The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 5 – Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs: Promised little, delivered less

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 Western Bulldogs


1.10pm, Sunday, April 29 2007


Melbourne Cricket Ground





Try doing this at Anfield, Old Trafford or the Nou Camp. Turn up 45 minutes before the scheduled start of a match, park 40 metres from the gate, head for the best seats in the house (in this case the MCC Members’  balcony, on centre wing) and request, with dark clouds overhead, three prime undercover seats.


No worries, pick one,”said an attendant, waving a wad of 500 spare tickets. There must be a catch.


And there was. The fixture was Hawthorn versus the Western Bulldogs. A crowd of almost 32,000 at the MCG – just three-quarters of Fremantles membership – turned up for a match that promised little, and delivered less.


This 145th game between Hawthorn and the Bulldogs was to decide an all- time leader – the ledger stood at 71 wins apiece and two draws – between these two unfashionable clubs. In the context of the 2007 season, the Hawks needed a win to make it four in a row. A win for the Dogs would put their season back on track at 3-2.


The initial match-ups highlighted what a mockery the named teams have become. At the opening bounce Hawthorns Luke Hodge stood Daniel Giansiracusa, Grant Birchall took Jason Akermanis, Lance Franklin was stalked by Ryan Hargrave (the first of three opponents for the day), Sam Mitchell lined up with Brad Johnson and Brad Sewell, the in-form tagger in the competition, ran with Adam Cooney.


Not a single match-up that was in the AFL Record was to be found on the ground, barring the ruckmen.


With Hawthorn big men Robert Campbell and Simon Taylor dominating Will Minson, Sam Mitchell was able to give Hawthorn first use of the ball. The Hawks put on 2.3 (15) to zip, thanks to two goals in the first four minutes from Franklin.


Despite the early impetus from centre bounces, Hawthorn spurned chances. The early exchanges were enough for a couple of Bulldogs fans (why do twins feel compelled to wear matching clothes, and listen to the game on matching transistor radios?) to suggest the team had been up all night watching Adam Gilchrist plunder a century in the World Cup final.


But 10 minutes into the first quarter, theBulldogs sparked into life. Their second goal, from a clever Daniel Cross handball off the ground to Shaun Higgins, swung the momentum of the game. At quarter-time the Bulldogs led by seven points, 5.2 (32) to 3.7 (25). Notably, the Dogs had five goalkickers, while the Hawks had six players who had kicked a behind, including five from set shots.


Midway through the second term, Hawk Jordan Lewis had amassed 18 touches, even more than Scott West, who had seen the ball 16 times. Hawthorns Grant Birchall had 14 possessions, as had Rick Ladson, but the Hawk ball-getters could learn much from West, especially when it comes to effective use of the ball.


In the second quarter, Luke Darcy provided a forward target for the Bulldogs, as did Higgins, who went in at half-time with three goals from four kicks. Only Franklin kept the Hawks in touch. With Mark Williams injured, and the normally reliable Ben Dixon errant (he would finish with just three behinds), Franklin excited with his pace, invention, and an accurate left foot. If he develops his overhead marking ability, then the Hawks have uncovered a gem.


A Franklin goal reduced the margin to 12 points late in the second quarter, but a moment of stupidity from Brent Guerra on 26 minutes gifted Robert Murphy his third goal. Guerra has frustrated Hawks fans by turning over the ball in defence regularly this season, often from the kick-out.

Lindsay Gilbee kicked a goal on the run 28 minutes into the quarter, and at half-time the Bulldogs led 11.4 (70) to 7.11 (53). They had seven goal-scorers and the Hawks had nine point-scorers.


If you get to watch from the Members’ Reserve at the MCG, theres a great game to be played called Pick the Supporter. Denied the club colours that brighten up the outer, and bound by the dress rules that forced Hawthorn captain Richie Vandenberg to be evicted on Anzac Day, it provides endless fun. Next to my father sat a man in the type of pinstripe suit preferred by Arthur Daley. Gold watch, gold chain, silver elephant cufflinks, with hair the most unnatural shade of orange, matched perfectly by the colour of his wifes skin. Bulldogs fan,”my father guessed.


The man in front of us provided just as easy a get: beige pants, beige shirt, brown cardigan, Jeff Kennett haircut. I think hes a Hawthorn fan,” guessed Mum.


This game proved much more enjoyable than the third term, which was thoroughly forgettable. Hawthorn, again winning plenty of possession, bombed long to the forward line, where neither Jarryd Roughead nor Franklin proved capable of justifying the tactic.


Bulldogs defender Brian Harris certainly enjoyed the ploy. He ended the day with 15 marks, three of them contested, and dominated the third term. Roughead and Franklin finished the day with just nine marks between them.


Thanks to Harris, the Bulldogs rebounded efficiently out of defence. Nathan Eagleton put the Bulldogs 30 points in front, and then a clever goal from Farren Ray gave the Bulldogs a six-goal lead. Game over.


Western Bulldogs  5.2 11.4 16.7 16.14 (110)

Hawthorn  3.7 7.11 10.13 13.15 (93)



Western Bulldogs: Murphy, Higgins 3; Darcy, Ray 2; Johnson, Gilbee, Eagleton, Power, Cooney, Robbins.

Hawthorn: Franklin 6; Roughead 2; Bateman, Sewell, Hodge, Boyle, Brown.



Western Bulldogs: West, Harris, Gilbee.

Hawthorn: Franklin, Lewis, Sewell.



Chamberlain, Avon, Nicholls.



Franklin (H) 3, Lewis (H) 2, West (WB) 1.



West (WB) 3, Franklin (H) 2, Mitchell (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.



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