The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 18 – Hawthorn v Essendon: Rubbing shoulders with the brown and gold elite

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 Essendon

2.10pm, Sunday, August 5

Melbourne Cricket Ground



FOOTBALL FANS HAVE MANY SUPERSTITIONS, from lucky socks and undies to favourite seats and special pre-game routines. I have no such fancies, but I do regard having the name of the day’s rival football club chairman stuck to my chair a bad omen.


Especially when I’m a guest at the Hawthorn president’s lunch, the feast has been flown in from Tasmania that morning, and Essendon chairman Ray Horsburgh has a not-so-lean and hungry look. Thankfully, I wasn’t being bumped for the Bombers’ boss. A waiter had mistakenly stuck Horsburgh’s MCG seating tickets to the wrong chair. That blunder at least gave me the chance to chat with a man who had been making football headlines all month for his board’s decision to bump someone else from his chair – coach Kevin Sheedy. In the sanctuary of the Olympic Room, away from the hounding of football writers, Ray was in a particularly effusive mood, especially when Hawks president Jeff Kennett asked him how he felt about the week’s events.


“I feel like the bloke who shot Bambi, that’s how I feel,” Horsburgh snapped, before having another crack at the lamb steaks.


There’s a line in that saccharine Tom Cruise sports film Jerry McGuire that suggests flying first-class used to mean a better meal, but now it means a better life.


You’d think watching a football match from the president’s lunch, rubbing shoulders with football legends Allan ‘Yabby’ Jeans and John Kennedy snr and assorted millionaires, would mean much the same.


It’s not. Substitute the pre-match pie for seared Tasmanian scallops, the chips to braised lamb and the jam donut for something with the word confit in its name, and then everyone gets to watch the same match.


From the Olympic Room to the top tier of the Southern Stand, all eyes turned to the one man. In the previous match between these two sides, Hawthorn’s Lance Franklin announced to the league that he was something special, with a nine -goal haul. Franklin was the great hope for the Hawks, who came into this match having lost three of their previous four games.


For Essendon, Buddy was the perceived nemesis. The Bombers needed three wins from their final four games to give Sheedy any chance of a September farewell, but had lost their previous four encounters with the Hawks.


With so much importance riding on one match, more than 55,000 turned up at the MCG. From the outset, Bombers fans had little to cheer. Hawthorn’s midfield dominated the early exchanges. Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis and Luke Hodge exploited the good work of Robert Campbell in the ruck.


Under pressure, Essendon slipped over, missed targets and chose poor options. But no goals were kicked until the 21-minute mark of the quarter, when Franklin scored. That opened the floodgates, as the Hawks kicked four first- quarter goals to the Bombers’ six behinds.


Indeed, 10 minutes had passed in the second term, with the Hawks 30 points in front, before the Bombers kicked a major. That came via the unlikely avenue of defender Dustin Fletcher, who was awarded a 50-metre penalty. A couple of late goals from key forwards Scott Lucas and Matthew Lloyd – Lucas managed a left-foot snap from the boundary line – kept Essendon in touch at half-time, just 23 points down, but the scoreboard flattered to deceive.


Trent Croad and Campbell Brown formed the solid heart of Hawthorn’s defence, holding Lucas and Lloyd to just three goals for the day.


In the last term, the Hawks finally broke through and capitalised on their midfield dominance – they would end the day with 66 inside fifties to Essendon’s 41, and 18 marks inside their own fifty to Essendon’s five. Ultimately, three goals in the opening three minutes killed off any chance of an Essendon revival. The third of those was a beauty. Campbell palmed the ball to Sam Mitchell, who weaved his way through the midfield and hit the leading Jarryd Roughead with?a pass. Roughead’s goal from outside the fifty made the margin seven goals.


Back in the Olympic Room, it was time for the Hawthorn faithful to celebrate. As Jeff Kennett cracked open a mini-bottle of Tasmanian whisky (a gift from a sponsor), the winning feast was served.


Pies and sausage rolls.



Essendon  0.6 3.8 7.12 7.14 (56)

Hawthorn  4.4 7.9 11.11 17.17 (119)



Hawthorn: Franklin 4, Roughead 3, Crawford, Dixon, Ladson 2, Bateman, Boyle, Gilham, Vandenberg.

Essendon: Lloyd 2, Fletcher, Lucas, Monfries, Peverill, Slattery.



Hawthorn: Mitchell, Birchall, Lewis, Brown, Croad, Franklin.

Essendon: Fletcher.



Franklin (Hawthorn) 50 games.



Chamberlain, Ellis, K. Nicholls.



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



Mitchell (H) 3, Birchall (H) 2, Bateman (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

Leave a Comment