The Proff is in the Tasting

I’m always one to give credit when credit is due but it pains me when that credit is being forwarded to the account of the Hawthorn FC. The Blues and Hawks faced off in what appeared to be a straight forward game of one team in form against a team very much out of form. Carlton had come though a testing 5 week period with the ledger at 4 to 1 in the positive column and a few big scalps. Hawks have come off a lucky win over Tigers and a form line that looked more in keeping with a picnic race meeting. The Blues at -35.5pts, into the Crows and the Saints at -23.5pts, would be the icing on what had been already successfully weekend thanks to the Dean of Form, Dean Lester.

Dermie added a little fuel to the pre-game build by suggesting that Luke Hodge, rather than Sam Mitchell, should be captain of the Hawks BUT he couldn’t reveal why this wasn’t the case because it would result in a law suit. Now in the peacock department Dermie has never been short on tail feathers but this comment smacked of hidden agendas and conspiracies. Was the former CHF using this as a “line in the sand” type wind up for a down in the dump team or did Sam have pictures of the club President in a compromising position? Will never know but if it was the former it certainly did the job because the Mayblooms had come to play.

From the opening bounce the Hawks applied pressure all over the ground. Their tackling and general harassing made every Blues possession a tough one. The Hawks were playing “unfriendly” football and the Baggers didn’t like it one little bit. The much vaunted Carlton midfield couldn’t get a touch and even the Messiah struggled to break tackles or off load effective disposals. Down back the Blues defence looked very vulnerable. The early loss of up and comer White didn’t make things any better nor did the inclusion of Johnston ( Note to match Committee: the next person who thinks that recruiting an ex-Melbourne Player is a sound idea please keep your thoughts to yourself). More ominous was the presence of Franklin and Roughead. Buddy suddenly remembered that he was really, really big and athletic. Maybe Lance was pissed off because Dermie didn’t nominate him for the captaincy. Sadly, you can only have one “spiritual leader” per club under the salary cap. Roughie remembered that he has really, really big hands that can catch the footie. Fortunately he couldn’t remember how to kick it but he had plenty of company in that department. Yes Setanta, I am looking at you.

The sleeping giant had awaked and this baby was hungry. Alfred E tried numerous options on Lance but he was too mobile and the ball was coming into the Hawks forward line with ease. When Carlton did get use of the ball it was always rushed and without the system that had been on display over the past month. Forward entries were limited and when they did happen, it seemed more hit and hope that anything purposeful. The Spudman, a revelation up forward this year, relapsed into Gaelic ineptitude. Twice he butchered easy goals. The first, a silly handball when running into the goal square, the second after marking 1 metre out and playing on only to lose the ball over the goal line robbing the Blues of a bit of lift right on the siren. You can take the boy out of Ireland but you can’t take the Ireland out of the boy. The three Amigos were three blind mice who hadn’t sighted the ball for most of the Ist half. More importantly, Hawthorn had shut down the Main Man. The Hawks on the other hand were ruthless and only inaccuracy in front of goal had given the Blues a slight lifeline in the second half but one that didn’t have a buoy on the end of it.

The half time break saw the hawks leading by 39 point. A lead that would stretch to 48 point in the third term before the Blues found a bit of regular footie. A couple of quick goal and the boys had got it back to just over four kicks and looking to have the “momentum”. Then it all went awry. The last 10 minutes saw the Blues gain the upper hand only to squander 5 gettable shots. Betts had the opportunity to sneak a quick goal off the back of the pack but I think the surprise of actually touching the football caused him to shit himself. The script read that Hawthorn was supposed to revert to type and roll over. The Hawks can’t read because, despite Carlton continuing attacks, their pressure forced quick disposals that inevitably missed the target. A quick Hawthorn goal against the flow was bad enough but the Spudman’s brain fade on the siren was the ball breaker. Hawthorn by 26 at the third break. Blues still have a sniff.

A sniff that was quickly snuffed as the Hawks put the foot on the throat and kicked away again. The Blues, down to two on the bench for the second half, had nothing left and the Buddy show was now in the final act. Hawthorn landed another five goals to the Blues solitary six pointer running out victors by a comfortable 50 points. Were to Blues flat after a big month or were the hawks finding a bit of the 2008 mojo. A bit of both I suspect. Critically, the Hawks had exposed a few old “issues” in the Carlton line up. That is; The defence is susceptible to big mobile talls, discarded players are discarded for a reason, they are shite, Thornton cannot hold down a key position, Henderson can’t play in a key position (shouldn’t be playing at all), sustained pressure tests out their skills but more worryingly, shut down Judd and you most likely can shut down the Carlton midfield.

The Hawks need to replicate that endeavour again to be contenders week in week out. But on this occasion they outmuscled the Baggers in all parts of the ground and thoroughly deserved the win. Hodge may not be the captain but he is the leader of the Hawks.

The Blues now have a couple of winnable ones but this was supposed to be one of those as well. The boys from Carlton need to eliminate this type of loss and develop a plan B to deal with these more contested types of games. Let’s hope that the scent emanating for the Blues in recent weeks was actually from the canteen at Princess Park and not drifting from the kitchen some upmarket diner on Lygon St. As they say, the proof is in the tasting.

HAWTHORN 5.3 9.8 11.12 16.14 (110)
CARLTON 2.2 3.5 7.10 8.12 (60)

Hawthorn: Franklin 5, Roughead 3, Osborne 2, Hooper 2, Peterson, Young, Lewis, Hodge.
Carlton: Henderson 3, Robinson 2, Joseph, Murphy, Jacobs.

Hawthorn: Franklin, Hodge, Osborne, Mitchell, Brown, Gilham.
Carlton: No one

About Tony Robb

A life long Blues supporter of 49 years who has seen some light at the end of the tunnel that isn't Mick Malthouse driving a train.


  1. John Butler says

    An ordinary result indeed Tony.

    Family matters prevented me seeing much of the match, but I managed to see Eddie & Setanta miss sitters when we looked like we might get back into it.(bonus)

    As you rightly point out, they’ve had a big run recently, but they need to get back on the ball next week or they’ll undo a lot of good work.

  2. An interesting stat last 7 times the mayblooms have won against the baggers by an average of more the 40 points.

  3. Tony Robb says

    It seems that some sides just have the wood over other teams. But having beaten the Saints,who admitedly were not travelling well, I thought we might have been in the hunt the knock off the Hawks.
    Sadly they were too good on the day.

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