The right decision


by Nick Sculley

On Friday afternoon I was faced with a decision; leave a pile of well overdue study for yet another day and head to Etihad Stadium to watch my beloved Saints, or get it out of the way on Friday and visit the Mecca on Saturday night for what surely would be yet another classic Geelong vs Hawthorn clash. I settled on the latter, and despite an uninspiring victory over the hapless Dogs on Friday night I was left to ponder whether I could afford to pass up witnessing a St.Kilda win this season. What transpired at the MCG on Saturday night left me with no doubt that I’d made the right decision, and that anyone who is yet to witness a clash of these titans in recent years is missing out on one of footballs’ great experiences.

From the very first bounce you could tell we were in for a cracker, although Geelong’s first quarter onslaught hinted that perhaps the injury-riddled Hawks were nearing the end of their tether. But, as always, this Hawthorn side rose to the occasion and battled their way back into the clash in the second term. The first half will surely be remembered as the night, or atleast the half of footy, that the J-Pod silenced any doubters that believed him to be merely a flat-track bully. With six goals, and a handful of other opportunities, Pods sent a message that he, like Cloke, Jumping Jack and his opposite number on the night Franklin, was capable of tearing apart a match akin to the mammoth forwards of past decades. That man Franklin would take centre stage in the finale, but more on that later.

Few would have predicted what transpired in the third term as the Cats were kept to just four behinds, whilst the Hawks threatened to break the game right open. The Hawthorn defence began to rally around the under-siege Ryan Schuenmakers who, after a first half bath from Podsiadly, regrouped in the second half to keep him goalless, although this was largely attributed to the help of his teammates and the delivery into the forward 50. Much like Hawthorn in the first half, Geelong continually bombed the ball to outnumbered teammates in the third term, allowing the Hawks to build from the back and kick the only four goals of the term. Super-sub Luke Bruest once again popped up off the bench to kick an important major in the third term, in the process receiving calls of ‘BREUST’ from the Hawthorn faithful reminiscent of the ‘WOOF’ endowed on champions such as Val Perovic and Ange Christou in the past. This call from various supporter groups has become far too prevalent in recent years; it should be a chorus that needs to be earned, rather than given purely on someone’s surname, but that’s an argument for another time.

The final term was an instant classic and, like so many times before, Joel Selwood was the heart and soul of the Cats fight back. It took guts for Chris Scott to move Selwood to half forward in the final term, as it is Selwood’s goal kicking that is holding him back from making the jump to the pinnacle of the sport. Stevie J was immense in the final term, booting two majors, however the quarter will sadly be remembered for the horrific snapped Achilles suffered by Jarryd Roughead. Roughead was in stellar form all around the ground, hinting that he had perhaps stolen the mantle of most important player at the club from Buddy, making the season-ending injury all the more damaging. It was that man Franklin at the centre of a controversial ending, milking a potential free kick 45 metres out for all it was worth with only a few minutes left on the clock. Franklin has a tendency to over-act and, like all over-actors should be, was left empty handed. After four quarters of incredible football, I was glad I’d passed on a mistake-riddled clash of fallen giants the night prior.


  1. Steve Fahey says

    Nick, I too went as a “neutral” and enjoyed the contest immensely. These two have the best current day rivalry in the comp. Although the Hawks might say that they were unlucky, you don’t win many games when you don’t score in the last quarter. Geelong consistently win the big moments of games.

  2. Andrew Fithall says


    As another who attended as a neutral, I also enjoyed this match. I have been to quite a few Hawthorn/Geelong games over the past couple of years and never thought I could have spent my time better.

    Umpiring is a very difficult job in football. Rule interpretations constantly changing make it even more challenging. As soon as an umpire has allowed a level of subjectivity into their decision making, they have increased their own burden. I always scoff at a commentator who criticises an umpire for penalising a player kicking out after a behind for stepping on the line. “They only just touched the line.” That line allows for the simplest decision an umpire has to make. No amount of leeway should ever be allowed.

