The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 20 – Hawthorn v Port Adelaide: A cracker in idyllic Launceston

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 Port Adelaide

1.10pm, Sunday, August 19

Aurora Stadium, Launceston



THE MOST OBVIOUS OBSERVATION ABOUT WATCHING FOOTBALL in Launceston is the time-warp factor. That’s not meant to be a crack at Australia’s island state, or its inhabitants, for being behind the times – although there were plenty such sledges on the plane flight on the way over. Most memorable: “So, do you Tasmanians still call TV big, magic talkie-talkie box?”.


It’s the small things that bring about a sense of nostalgia for those football fans who can recall VFL matches at Melbourne’s famous old suburban grounds. The size of York Park brings back memories of games at Princes Park, or Victoria Park, or Windy Hill.


Barely 23,000 fans squeeze in when York Park is full, and there’s no towering stands, or roof, to block out the elements. Locals say the wind will be tricky today.


The walk to York Park is through inner-city streets, rather than a vast car park or cavernous railway station, and Inveresk takes on a carnival atmosphere whenever the AFL circus is in town. Shops that would normally be shut on a sleepy Sunday afternoon have hordes of football fans waiting at the door, queuing for a pie, or a drink, or to get a bet on before the match.


It is similar to the walk along London’s Gillespie Road, back when Arsenal played at Highbury, and residents turned their front courtyards into souvenir stalls, or held a sausage sizzle, to make a quick quid off the passing crowd.


But that doesn’t make Launceston immune from some of the absurdities and commercial realities of modern-day football. York Park has been rebranded Aurora Stadium, named after an energy company. And, thanks to the AFL’s responsible serving of alcohol policy, only mid-strength beer is available. Or Bundy and cola. Or vodka and cola. Or Cougar and cola…


My first visit to York Park, to see Hawthorn play Richmond in front of a record crowd of 20,971, included a corporate lunch in the Gunns Stand, but I longed to stand and watch in the outer. This time two mates from the local paper showed me the prime viewing spot, from an elevated platform in one pocket.


Brown and gold outnumbered black and teal on the streets, as Launceston’s adopted Hawks hosted Port Adelaide who welcomed back skipper Warren Tredrea for his first game in a month. They dominated a tremendous opening stanza, but struggled to come to terms with the windy conditions. The Power worked particularly hard off the ball to close down Hawthorn’s fleet of fast mid- fielders – a tactic used with success against the Hawks this season. Kane Cornes was particularly tight on Hawthorn’s Sam Mitchell. Only some errant kicking from the Power – 6.4 to the Hawks’ four goals straight – prevented a blow-out.


“Not enough,” reckoned Frosty, looking at the breeze.


Frosty is in charge of both cemeteries and parking tickets for Launceston City Council. It’s a puzzling synergy of jobs, but it means no one will argue with him.


Frosty was proved right. Hawthorn’s runners started to lift their intensity and take control. Chance Bateman and Luke Hodge asserted themselves. But no one was as influential as the veteran Shane Crawford. The Hawks booted four goals and kept the Power goalless for the quarter, to take an eight-point lead into the main break. That dominance continued in the third term, as Hawthorn forwards Jarryd Roughead and Buddy Franklin capitalised on the Hawks’ possession. Roughead and Franklin kicked four of five unanswered goals from quarter-time, as the Hawks snatched a 14-point lead early in the third term.


All the signs pointed to a Hawthorn win, but football is a remarkable game. Hawthorn had led from the 20-minute mark of the second term, but Port was gifted two goals from debatable umpiring decisions – both 50-metre penalties – in the opening minutes of the final quarter. Clinton Young and Ben Dixon registered majors to give Hawthorn some breathing space again. Late in the quarter Jordan Lewis squandered a set shot which would have sealed the win, but his point put the Hawks seven points – two scoring shots – in front with 49 seconds to play. The Hawks would not touch the ball again. Daniel Motlop, who missed a shot which would have given Port victory against St Kilda at York Park in 2006, redeemed himself, kicking the crucial goal. With just seconds to play Port won the ball from the hit-out and Troy Chaplin thumped it long for Brett Ebert to mark, goal and claim victory.


Port won by five points, to move up to second place. Hawthorn fell to fourth and looked to be in danger of losing a top-four position for the finals.



Hawthorn  4.0 8.4 10.9 12.10 (82)

Port Adelaide  6.4 6.8 7.11 12.15 (87)



Port Adelaide: K. Cornes, Motlop 3, S. Burgoyne, Ebert, Lade, Pearce, Salopek, Westhoff.

Hawthorn: Dixon, Roughead 3, Franklin 2, Hodge, Lewis, McGlynn, Young.



Port Adelaide: K. Cornes, Pearce, Motlop, Chaplin, C. Cornes.

Hawthorn: Crawford, Young, Mitchell, Bateman.



Goldspink, Meredith, Stevic.



Cornes (PA) 3, Crawford (H) 2, Pearce (PA) 1.



Cornes (PA) 3, Young (H) 2, Pearce (PA) 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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