Tag Archives: hawthornfc

Friday musing this week looking at Luke Hodge and Dustin Fletcher

Chris Barwin HillsI was amused to read about Luke Hodge being picked up for drink driving. I was amused because I understand he was the Hawthorn Unknownplayer who blew Steven Motlop’s cover about drinking at a local
football game which cost Motlop a club imposed suspension. The karma bus collected Mr Hodge and if it wasn’t for the fact that it is finals time you would think that Hodge would also face a club suspension.

It was disappointing that Dustin Fletcher was not able to get up for the final game of the season which meant his 400th was indeed his last game. imagesEven with Brent Harvey still going around and likely to break Michael Tuck’s record for games played, it is unlikely he will break Fletch’s record of playing 23 years. Fletch is an absolute champion who was best & fairest in a premiership year which is unusual for a full back. It is also no coincidence that Essendon’s fortunes this year went backwards after he stopped playing.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Cricket, the Ashes, AFL, the vernacular……

Chris Barwin HillsI sat down over the last two nights hoping to enjoy an Australian revival in the 4th test at Trent Bridge only to witness the abject failure of any of our recognised batsman to get in behind the line of the ball. Yes, there was a bit in the pitch, but not that much. I am sure the batsmen were spooked by Alistair Cook winning the toss and bowling which would have to be just about a first in England. I lyonthought the worst offender in the first innings was Michael Clarke. As captain of the team and coming in with the team in diabolical trouble he first tries a pull shot and was lucky it dropped into no mans land and then he has a swing at a wide ball. Surely the captain has to show more than application when the chips are down. Even when Ricky Ponting lost the Ashes in 2005 he battled his guts out to try and turn things around. We are now hoping for a miracle. Perhaps three days of rain.

I thought the crowd figures for the Richmond v Hawthorn clash last Friday night were interesting. There was 66,000 people there which was apparently a record between the two clubs. This is quite surprising when both teams have memberships of 70,000+. I understand that not all members turn up to watch their team play, but given the size of both memberships and both teams vying for the top 4, 66,000 could be considered quite disappointing.

There is one term that has entered the AFL vernacular which I am getting quite sick of very quickly and it is the “competitive beast”. I think if I hear one more commentator or one more player describe someone as a competitive beast I may just throw up.

Have a good weekend and let us hope the Gelding has a speedy recovery!

Weekend musing – AFL, Adam Goodes, cricket, Mitchell Johnson……

Chris Barwin HillsI ventured along to the MCG last Friday night to see the Real Madrid v Manchester City game and it was mazing to be part of a crowd of 99,000+ people. I enjoyed the game for the first 60-65 minutes, but with Real controlling the game each side took off their best players and it petered out towards the end. Having said that it was great to see the skill of Cristiano Ronaldo and to see him get a goal on the MCG. It also is a reminder of what a great sporting stadium the MCG is. I have witnessed the World Cup cricket final, game 2 of the NRL UnknownState of Origin series and now the soccer in front of 90,000+ crowds. I missed the Anzac day game this year in front of 88,000+ and the biggest AFL game I have witnessed this year was the Dreamtime game before 83,000+. This year the ground has hosted four different sporting codes with crowds exceeding 88,000 and when you factor in the AFL Grand Final it will means the average will be lifted over 90,000+. We are truly blessed to have this magnificent stadium to showcase all these different sports.

Last night at that great ground we had the Richmond v Hawthorn game and I was expecting a good game. I wasn’t disappointed! Richmond displayed an ability to retain the ball which put pressure on Hawthorn and this was instrumental in the Tigers’ win.

This brings me to something I have been mulling over the last couple of weeks. When St Kilda belted Essendon a month ago I thought it may be detrimental to St Kilda as it may have given them an unrealistic appreciation of their ability. The next week they lost a winnable game against GWS and the following week only just lost to Richmond after the Tigers led by 9 goals at 3/4 time. I think for sides on the way up like St Kilda, it would have been better to have beaten mcgEssendon by 5-6 goals than to win by 18 goals because the youngsters understand they need to work hard every week to get the result. Conversely, you get a top side like Hawthorn give a fellow top eight side in Sydney a belting, then they come out the following week against Carlton and win by even more. The theory is, a big win by a good side against another good side franks their form, a big win by a lower side against another lower side is not a great guide to form. St Kilda’s grittier win last week against Melbourne will be better for them going in as underdogs this week against Port in Adelaide.

The Adam Goodes story just won’t go away and I won’t go over the Adam-Coodesissues that I raised earlier in the season, but I thought two articles in the Herald Sun on Thursday were worth some thought. The paper printed a poll of 50,000 people where 80% said the booing wasn’t
racist. There is no doubt a percentage of the booing is racially motivated and the rest is part of a mob element where people follow on like sheep. What we do know is Adam feels it is racially motivated and so it doesn’t really matter what the poll finds or what other people think.

The other article wasn’t even about Goodes, but about Mitchell Johnson and how the Barmy Army got stuck into him in 2009 and Unknownjust about destroyed his career. It is an indication on how barracking can destroy the confidence of some players where race is not even an issue. Crowds now know that Goodes is affected by the booing so it is hard to see it being totally eradicated unless both captains agree to stop the game until the booing ceases. I have expressed my views previously about Adam Goodes on field persona, but it would be a real shame if he was forced into retirement because of the booing, just as it would have been if Mitchell Johnson pulled the pin after the 2009 Ashes series.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – AFL, Davis Cup revival, British Open

Chris Barwin HillsWell everyone seems to be touting Hawthorn as unbeatable in this years premiership on the back of the thumpings they have delivered to the Swans and Fremantle in recent weeks. I would be urging everyone to take a deep breath and consider the hype about Hawthorn when they trounced Geelong in Round 1. It was suggested at the time that they could go through the season undefeated, they lost the next week and lost a further three games out of the next seven. I would agree that there form since then has been extra good, but should both WA teams end up in the top two positions, they potentially may have to travel twice just to get to the grand final. They deserve to be favourites at the moment, but it is not a done deal.

