The Joy of Betting Against Your Own Team

I’ve supported the Hawks for 17 years, rain, hail and shine, through the dark days and the bright. Today however is different, today I don’t know who to support. With our insipid rucking display against the Swans, injuries, suspensions and of course North’s recent success against us I added North Melbourne to a four leg multi with long odds earlier in the week. Of course come game day the multi rests on one result – A North Melbourne victory. So the question is, do I support the team or do I, gulp, cheer for the boys from Arden St and take the money and run?

The game starts with a spark: Adam Simpson, gets clear inside 50 early before kicking it out on the full. I’m left with a weird feeling, a part of me is annoyed and another part is happy that he blew it. North have a lot of the ball early but they’re wasteful and the Hawks run out the quarter best taking a small lead at quarter time. Ellis limps off with a suspected broken foot and I am left wondering when a week will come when our injury list doesn’t get longer.

The second quarter is an absolute ripper, with so many injuries the depth of the Hawthorn squad is really being tested and it’s pleasing to see the youngsters stepping up. Whitecross in particular really seems to be getting a lot of it. The gap between the two teams in this quarter becomes a gulf much to my annoyance, North Melbourne are like an impetuous child giving away silly free kicks and goals as well. Worst of all they lack structure, constantly falling down across 50 with Campbell and Thomas continually butchering chances. Hawthorn however takes advantage of this, getting the clear run through the midfield which they so sorely lacked last week. Strong performances up forward from Roughead and Franklin see the Hawks take a five goal lead at half time.

I sit down with a cup of coffee at the break and three incidents stick in my mind, that should dispel the thought that there’s no toughness in the game. Hale has been absolutely crunched by Roughead and Hansen, suffering a deep concussion. Simpson has lined up Hodge who somehow manages to catch his breath to prevent a late North goal and Campbell Brown has a moment of madness landing a glancing blow to the side of Wells head that will likely come under scrutiny at the judiciary. Brown is lucky that he didn’t cleanly connect as he could have been looking at a substantial amount of time on the sideline, particularly given his history, where he’s gone to the tribunal before as a witness and come out in trouble.

The key to the game lies in the stoppages. Two boundary throw-ins for the quarter sums up why the Roos are failing where Sydney succeeded; there are no stoppages and no chance to take advantage of the Hawks ruck weakness. An open free-flowing game suits the Hawks down to the ground and unless North changes things in the second half, the Hawks will run away with it.

North’s run looks better at the start of the third with Petrie kicking an early goal, McMahon follows up with another and I feel a strange and unwelcome sensation of hope. This is quickly snuffed out as the Hawks regain control of the midfield and kick three quick goals. Whitecross, Mitchell and Guerra star for the Hawks before a goal to Harding breaks ten tight minutes of football, keeping the Roos alive even if they’re on life support. Doctors Roughead and Mitchell turn it off quickly though with back-to-back goals.

North continue to miss opportunities and three late wasted shots on goal see the Hawks go to three quarter time up by 38 points. The bet is lost and I couldn’t be happier, I can go back to doing what I’ve done every weekend over the past 17 seasons. Cheering for the Hawks.

The last quarter is a joy to watch, I can fully appreciate the performance as the Hawks run away with it. Brilliant team work from Stokes and Rioli leads to an early Morton goal. Williams proves once again that from a set shot he’d be the player you want kicking for your life; Franklin proves that he isn’t. I think there’s a perception that Buddy tries to milk free kicks because he doesn’t get any help from the umpires today giving away six; I get the feeling that another player, on another day could have received up to five. Roughead shows what a skilled player he is, playing all over the park while Renouf gets the most improved vote for the day as he nullifies North’s rucking advantage.

The siren goes and the Hawks finish nine goal victors but I won’t be singing the team song tonight, I don’t deserve it and as I turn the TV off I’m reminded of the old saying – money doesn’t lead to happiness. Today is the perfect example.

North Melbourne 2.1 5.5 8.9 10.9    (69)
4.1 10.4 15.5 19.9 (123)

North Melbourne
: Petrie 2, Thomas 2, Firrito, Campbell, Harding, Wells, McMahon, Jones
Hawthorn: Roughead 5, Franklin 4, Dew 3, Bateman 2, Morton 2, Williams 2, Mitchell,

North Melbourne:
Gibson, Rawlings, McIntosh, Firrito, Simpson, Swallow
Hawthorn: Mitchell, Roughead, Franklin, Whitecross, Guerra, Rioli, Dew, Bateman

North Melbourne:
Hale (concussion)
Hawthorn: Ellis (ankle), Renouf (concussion)

Umpires: Rosebury, Kamolins, Ryan

Official crowd: 34,893 at Docklands

Malarkey Medal Votes: Mitchell (Haw) 3 votes, Roughead (Haw) 2 votes, Guerra (Haw) 1 vote

Leave a Comment