The Footy Almanac 2007 Week 1 Finals – Hawthorn v Adelaide: A game worthy of a full house

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 Adelaide

2.30pm, Saturday, September 8

Telstra Dome, Melbourne




THIS WAS AN ELECTRIC FOOTBALL MATCH won at the death by the full forward from Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland.


At the top of the Southern Cross Station escalators, Karina Dooley flashed me her grey-blue Gaelic eyes; her shoulders, though, were draped in the altogether less appealing hues of dysentery. Growing up in Yarrawonga at a time when Dermie, Dipper and Dunstall had dominated the competition, La Dooley had long been a Hawk. And quite a well-connected one, too. In the Club Bar after the match, Karina introduced me to Michael Cahill, whose aquiline features suit him admirably for his match-day role as Hawker, the club mascot. As a youngish fan, Michael is thrilled by Septopia (this year’s AFL brainwave); in his professional capacity, he much prefers wearing the Hawker suit on June and July nights.


In the early years of the new millennium, Karina had briefly married into my Lions coterie. In that time, she had accompanied me to the MCG’s reconstructed Ponsford Stand for two glorious thrashings of Collingwood: Hat-Trick Day in 2003 (Karina’s only live Grand Final, of which her recall was impaired by a slab or two); and then the sleeting night in July 2004.


Telstra Dome, roof open, 20° of sunny spring glory. We took our seats in the upper deck, in the front row of a restricted-view section, hard-up against one of the Thunderbirds concrete bunkers that hover above the Dome’s food courts. On a day when only 36,000 turned up to watch a final that deserved a full house, we had this area pretty much to ourselves. So isolated were we, and so conspicuous was my clipboard, that a pretty young security thing approached to ask me what I was doing. When I explained that I was taking notes for a book, she blushed her retreat.


The absent plaid-blanket-and-thermos brigade may not have found this game to its tastes. It pulsed, it heaved, it sang, it danced – and, despite the lack of numbers, the joint rocked. And please note this, flood moaners: the Counting Crows were as much a part of the fun as the Buddy Boys.


In the first 40 minutes, three scoring surges took Adelaide’s goal tally to double figures. Before the Hawks had scored, the Crows had three goals: marks to dark-horse forwards McGregor and Gill, and a screwed left-foot bouncer from the chunky Porplyzia (in Ukrainian, for pleasure … perhaps). Hawthorn responded to this challenge, mainly through Roughead. But with Hudson commanding the centre circle and Edwards and Thompson directing traffic, Adelaide banged home four long shots in the last five minutes of the first term to rattle their opponents.


Only Crawford and Mitchell were responding effectively. After Hodge limped to the bench early in the second, McGregor and Welsh added three goals in five minutes to blow the Crows’ lead beyond five goals.


Thrashed in Sydney the previous week, the Hawks now faced a crisis. They faced it courageously. Bateman refused to yield to his screaming hamstring, and Hodge returned with his left knee strapped. Amazingly, he then took charge of proceedings with Crawford and Mitchell, and they rolled out the carpet for the big star.


In five minutes, Franklin thrice led his opponent Kris Massie to the fifty arc. Each time he goaled to restore the competitive balance. It must be said that the last of these goals owed much to, not one but two, Fabio Grosso impersonations. Still, it was astounding that Craig persevered with Massie in the face of this blitz. According to the official AFL handbook, Massie concedes seven centimetres and eleven kilograms to Buddy – and that’s just the tangibles. Not 30 metres distant, on Roughead, stood Ben Rutten, the only AFL defender to tame Jonathan Brown since June. Why not shift him? Or Scott Stevens? Even the Birdman, who was misfiring on the forward line?


Burton’s performance told a tale. Having bolted away through the efforts of the honest toilers, the Crows only needed their stars to shine to swamp Hawthorn. But few did. Of the premiership heroes from a decade back, Edwards led the way all day. His ex-friend McLeod, though, was clamped at half-back by Vandenberg, one of two skippers facing their football mortality, and the vintage Roller made some damning errors under pressure. In the middle, Goodwin was busy but not destructive. Up forward, in the day’s saddest story, the lame Waikerie Roo blinked helplessly into the final headlights of his own career, and was forced to retreat to the roadside, his fate totally dependent on the remainder of his mob. Of the younger stars besides Burton, Johncock was corralled by the recalled Osborne in a mirror image of McLeod’s frustration. Like Rutten, all might have been redeployed.


After half-time, Campbell and Taylor combined to wear down Hudson, and it seemed that Hawthorn would finish over the top of the Crows. But the only rewards for 25 minutes of dominance came from a timely float forward by Brown and a hanger by brave Bateman. A string of infractions by Franklin and innumerable quicksilver handpass chains by desperate Crows defenders kept them marginally ahead. With sand in their engine, Adelaide needed a Malcolm Blight spark of imagination – Johncock and McLeod going forward to swap with Burton and the fading McGregor, perhaps. But Neil Craig held fast to his trusty processes.


