HAWKS HOLD OFF HOPPERS

The feeling of euphoria that comes from winning a closely-contested game of football is no different now to what it was 50 years ago.

Our way of celebrating then would be to have a ‘night on the town’. Firstly, scooping down a few quick ales amidst the slaps on the back from supporters at the after-match, then moving on to the ‘Pinno’ where the game would be dissected, with the help of several more ‘frothies’.

By about 10.30 we’d be feeling ‘peckish’ and head around the corner to Nick Lazarou’s Emerald Cafe for his ‘special’, the mixed grill and, again, more in-depth discussion. To wind up, we would invite ourselves around to someone’s house and demolish a handful of ‘long necks’.

At this stage, I would personally begin to feel that I’d made a sizeable contribution to the victory, somehow blotting out the fact, deep down, that I knew deep down, that I’d turned in another ‘shocker’.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

I don’t know what the boys get up to these days, but I’d imagine they’d have let their hair down last night, especially after having gone through a confidence-sapping stretch of six straight losses.

They were terrific against North Albury and withstood a spirited last-quarter onslaught before holding on for a dramatic three-point victory.

That familiar warm sensation pervaded the rooms, as they belted out the song. I stood back and took note of the happy faces and tired bodies before heading home to a now-familiar post-match routine – a night on the couch.

But, like any footy-nut, it’s hard to get the day’s events out of your mind………..

* That desperate lunge and tackle by Will Nolan on North’s Liam Butler. The Hopper was in the goal-square and made the mistake of taking an extra couple of paceIMG_1370s to make sure of the open goal which prtesented itself and would pinch the game. Holding the ball was the ump’s decision and 300 fans on the balcony of the Maroney Pavilion roared their approval.

* The mark of the vertically-challenged Hawk defender, Darcy Booth – also in the goal-square. To use a Cometti-ism, he twisted his body ‘like a cork in the ocean’ to snavel one of the grabs of the day – also in the vital last term, and under considerable pressure.

* The kick-for-touch by Sean O’Keeffe, as he repelled another North attack in the dying minutes. It wobbled over the line, in front of the Hogan Stand. Out-on-the full decisions are the flavour of the month these days. ‘Okey’ held his breath and, thankfully the ump signalled  -‘throw it in’.

* The return of tall Chris Knowles, who booted two goals and was clean in his ball-use. It was the first senior game of an injury-interrupted season for ‘Knowlesy’ and he was a good presence up forward.

* The Josh Newton come-back, which continues to gain momentum. Since he made his debut in 2011, until he returned to footy this season, he had made just 9 senior appearances of a possible 95.

In between, he had endured a knee reconstruction and a debilitating shoulder ‘reco’. Enough to give serious consideration to whether he was meant to play the game.

But right through pre-season, until he was given the all-clear to return, he trained with the reckless abandon of a raw newcomer. It’s indeed heartening for him to be now making an impact in the half-dozen games he has played – and to finally see some reward for his effort.

* The continued Herculean efforts of Shane Gaston in the ruck and the desperate defence of the improving Mitch Horwood, who is now becoming firmly-entrenched as a senior player.

* The outstanding leadership of Sam Carpenter, who knocked up getting kicks and probably played his best game of the season.

*The form of evergreen Hopper Daniel Leslie – a towering figure for his side over the last decade-or-so. He seems to save some of his footy for the Rovers and was again impressive.

*Josh Minogue, who was back in the North side for the day because his VFL side had the bye, and made a valuable contribution. A silky-skilled mover, to say the least.

The strong-marking and continued good form of Coen Hennessey, who again stood tall in defence for the Hawks.

IMG_1369

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

It was a keenly-fought contest from first bounce to last. The Hawks led by nine points at half-time, but North came out with intent early in the third term and booted two quick goals, to pull back the lead.

It changed three or four times in a frenetic period of play and at lemon-time the scoreboard showed that the Hawks held a slender three-point margin.

“They’ll crumble. We’ll run all over them,” was Jason Akermanis’ forecast, as he urged on his charges at the break.

But neither team was about to fall over. In thirty minutes of desperate football, it was the Hawks who were able to cling to that slender lead and record their fifth win in  an excellent contest.

 

IMG_1201-0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s