Well I guess Chappy’s happy…but Hawks should not despair

By Sasha Lennon

Last week I berated one Paul Chapman for boldly claiming that “never again” will the Cats lose to the Hawks in a Grand Final.

Actually, he meant never again, full stop.  And sure enough Chappy was true to his word.

I still reckon the Cats are doing it the hard way (did you see Stevie Johnson on Tuesday?), but they’re doing it nonetheless and that’s what counts.  Five-zip is enough said.

My call that the Hawks would account for the Cats comfortably was also bold and naturally, through the many phone calls, texts and emails I’ve received these past few days, I’m paying the price.

But that’s OK.  That’s footy banter and its part of what makes our game so special.

I did say that the Hawks have regained their grunt and their firepower.  Watching Tuesday’s match, I still believe that to be the case.  The MCG clash was worthy of a final and, injuries permitting, both the Hawks and the Cats should fare well come September, and maybe even October.

I also said that Buddy is back to his freakish best.  On that count I was proven right.  I just wish he’d maintain the pace which delivered his opening two goals for just one half of football.  Not even the Cats could catch us then.

Despite the loss, for Hawthorn at least, there were a number of contributors who quickly capitalised on Buddy’s five minutes of brilliance.  After a couple of seasons of under-achievement, I’d say the Hawks look like a contender in 2011.

For Geelong, that other freak up forward, Podsiadly was much the same as Buddy, barely sighted for much of the day.  But Pods kicked a couple when it counted, including that banana which sealed the deal.

For mine, Harry Taylor got the three votes with two for Lonergan, both exceptionally solid in defence.

And while Chappy looked worried at times, on the whole he was poised, helping steer the Cats to a famous victory.

So Chappy gets my one vote, not only for his play, but for making that bold claim and seeing it through.

I’d say that makes for a happy Chappy.  Well done.

Sasha Lennon is a Brisbane-based Knacker whose writing can be found at http://sashasoapbox.blogspot.com/


  1. Peter Flynn says

    G’day Sasha,

    If Buddy started taking overhead marks on a more regular basis, Hawthorn would seriously challenge Collingwood.

    The only reason I didn’t put Taylor in the votes was because of a shaky start.

    Can you believe that Chappy’s pact is on the line again as soon as Round 12?


  2. Rick Kane says

    Good report Sasha. And I’ll add my two cents worth, which I was going to do on one of the Geelong pieces that have appeared since Tuesday. This seems the better place to reflect. The Cats won and looked very good. However, it wasn’t a walk over, far from it. And I think the Hawks had as many things to be cheerful about as I believe the Cats should be circumspect about.

    First, Buddy. He’s doing brilliantly. He’s the competition’s leading goal kicker. Sure, 5 goals would have been a better pay day but that had as much to do with the way the ball was delivered and the extreme pressure the Cats backline put on the Hawks. It’s not too often you’ll see as many backmen in a team’s best player list as you saw in the Geelong list this week. One of the plays of the day, for me, was Buddy’s gather, then pinpoint handpass to Bateman (who was almost beyond his peripheral vision) who went on and goaled. No, he didn’t win the game (and he is expected to week after week) but it wasn’t a bad effort.

    Next, on Tuesday the Cat’s outmuscled the Hawks and did so with aplomb. But I wasn’t convinced that they could do that all season long. At times they did look tired and lost. Remember the game was see-sawing through the third and fourth quarter. That brilliant passage by the Cats in the third was stemmed by two quick goals to the Hawks and the margin was 10 points at the 3/4 break.

    When Scarlett went that ugly spoiling attempt against Lewis in the last quarter that seemed to be desperation and fatigue and an aging body showing. That can either be seen as an aberration of what was a great game for Scarlett or another sign of a player closer to the end of his career than the start. At times Milburn and Lonegan floundered. In the celebration of victory that is forgotten but I reckon the Hawks have plenty to analyse and exploit next time around (as do other contenders).

    In the flashes where the Hawks dominated (and that was 40-45% of the game), the Cats didn’t have answers. When Mitchell, Sewell, Rioli, Young, Lewis and Bateman controlled the midfield the Cats were as lost as when the Cats, led superbly by Selwood and Bartel, did the same to the Hawks. So, the Hawks midfield is looking good. Young Suckling played a beauty.

    The Ifs: If Cyril stayed on the ground in the last quarter the Ellis substitution may have paid off. If the 50m had been rightfully awarded, and our mid-field, including Cyril, held control … I’m not making this point to suggest there would have been a different outcome but to state that the difference between the Cats and Hawks was marginal at best. We are not that far off the mark, if the measure is the Cats.

    Finally, Roughy. He’s looking fitter and sharper and more confident than he has the last year or two. He’s kicking goals and rucking and he showing a more physical presence in and around the contest.

    What the Hawks didn’t do enough of is spread the load across the team, something that must be admired about the Cats. If the Hawks learn anything from this game it is that you have to outmuscle Geelong and clear the ball because when we did that we had the Cats on a string.

  3. Stainless says

    Really interesting to read the remarkably upbeat comments from both supporter camps about this game.

    At the risk of sounding smart, I reckon my opinion, which I expressed in response to Sasha’s original piece, was pretty much proven on the day. Geelong won because they had enough experience to work through a slow start without panicking, their defence (ageing though they might be) was outstanding, and there’s a nice blend of youth and experience emerging across most lines (who could not like the prospect of Menzel and Duncan learning from coolheads like Chapman?). Varcoe is just about the most improved player in the competition over the last 12 months. I think the critics of the Cats being either suspect under physical pressure or lacking pace are way off the mark. This is a mature, strong team that can move and carry the ball very quickly. Their big concern is their ageing leadership group. They’ll be too good for most opponents this year but Collingwood has youth and hunger on their side and these will be telling factors when they meet.

    As I said earlier, Hawthorn is spasmodically brilliant, but not often enough or for long enough to win a game like this, even with a headstart that would have ended most contests then and there. Take the first ten minutes away and Geelong win by 8 goals, possibly more had they kicked straight. Premiership contenders don’t allow that sort of losing margin to occur. It’s probably stating the bleeding obvious but Hawthorn looks an order of magnitude more dangerous when Rioli’s doing well. Losing him at the end hurt, but by then, much of the damage had already been done. Granted the expectations about Franklin are incredibly high, but I thought for much of this match he may as well have been on the bench, such was his level of non-participation. And a rare quiet one from Hodge didn’t help either.

    Overall, a really good game but I’m not sure that anyone at Collingwood would be fretting about what they saw.

  4. Peter Flynn says

    R Kane,

    I found you.

    Terrific sides both.

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