The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 11 – Hawthorn v Sydney: A rugged away win

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!



Hawthorn versus Sydney

2.10pm, Saturday, June 9

Melbourne Cricket Ground



UNLESS YOU’VE CONSULTED THE STATS and tuned into the analysts, it’s hard to walk away from a game such as this one confident of who should get the votes. In fact, we had a straw poll among some Swans veterans waiting for the train at Jolimont. Even they struggled. Ryan O’Keefe? Not bad. Nick Davis? Converted. Leo Barry? Highly original, as usual. Barry Hall Disappointing. Michael O’Loughlin? Mostly absent.


These, though, are individuals. It was Sydney as a fully functional team that triumphed by nine points. If you want entertainment, go to the circus. If you want contests, Sydney is your team. They must’ve had stand-out players, most likely in and under players and blokes who played their part, particularly at the stoppages. We just found them hard to pick.


For many of the 48,000 at the MCG on a perfect winter’s day, it was easier to review the Hawks. They were the team on the up, with some unknown players and with a style that drew the eye. My son Thomas (aged 10) and I watched from behind the interchange benches on the Members’ wing where you can feel the pace, the collisions and the crowd. Kids run down to the fence, see the exhaustion, frustration and tension, and still dash outside for a kick during the intervals.


The Swans, we learnt last year, are best viewed from above. They play strategically, each a part of the overall plan.


That plan, it must be said, looked wobbly early in this game as Hawthorn exploded. My boundary rider was on duty after a minute, overseeing a devastated Sydney bench as Tadhg Kennelly – my nominated Swan to watch – hobbled off with another knee injury. Simultaneously, Buddy Franklin trapped the ball in the forward pocket, swung around and snapped effortlessly for the first of three opening-quarter goals. The Swans looked rattled. Uncharacteristically, they tried to defy percentages and make something happen.


Hawthorn’s pressure was intense. Luke Hodge imposed himself on the contests while Ben McGlynn (or No.22, as he began the match to some of us) tenaciously racked up possessions. When Shane Crawford upended his former teammate Peter Everitt, Hawthorn’s dominance of an enthralling first quarter seemed complete.


Paul Roos wouldn’t have needed to say much during the break. “Back to Plan A” would pretty much have covered it. Sydney slowed down the game, pushed players back, waited and frustrated the Hawks, pacing the game on their own terms. Two goals each to Leo Barry – who was assisted by three 50-metre penalties – and Nick Davis had the Swans back in front at the 22-minute mark of the second term.


But it was a Hawthorn effort in this term – a Chance Bateman baulk, weave and goal – I could recall more clearly when the game was done and dusted. The Hawks’ two-point half-time lead, reviewed in the Blazer Bar, was considered a temporary state. Sydney had set their stool.


The third term was scrappy. Only two moments were noteworthy. Another Buddy goal immediately preceded his benching – a ridiculously common occurrence – to a rapturous reception from the crowd. And, off half a step, Adam Goodes found the vision and skill to hit Michael O’Loughlin, who converted after the siren to give Sydney a nine-point buffer.


Hawthorn looked spent, physically and mentally, and seemed to lack the belief that a win was still possible. There were some exceptions. Robert Campbell, comprehensively thrashed by Peter Everitt in the ruck, showed skill and an unflagging spirit. Stephen Gilham, of whom I had never heard, seemed an excellent prospect. Trent Croad persisted. Bateman ran relentlessly. Jarryd Roughead will get there. And a late flurry, including Buddy’s sixth goal (of only nine Hawthorn goals for the day), raised hopes of an incredible victory.


But Sydney don’t go much for fantasies. They were the rightful winners. Too experienced. Too composed. Hawthorn showed enough for fans to stay excited.


“Discipline, Tony, Discipline!” was for years the catch-cry of Peter from Peterborough of Coodabeen Champions fame. He was referring to what separated Geelong – and, by extension, all aspirants – from achievers. Sydney, my tip for the flag, have the necessary discipline and are well in the hunt for another premiership. Hawthorn are in the running for the finals and a rosy future.



Hawthorn  4.3 5.5 7.9 9.12 (66)

Sydney  1.3 5.3 9.6 11.9 (75)



Sydney: Davis 3, Barry 2, Dempster, Schmidt, Schneider, Richards, O’Loughlin, Buchanan.
Hawthorn: Franklin 6, Ladson, Bateman, Campbell.



Sydney: Kirk, McVeigh, Barry, Everitt, Davis, O’Keefe.

Hawthorn: Franklin, Bateman, Croad, Gilham, Hodge.



Lewis (Hawthorn) 50 games.



McBurney, James, Rosebury.



Kirk (S) 3, Franklin (H) 2, McVeigh (S) 1.



Kirk* (S) 3, Fosdike (S) 2, Sewell (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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