for Whitecross who was reported for striking Selwood. I’m glad, also, that the MRP saw through the effectiveness/efficiency grid that is their yardstick for filing Reports and acquitted Whitecross. Anyone who saw the incident would easily recognise that it was the dictionary definition of accident.

    However, there is a further note to the event. That is the question of how the AFL should respond to suspicions of concussion. This letter to the editor in Today’s Age (below) reveals a lack in current AFL policy on the matter. A lack, I believe, that should be corrected and with haste.

    AFL years behind

    I DISAGREE with Oliver Bohun (Letters, 11/4) regarding the two football codes. In the NFL Joel Selwood would not have been allowed to return to the field.

    In the NFL, the rules are, and have been for years, that any suspicion of concussion automatically rules out the player for the rest of the game and the next. The player must be given the all-clear by an independent neurologist before he can play again.

    The scandal of the New Orleans Saints resulted in the head coach being suspended for one year; Gregg Williams, who made the reported remarks, suspended indefinitely; and the general manager for the first eight regular games. The team was also fined $500,000 and docked second-round draft picks in 2012 and 2013. All suspensions are without pay.

    The AFL is years behind just about any other code regarding player protection.

    Kerry Maloney, Blackburn

  6. As I said somewhere else, Rick, don’t worry about it. You know you’ll beat ’em if you meet in the GF.

  7. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Rick, a superstitious Hawthorn fan? That’s a worry because you’re starting to sound like a Collingwood fan or a Geelong fan before 2007. Remember the good old days when we used to feel sorry for the Cats while reading Harmsy’s laments? So much can change in 4-5 short years. Keep the faith, mate.

  8. Rick – I have reported Luke Hodge to the Dream Police for suspected larceny of grocery items. I am hoping to get him rubbed out for round 4.
    Who said “you can choose your friends, but not your relatives”? Doubly painful in your case.
    Trying to defend a lead is one of my pet hates in football. Hard to know whether it is coach or players that start to close things down. Rarely works, and is always excrutiating to watch when you support the team in the lead. Condolences. Cue PK’s “we’ve done all the Dumb Things.” Or perhaps “Careless”. So many choices.

  9. Rick Kane says

    Phil, I’m not superstitious (or else I wouldn’t say so on Friday 13th would I? Oh, alright. I have my fingers crossed). As for sounding like XXXX fan – not on yer life! Faith is well and truly kept my good friend. Enjoy Greek Easter (is there any other?) by the way. I’ll be leaving one of my favourite lunches of the year on Sunday to get to the G.

    PB, thank you for your exemplary citizenry effort, no self interest there! Thanks for your condolences. As for PK songs, it felt like (if I can alter it sightly) Every Fucking Game feels the same

    Gigs, let’s just taking one game at a time.


  10. Paul Campbell says

    Rick – Enjoyed the EFGFTS reference – Groundhog clash. On another note, just caught Channel 7’s opening for the Carlton-Collingwood match – they played Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, with Dennis in Vincent Price’s role. Possibly a few days late with the theme – I need another game.

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