    By amending the “hands-in-the-back” rule, the rulemakers removed any discretion from the umpires. I don’t agree with the rule – there should not be one rule for one part of the ground that is paid a different way elsewhere – but the rule is there. Subjectivity and discretion are removed. Level of impact does not need to be assessed. If the hands have touched the back, the free kick is to be awarded. In the Buddy Franklin non-decision, Buddy’s actions are entirely irrelevant. The player behind placed his hands in the back. Yes Buddy over-acted, but that should never have affected the mind processes of the official. The umpire got it wrong.

  3. Rick Kane says

    The Breust call is in its own way organic. In his first game against St Kilda a few weeks back, coming on as the sub, he kicked a great goal with one of his first kicks at AFL level. Hawks fans gave him the Breust call and it took off. A couple of weeks later against Freo he was subbed on to replace Jordan Lisile. Jordan had taken Buddy’s spot but had missed three reasonably easy shots at goal. Breust came on and kicked three ripper goals, a couple in the last quarter when the Hawks ran over the Dockers. So, we Breusted him again. He’s looked good so far and I hope our Breusting him adds to his confidence and in some small way makes him a better player :)

  4. johnharms says

    Massive leap of faith there AF.

    The logic of your argument relies on your assumption that the umpire saw the hands in the back, and CHOSE to ignore them. That he used his discretion; discretion he doesn’t have.

    I think the more logical conclusion, knowing how well these guys know the rules of the game, is that Jack McBurney DID NOT SEE the hands in the back.

    Why? Because his eye was taken by Buddy’s forward thrust.

    Was Buddy staging? What caused the forward thrust?

  5. Andrew Fithall says


    When you are pinning the OBE, or whatever Queen’s Birthday honour you have awarded J. McBurney, on his lapel, careful where you stand. You wouldn’t want to step on his guide dog’s tail.


  6. johnharms says


    You weren’t expecting him to have good eyesight were you?

    One of my favourite (and time-honoured) calls in rugby league used to occur when the touch judges were supposed to be the behind-the-play eyes of the ref. A touchie would come running out with his flag up to report an incident – often someone felled behind the play. That would lead to a consultation. No doubt someone would yell out “Don’t ask your linesman, ask your guide dog, [you poonce]”.

  7. Rick Kane says


    I don’t think it’s an issue. To make it an issue, means you have to challenge every single umpiring error through a game (there were a few in the first quarter :) ) and each error corrected would automatically change the course of the game. The Hawks had their chances. As Nick notes, it’s hard to win a game if you don’t score in the last quarter. But we’ll be back!

  8. Andrew Fithall says

    Rick Kane. What sort of supporter are you? If you are not going to complain about a ctitical decision and forever claim how it robbed you of victory and instead use some other rational justification for your team failing to win, you would never be welcome at Collingwood.

  9. Rick Kane says

    Oh AF I complained. I was howling abuse at the umpire when it happened. And trust me, Buddy gets a raw deal week after week. But all it gets me is a sore throat and a bitter taste.


  10. Clearisghted says

    Umpiring inconsistencies pale beside those of the MRP.

  11. thefreeak says

    Good to see that thug Selwood cop his right whack for once.

  12. Freak – that’s the first time I’ve seen “thug”and “Selwood” in the same sentence.

  13. Good to see that a repeat offending Hawks ‘Fug’ finally got sorted. And he sooked to make it better.

    Most bullies are cowards and cry when they get the same treatment. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

    Selwood will get over it but Guerra won’t.

  14. Geelong deserved to win because Our Lord decreed it to be the good and decent thing to happen. Selwood, much like Stevie J before him, was only standing up against the irritating tyranny that is the scragger. He shall rise again. The Crying Harhait Guerra can get stuffed.


  15. Rick Kane says

    A bit harsh on Goo guys. And a bit light on Selwood.

  16. I think Buddy can point the finger at the ‘Velvet Sledgehammer’ for the fact that he didn’t receive the free kick. After years of Lloydy sticking his back side out, leaping forward and creating the perceived contact the umps may have decided enough is enough.

    Perhaps by the letter of the law he had his hands resting on his back and could’ve been pulled up BUT if Buddy had have went for the mark instead of trying to get a free kick he most likely would’ve taken it and the result could have been different.

