The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 3 – North Melbourne v Hawthorn: A game of two halves

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!



Kangaroos versus Hawthorn
5.10pm, Sunday, April 15
Telstra Dome, Melbourne


RAY WILSON THREATENED TO LEAVE AT HALF-TIME. We bumped into the 1971 Hawthorn premiership hero before the match. He was adamant: if Hawthorn and the Kangaroos played the pedestrian football that had earned such derision in the first two rounds, he would not stick it out.


We were concerned for him. In the opening minutes players made poor decisions and missed targets while passing the ball in every direction except goalwards. Frustrated fans begged for long kicks through the corridor, but both teams persisted in what would be best described as oval-work. The ball covered every blade of grass except for the turf in the centre square.


It was a classic example of David Parkin’s take on modern football:

We used to go round in circles at training and play up the middle. Now they train up the middle and play around in circles.


The second quarter was a little better. There were, however, a handful of moments that took the game marginally above suburban level. Adam Simpson produced a few of them with precise disposal by hand and foot. Hawthorn’s un-magic Michael Osborne kicked a magic goal. The Roos’ second-year player Andrew Swallow roved and kicked a Krakoueresque goal. Mercifully, the siren ended the first half. The Kangaroos led by 10 points.


Supporters of both clubs stood and booed in shared frustration. Conditions were perfect. Yet only eight goals had been kicked. We imagined Ray Wilson turning the key in his ignition.


This year Dome boss Ian Collins has decreed thou shalt receive no pass-outs during the game, to prevent patrons buying food from outside vendors. Smokers provide a conundrum. Unable to light up inside, yet unable to leave the venue, they’ve been provided with a cage on the concourse outside, their own little smoking Switzerland. At this stage of the match, the vendor dispute seemed more adversarial than the match.



During the break, we asked our Row-D neighbour, North Melbourne premiership captain David Dench, what he thought of the game. “Bloody shithouse,” he said.


But in the third quarter the fixture came to life. Every player has the skills to play uncontested, possession football, but only a few can break games open. On this evening, it was Sam Mitchell and Luke Hodge.


Hawthorn midfielders, benefiting from the pair’s initiative, lined up to receive the footy. Buddy Franklin and Mark Williams found space and, before long, the Hawthorn cheer squad saw five go over their heads. The Kangaroos tried to stay with their opponents, but their gallant engine room of Harris, Simpson and Swallow repeatedly watched from the bottom of packs as the silken Hawthorn midfield glided through the centre square. By the end of the quarter, Hodge and Mitchell had amassed a tally of 22 possessions for the stanza. Hawthorn was 12 points up going into the last quarter—and they were playing damn good football.


Early in the final quarter, Hawthorn skipped away to lead by 23 points. The rock star Franklin marked in front of the roadie Shannon Watt. He kicked the goal and saluted. At that point, the trim David Dench seemed the Roos’ best option for the rampaging Franklin.


The Kangaroos, however, had one more effort in them. With two goals from David Hale and a super snap from young Matt Campbell, they were still a chance.


That chance was thwarted when Campbell Brown, who had been outstanding, took a courageous mark running backwards into a pack. Mitchell, fittingly, then kicked the goal to seal the victory. He was swamped by teammates appreciative of his B.O.G. performance.


After the siren, Shannon Grant left the field for the 200th time in blue?and white stripes, quietly, with head bowed. The Norm Smith Medallist reluctantly led the Kangaroos down the race while Hawthorn’s version of Yankee Doodle Dandy filled the stadium. At the other end, Hawthorn celebrated their second-half transformation and 21-point victory in front of their singing fans. We hoped Ray Wilson was one of them.



Kangaroos 2.4 5.4 7.6 10.10 (70)
Hawthorn 1.3 3.6 8.12 13.13 (91)


: Harvey, Hale 2; Wells, Swallow, Petrie, Jones, Edwards, Campbell.
Hawthorn: Williams 4; Franklin 3; Osborne 2; Roughead, Dixon, McGlynn, Mitchell.


: Harris, Wells, Harvey, Swallow.
Hawthorn: Mitchell, Brown, Osborne, Hodge, Lewis.


Grant (Kangaroos) 200 games at current club.


Farmer, Margetts, Jeffery.


(H) 3, Brown (H) 2, Harris (K) 1.


(H) 3, Lewis (H) 2, Harris (K) 1.



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


If you want a printed copy of the 2007 edition of the Footy Almanac, they can be purchased here.



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