The Footy Almanac 2007 Round 9 – Hawthorn v West Coast: Hawks upset the Big Birds in Tassie

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 West Coast

2.10 pm, Saturday May 26

Aurora Stadium, Launceston




THE BATTLE OF THE BIG BIRDS is a Hawthorn home-away-from-home game played in the Glenferrie-esque surrounds of Aurora Stadium. I love the use of the word ‘stadium’ – it suggests a venue of almighty grandeur with foundations laid in biblical times, a cross between Wembley and the Coliseum. But in reality the park is just short of being life-size on my widescreen TV.


The one thing that does challenge the borders of the Phillips 83-centimetre CRT is a giant brown and gold guernsey, strung up high over the roof of the grandstand. The previous night I had watched Fremantle take on the Saints at Subiaco, and marvelled at the ten-storey high inflatable anchors set proudly opposite the main camera position. These oversized showbag-fillers have adorned the Dockers’ home ground for as long as I can remember, and like coal and William Shatner, have been transformed from dirt into diamonds by nothing more than the passing of time. But where the Dockers have constructed Captain Kirk the Hawks have built ‘Bones’ McCoy, the giant jumper serving no real purpose other than to help rob the ground of what little warming sunshine it can get.


In recognition of this being the AFL’s Indigenous round, Chance Bateman and David Wirrpanda do the coin-toss duties, a token within a token, and the game gets under way with notification from the still-not-that-impressive Aurora Stadium sirens, upgraded to the max of Tasmanian technology.


The first possession of the match goes, predictably, to Chris Judd, who gets away a predictable pin-point handpass under pressure, but only after a predictable 540 degree spin in a tackle with no chance of being called for holding the ball. Predictable!


But that’s where the script disappeared, blown away by the Antarctic breeze going Hawthorn’s way in the first quarter. The boys from Melbourne’s east were going at it like they meant business, running and tackling furiously, doing everything they could to expose the cavernous hole in the Eagles’ greatest weapon, their midfield: no Kerr, no Cousins, no Embley.


By the time the beefed-up blower went to signal quarter-time it was the “home” team by three goals, which was probably what the wind was worth, but there was no doubt that the Hawks had come to play.


A relatively uninspiring second quarter passed, with the Eagles slowly reining in the lead. Hawthorn stayed goalless, and both teams headed into the sheds at 36 points apiece. To this stage I had the feeling that the West Coasters were coasting, and would click into gear any moment.


It wasn’t to be. By halfway through the third quarter both sides had added one goal, and it seemed that this was going down to the wire, when suddenly the game was taken and shaken, and it was the Hawks who were baking – thanks mainly to the efforts of Luke Hodge, who kicked three inspirational goals for the term.


This ten minutes of football was youth at its best; unchained, light-headed, free-flowing – the way we all seem to think the game was played 25 years ago. Everything Hawthorn tried, worked. Blindsided kicks went straight to teammates’ chests. Snaps at goal used or defied the breeze to suit their cause. Players ran faster, jumped higher and just looked a whole lot prettier than they had ever done before. Even Joel Smith got into the goalkicking action, his Alice band morphing into a diamond tiara, sparkling in the late autumn light of Launceston.


Then, just to remind the fans that they had bills to pay and jobs to go to on Monday, the Hawks iced the last minute and a half, chipping the ball around the backline and making damn sure that they got no further benefit from the wind at their backs and the momentum at their heels. Tempo Schmempo!


Down by 34 points at the final change it wasn’t inconceivable that the premiers could come back, but any real hope was soon snuffed out by a flood that made the Eagles’ forward line the most densely populated part of the Apple Isle. While the majority of the last half-hour passed like the tacked-on bit at the end of a Spielberg movie, there were some great goals kicked. Young Mark LeCras snapped a couple of beauties for the Eagles, while Tim Boyle capped off a good game with his third, a long set shot from the boundary, into the wind.


The contest was decided well before the souped-up sousaphone had blown its final note. The only thing left was for the president of the triumphant Hawthorn Football Club, and probably the future premier of Tasmania, Jeffa Kennett, to turn his jacket inside out and declare it officially game over.



Hawthorn  5.3 5.6 12.7 15.9 (99)

West Coast   2.2  5.6  6.9  8.16 (64)



Hawthorn: Hodge, Boyle 3, Lewis 2, Franklin, Osborne, Smith, Jacobs, Mitchell, Crawford, Ladson.

West Coast: LeCras 3, Seaby 2, Lynch, R. Jones, Hurn.



Hawthorn: Hodge, Boyle, Sewell, Lewis, Birchall.

West Coast: Judd, R. Jones, Braun, LeCras.



Croad (Hawthorn) 150 games at current club.



Ellis, Jeffery, Rosebury.



Hodge (H) 3, Judd (WC) 2, Sewell (H) 1.



Hodge (H) 3, Lewis (H) 2, McGlynn (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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