    If I was a Hawks fan I’d be more aggrieved with Buddy’s antics rather than the free kick not being paid.

  17. Harsh? Light on? In what school did you learn that four (4) weeks was light on?

    C. Brown: 2 weeks
    D. Thomas: 1 week

  18. Rick Kane says

    I didn’t mean the penalty, I meant contributors on this page.

    He retaliated to someone who was doing their job? If it’s too hot in the kitchen as they say. Selwood is a great footballer but his style gets him more frees than he deserves and into situations like what happened in the Saints match. On Saturday night every other team and ‘scragger’ also found out that he has a tipping point and a temper. He blinked, as they say.

    Then the Cats and Selwood had the audacity to argue the case. He was offered 3 weeks and argued unsuccessfully. With, from reports I read this morning, a very flimsy case.

    With that in mind, I reckon Cats supporters are a bit light on their analysis of Selwood from Sat night.

  19. Rick – I detect a strategy on the part of coaches and fitness staff in all this. Rather than telling a player he can’t play because of his “loading” (result is a pissed off player) they now challenge the Tribunal, knowing full well they will lose, which gives the player an enforced rest. Coach is not to blame, player is rested – everyone is happy.

  20. Heard Derek Humphrey-Smith on SEN last night. No decision was required on Buddy/Lonergan incident as it was NOT in the marking contest. If Buddy had done what key forwards are supposed to do (which IMO is attack the ball and anyone in the way) then he would most likely have got the free kick.

    With Roughie out, Hawks now have no key forward and have to hope they can kick big enough scores with two exceptional forward flankers, one of them being a 6’6″ outside running type.

    How Sam Mitchell has not spent most of his life suspended is beyond me. The “Unsociable footy” tag has been an unmitigated marketing success as it seems to have lulled the umpires into accepting that the Hawks can push the boundaries more than any other team.

  21. Ok ok ok. Joel clearly did something wrong. I do think it’s a bit rich that the MRP came to the conclusion that it was intentional with NO evidence other than a medical report. He deserved to get rubbed out, but on balance I think 4 weeks is excessive. 2 weeks would’ve been reasonable.

    Speaking to some legal fidgy widgies I know, they reckon he could get off if he took to a higher court. Anyone got any thoughts on this?

  22. Dave Nadel says

    I wonder if too much emphasis is placed on the actual injury. Thomas struck a mild blow against his tagger and got a week. If Jones did not have a cold sore which bled when Thomas touched it, Daisy might have been charged with reckless rather than intentional and got off with a reprimand.

    Equally, while Selwood also retaliated against his tagger, the perforated eardrum was hardly intentional or even forseeable, but if Guerra hadn’t sustained a perforated eardrum I doubt that Selwood would have got more than two weeks, maybe even one.

  23. Selwood cops a fair bit but he dealt with it this time Rick.

    I don’t condone head splitting on the footy field; I have spent too much time in casulty on Saturday arvo’s with my son, but Goo started it and Selwood finished it. I have seen some very nasty hits from Goo over the years. He may realise that it is time to stop.

    Selwood has four weeks – such is life. Others split faces and get Brownlows. There is a nice amount of steel in the Cats this year but they will have to watch out as their players are always rubbed out. Some still get special treatment.

    I hope Goo plays this week. I will be sitting amongst the Hawks faithful at York Park. It would be nice to see Goo and Mal’s boy go toe to toe. But that won’t happen as they are both snipers and won’t look the enemy in the eye when it comes to the tough stuff.

    Yes I am a bit peeved, but the win’em and wear’em creed will get me over it.

  24. Rick Kane says

    Phantom, can I start with a classic? I like Selwood (I reckon he’s a gun) but …

    His style is reminiscent of Ben Allen and Robert Wiley. Back then, they were as known for their great ability as they were for playing for frees. And then there’s the safety factor to his head first manner of attacking the footy. Is this a conscious or sub-conscious mode? I don’t know. But I cringe every time he goes in with his head down. He’s a whip-smart footballer, but with a style like that he is going to get hurt.

