The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 10 – Port Adelaide v Hawthorn: Hawks disrupt Port’s emotional week

The first printed edition of The Footy Almanac came out in 2007, before we had a website. In the absence of a real 2020 season, we will be publishing the 2007 pieces for the first time ever on Follow the season!



Port Adelaide versus Hawthorn

12.40pm, Sunday, June 3

AAMI Stadium, Adelaide



THIS WAS MARK WILLIAMS’ 200th game as a coach but that celebration slipped into the background when his mother died during the week. Von Williams, wife of the legendary Fos Williams, was the closest thing South Australia had to a First Lady of state football. Von had fine judgment when it came to football. She influenced her husband and her two coaching sons. She was no football widow.


After tumbling down the ladder following successive losses to Sydney and Geelong, Port had every reason to be motivated for this match. The players talked it up all week and Von’s death put more words into their tank.


Port certainly started well, attacking the ball with such ferocity in the first five minutes, they posted two goals. Steven Salopek and Sam Mitchell had a wonderful battle in the centre until late in the quarter when, after a mid-air collision with Joel Smith, Salopek hit the ground with a thump. A registered nurse next to me said that she saw Salopek’s hands shake, which, she assured me, was a sure sign of concussion. He broke his nose and had blurred vision and came back in the last quarter, wrapped up like Pooh Bear. The fans applauded but I never like seeing that. When Adelaide’s Mark Bickley came back on the ground after being concussed in a Showdown some years ago, and was reported for breaking Darryl Wakelin’s jaw in an act out of character, I thought the coaching staff should have been suspended, not the player.


Port finished that first quarter in what looked like a commanding position but there were some early worrying signs. Apart from the reinvented David Rodan, the much-improved Damon White, the tiring Brendon Lade, the dour Kane Cornes, this team lacks methodical workhorses. They have an inner circle of flashy players who like to do flashy things. When those players – the Burgoyne boys, Danyle Pearce, Chad Cornes, Jacob Surjan – are on song, their team football is sparkling clean. When the opposition closes down the stars, the team football is lazy and uncaring. Some of those early goals were lucky things. In contrast, Hawthorn’s early goals, through Tim Boyle and Ben McGlynn, were more logical outcomes from better-constructed team movements.


In the second quarter, Williams moved his best tagger, Kane Cornes, onto Mitchell to no avail. Mitchell dominated that quarter and the rest of the game, working off his tag and dominating the centre with 12 contested possessions, 22 effective handballs, five inside fifties and four clearances. He was the lynchpin in a better-organised unit playing better-constructed team football.


Shane Crawford drives everybody nuts on The Footy Show and at the racetrack, but he is still a joy to watch on the ground. I often forget about watching the ball when he comes to town, and, instead, simply track him. A few seasons ago, when Hawthorn were complete crap, Shane played as if he was the only person in his team he trusted. He’d gather the ball and kick it and then run forward to receive the handball from the person he had kicked it to, and continue running on to become a part of the forward options. He played football in real life as many of us play it in our sad old-man dreams, as if we are the only player on the ground. Shane still has the football smarts and still has that explosive breakaway speed. On four occasions in this match, he ran on, received the second give, sprinted through the midfield and delivered a beautifully weighted ball to the designated leading full forward, one Buddy Franklin. These passages were as sweet as it gets.


Last week, Port spent an hour at training practising tempo footy. That was a strange thing for them to do. On this Sunday, having practised it, they chose the 19-minute mark of the second quarter to try it out. With a three-goal wind, Hawthorn had clawed their way back into the game and the Port coach, or the players, thought they needed to change the momentum.


It backfired. Port changed their own momentum, rather than Hawthorn’s. They buried their self-belief and became just another AFL team trying not to be beaten.


Hawthorn licked its lips at that very moment. They half manned up, leaving just enough space for Port to think it could kick the ball around. Lazily. And then they swooped on the sixth or seventh loose pass, regained possession and went on their merry way.


Hawthorn kicked seven goals to two in the second half with positive, skills- based, attacking football.


With six or seven minutes to go in the last quarter, Port still had a silly chance to rescue this game. But, no. They again kicked backwards from their own fifty-metre line, instead of bombing the ball to the contest at the top of the square and hoping for something to happen.


There are plenty of reasons for Mark Williams’s shocking day at the office. But there are no excuses for some of those flashy Port players to cease caring about the game when they are tagged or when the ball stops falling into their lap. If the star players continue to give up so easily and pull up three steps before the contest, they will lose more games than they win for the rest of the year.


Hawthorn, on the other hand, have rediscovered orthodox football as the means for overcoming the flood. Break the pack and deliver the ball to a leading forward.


It’s simple and even dumb, but I love watching a leading forward take a strong mark and kick a long goal. Buddy had six chances and managed only three. Boyle did better with five and McGlynn picked up three beauties.


And a postscript: Port’s first-gamer Justin Westhoff kicked two goals with his first two kicks in AFL and also managed to get himself reported. That charge was later dismissed. He will remember this game. He’s tall and skinny. I hope he doesn’t get crunched. I hope his football memories become a long drink, not a skinny latte.




Port Adelaide   5.5 8.6 9.12 10.15 (75)

Hawthorn   2.2 10.3 13.5 17.7 (109)



Hawthorn: Boyle 5, Franklin, McGlynn 3, Hodge 2, Guerra, Lewis, Osborne, Sewell.
Port Adelaide: Westhoff 3, White 2, S. Burgoyne, C. Cornes, Ebert, Lade, Salopek.



Hawthorn: Mitchell, Boyle, Hodge, Crawford, McGlynn, Birchall, Taylor, Hodge, Sewell, Guerra, Lewis, Franklin, Brown.
Port Adelaide: Rodan, Surjan, C. Cornes, S. Burgoyne.



Sewell (Hawthorn) 50 games, Williams (Port Adelaide) 200 games as coach.



Gray, Westhoff (Port Adelaide).



Vozzo, Wenn, K. Nicholls.



Mitchell (H) 3, Boyle (H) 2, Crawford (H) 1.



Mitchell (H) 3, Sewell (H) 2, Lewis (H) 1.






For more Round by Round reports of the 2007 season click HERE


Printed copies of The Footy Almanac 2007 can be purchased here.


2007 Footy Almanac

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