Perhaps Craig was right. Welsh ended the Crows’ 40-minute famine by fending off Brown. Then, when the best Ukrainian footballer since Jezza wobbled a mongrel torp through from the fifty, it seemed that God was voting for the City of Churches. But then a Thompson poster on the siren kept a potential three-goal lead to two, and allowed the Hawks to believe that if Jesus came to Hawthorn there’d be no trouble moving anyone to centre half forward.


And verily, after the teams turned for home, he did come, via Colac. In short order, Hodge eradicated most of the Crows’ lead, first by squaring to Crawford in space 30 metres from goal, then by twisting into and out of a boundary-line pack and launching an overhead handpass that found Clinton Young for a housedowner banana goal.


For the Hawks, the hour had cometh, but where was the man? Opportunities were fluffed by Roughead (twice, narrowly), Lewis (twice, dreadfully), Boyle and Bateman. But not, of course, by Franklin. Twice more he led Massie to the ball and launched long bombs for goals. But for all of the Hawks’ pressing, it was only his sixth goal at the 14-minute mark that got them ahead for the first time. Still Craig kept faith with Massie. At the other end, the Crows now drew maximum nourishment from minimal scraps. Twice more, Welsh outran or out-muscled Brown. His fourth goal at the 20-minute mark squared everything at 14.12 (96).


At the climax of Brian Lara’s epic defeat of Australia at Bridgetown in 1999, radio commentator Fazeer Mohammed berated a nearby spectator who possessed more sense of decorum than occasion: “No sir, I will not sit down!” screamed Fazeer. “This is a standing-up kind of moment.” For the last 10 minutes, Karina and I stood, unsilently, in our empty eyrie.


Every contest now could decide the game. Hodge and Crawford gave Hawthorn more chances, but it was Adelaide who maximised one of theirs. On 26 minutes, Bock ran long from the half-back flank on the city side and handpassed to Burton, then on to the running Torney for a glorious 55-metre goal. Campbell Brown’s despairing slide into the goalpost missed the ball but delivered a fearful bang to his kneecap. Crows by three.


In the reddest minutes of all, the Crows squared the ball repeatedly inside their own defensive arc – a fraught tactic with a single-kick lead. A botched clearance by McLeod went unpunished, but at the 29-minute mark, it fell, with inevitable cruelty, to one of Adelaide’s best to make the fatal error. Under pressure from Franklin, and from an impatient umpire quick on the play-on trigger, Thompson kicked out on the full beyond the fifty. Appropriately, Crawford took charge of the reply. On the last day of his 33rd year, his 33rd possession went backwards to Ladson, who then chipped forward to… guess who.


“Heee-ere’s BUDDY!”


On fifty, well to the left, the Voodoo Chile had one last chance to stand up next to a mountain. He chopped it down with the edge of his hand (all right … his boot). Tipped off that the timekeeper’s second-hand was on its final upward sweep, Hawthorn’s midfielders at the subsequent centre bounce fell en masse, first upon the ball to imprison it, and then when the siren presently sang, each other.


As did most of the crowd. Because we were there.



Hawthorn   4.3  8.7  10.10   15.15 (105)

Adelaide  7.4  10.7  12.12   15.12  (102)



Hawthorn: Franklin 7, Roughead 3, Bateman, Crawford, Brown, Lewis, Young.

Adelaide: McGregor, Welsh 4, Porplyzia 2, Edwards, Gill, Knights, Van Berlo, Torney.



Hawthorn: Crawford, Hodge, Franklin, Mitchell, Vandenberg, Roughead, Osborne, Brown.

Adelaide: Edwards, Thompson, Porplyzia, Hudson, Torney, Knights, Welsh, McGregor.



Welsh (Adelaide) 300 goals.



Kennedy, Allen, Chamberlain.



Franklin (H) 3, Edwards (A) 2, Hodge (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


  1. I watched this in the Glenelg Surf Club and remain haunted by it. It was probably emblematic of Craig’s inflexibility when faced with adversity. But Buddy was astonishing when needed.

    Of minor consequence is Adelaide beating Hawthorn last night to go from what might’ve been a winless season and all the attendant ignominy of this and decades of shame to now just being the likely wooden-spooner, and the relative comfort of this, as despite what folks say, no-one remembers these.

    A great, literary engaging report. Thanks.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I had netball duties that afternoon, so wasn’t there in person, and was going to Tokyo for work the next day (my first time overseas in a decade). I listened to the sad final minutes from the bleakness of the Coles Bentleigh car park before going in to grab a toothbrush, some toothpaste and a flannel for my face. I think I’ve only seen that ending once. I’m not tempted to see it again. This piece has told me more than I ever wanted to know about that game.

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