    All good mid-fielders get tagged. Hodge was literally smothered on Sat. That’s a compliment. It’s how they handle the tag that sets them apart. In this instance Selwood made the wrong decision and deserved what he got.

    As for Goo being a thug or a sniper. I’m not sure about that, at least not in the last few years. It’s not my view of how he manages the back-line for the Hawks.

  25. Rick,

    I was recently quoted as saying I don’t like Guerra but he is a good footballer. But he must have heard me and did the dirty and I am grumpy with him. It will take a long time for him to get back into my good books.

    I am sure that he will hesitate next time he undertakes a hard behind play tag which was apparently what he did. Selwood sorted it immediately and may well be marked as a retaliator in future but the AFL is painting itself into a corner with it’s ‘protecting special players policy”.

    It is only a matter of time before they will find out that Common Law is more potent than Demetrio’s law. There must be even dispersal of punishment accross the board. Some one will be let off by the selective mrp but will face criminal charges anf the AFL will duck for cover.

    It may be past history but the Judd incident with Pav. was disgraceful. Every one saw it and everyone knows the final out come. The AFL were either deliberately cheating or dishonest based on the recent action taken. They need to fess up and take the brownlow back.

  26. Rick

    Fair call from Phantom, I reckon…Can I also suggest that unless you particularly look for sniping it’s often missed (maybe that’s why the umps rarely ping the instigator).

    And can I take you back to the 2004 Wizard Cup GF between the Saints and the Cats?

    I doubt Cameron Ling shares your blurry opinion of Goo after that game.

    Me thinks it might be time for you and the rest of the Hawthorn faithful to follow Phantom’s excellent lead and take off the RCG’s. (Rose Coloured Glasses)

  27. Selwood would not have even been put before the MRP if there was no damage as per the two incidents the week before (with one involving another Selwood) where the footage was inconclusive and there was no damage done.

    Trengove from Melbourne was the unluckiest player this year regarding suspension and is now joined by Selwood. Sling tackles occur every week. In fact, when the Cats played Carlton, Laidler tackled Christensen, pinned his arms and slung him to the ground. The MRP said Laidler had no case to answer because there was no damage. After the MRP made its decision, Christensen was diagnosed with delayed concussion and missed the next week because of it. Dangerfield, whom Trengove tackled, did not even miss a week and was a star in that next game.

    They might as well throw the rule book out and say, “Anything goes from now on fellows” with the caveat being that if you injure anyone then you will be suspended for the amount of time the player you injured is out. Would remove the need for umpiring and the tribunal. The down side is that it would also remove a lot of what we talk about during the week.

  28. Clearisghted says

    Guerra is apparently now all better and will fly ( or maybe swim) with his healed crook ear to Tassie and play on the weekend.
    Consistency from the MRP is required. As Edward pointed out, Daisy Thomas copped one week – even though he appealed the report, his suspension was not extended to two.
    Cambell Brown, with his long track record of thuggery, copped three.
    Selwood, who has never been reported in his entire playing career (played since the age of 8), cops 4.
    No logic. No fairness. No consistency. Likewise with Trengove, who again felt the inconsistency of the MRP.
    Robinson, Waite were apparently angels on the weekend.
    P.S. Guerra, Lewis and Osborne were sinking the sly sniper shots into Selwood all game.

  29. Justin Kremmer says

    Nick, A well thought decision meant you were rewarded with a blockbuster game of two modern rivals. Geelong will miss Selwood over the next month particularly when the match is tight and in need of his brilliance, master evasive skills, ball getting prowess and sheer work ethic…. Probably due to lose A game anyway. He will be on a fitness regime ala Dane Swan etc in Arizona, I wouldn’t be surprise if Geelong look to “rest” Bartel, Ling, Ottens and co. in a similar attempt to keep up with CFC’s experiment. All will be better off at season’s end and make for a famous finish.

  30. Richard Naco says

    Bartel won’t be recruited by General Soreness while Selwood’s away. It’ll be 12 Brownlow votes and away at least until Joel gets bail.

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