Great effort by Australia in the Davis Cup last weekend. After losing the first two singles rubbers they won the doubles and the reverse singles to take out the tie 3/2. I don’t watch a lot of tennis, but I remember how much the Davis Cup was revered when I was younger and it is always good to see Australia get through to the semi-final stage.

The British Open Golf also threw up an interesting result with a three way play off, but I must say I was disappointed as I was hoping that Jordan Speith or Jason Day would get up and they both finished one shot out of the play off group. I have been pushing Jordan Speith’s barrow since he took out the Australian Open last year and had hoped that he would secure the third Major in a row to try and Unknown-5do the grand slam. It was a brave effort, but one bad hole cost him. I have also been pushing Jason Day as well, given that he continues to put himself in prominent positions in majors, but he cannot seem to get over the line. Marc Leishmann who featured in the play off is also starting to build up a list of prominent finishes in majors without saluting.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – AFL, Phil Walsh, Sam Mitchell, Harley Bennell….

Chris Barwin HillsWell it is all AFL today.

I have just heard about the tragic passing of Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh. In my time following football or sport for that matter, I cannot remember a current sportsman being murdered. I must say I am a bit stunned and shocked and I wonder how this will impact on the Crows players. If the game was tonight you would think it would not proceed. Not forgetting that he also spent some time at Geelong, so they would not be immune from the impact of this shocking event. This is unprecedented and goes beyond the grief of health related deaths that have impacted AFL clubs over recent years.

It was interesting to hear the commentary over the Sam Mitchell incident in the Hawthorn -v- Essendon game last Saturday. Yes it was a bit juvenile, but I am surprised there hasn’t been more of it and I am sure the Essendon players were not phased at all given what they have been through. It is also quite ironic given the Sam Lane article in the Age in 2012 lauding the Hawthorn supplement injection programme.

There was also a lot of debate in AFL circles this week about the leniency of the Buddy Franklin decision compared to the Bryce Gibbs suspension. Again it has to be referred back to the consequences. Franklin put Edwards out of the game for 20 minutes for testing, but he was able to come back on (albeit a bit early!). Gibbs put Robbie Gray out of the game and probably cost Port Adelaide the match. After Franklin was reported he only touched the ball once, so it could be construed that the report actually cost the Swans the game, so it was the reverse of the Gibbs outcome.

The other big story of the week was the continued issues with the Gold Coast Suns players and their illicit drug use, in particular Harley Bennell. There has been a lot of hysteria about this and I would urge people to take a deep breath and give the kid a chance. I hark back to Tom Liberatore and his issues in King Street a few years ago. The Bulldogs dealt with it and he became one of their best players. Young players will make mistakes and I think they all deserve a chance and if they keep making the same mistakes, then it is time to give them their marching orders.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Arsenal, Sepp Blatter, Adam Goodes & Adam Voges

Chris Barwin HillsWell it was great to see Arsenal salute in last weeks FA Cup final and what a comprehensive result. I don’t think Aston Vila had a shot on target for the entire game, whereas the Gunners put four past their goal keeper and he also made several good saves. This now makes the Gunners the most successful club in FA Cup history and whilethe Cup doesn’t carry the aura that it once had, it is still a significant alexis-sanchez-arsenal-burnley_3223813piece of silverware. The goal from Alexis Sanchez had to be seen to be believed and it certainly caught the Vila goal keeper by surprise. I thought I would not see a better goal for quite sometime, until I saw Lionel Messi’s slalom effort in the Spanish Cup final, unbelievable!

While we are on the World Game, it was no real surprise to see Sepp Blatter re-elected last Friday, but it was a big surprise to see him resign by Tuesday. He clearly has caught wind of further Unknown-1investigations which may involve him and yesterday we hear that Jack Warner from Trinidad & Tobago may be tipping the bucket on him. With 14 arrests already this organisation is clearly toxic and it will take someone of extreme integrity and resolve to sort it all out.

I was not going to weigh in on the Adam Goodes situation, but his behaviour last Friday night probably demands some comment. I have no particular issue with him doing the dance during the indigenous round, but it was clearly directed towards the Carlton supporters in the crowd. I have not booed Adam Goodes and nobody can say with certainty the booing is not racist, but for me it is his on-Adam-Coodesfield demeanour, coupled with his ability to escape suspension for issues that other players get weeks for which I don’t like about him. He is self congratulatory and a bit of a “look at me” character, you notice it at the ground particularly after he kicks a goal, he actually goes looking for his team mates to give him high-tens. He is also not the first and won’t be the last player to get booed consistently and most of the time those players that do get booed are absolute champions, like Wayne Carey and Diesel Williams. I think Goodes is a fantastic player and I don’t think the Hawthorn crowd that booed him would do so for racist reasons given they have at least three indigenous players in their ranks, including Cyril Rioli who is just about their most popular player.

It was great to see a 35 year old debutante make a century on debut over night in the West Indies. I saw Adam Voges playing in a domestic one-dayer about ten years ago and thought I had just seen the next Adam Gilchrist. Well that didn’t quite pan out as I expected,Unknown but he finally got his chance at test level and scored a remarkable century given no one else in the team could get past 39 and that was the number 11. This reminiscent of Mike Hussey and Chris Rogers coming into the team in their 30s and making a strong contribution.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – football, AFL umpires, golf, Spieth, soccer…..

Chris Barwin HillsAfter watching the first couple of rounds of football I must say I think the umpiring has been okay. However, I have a couple of observations regarding interpretations. Firstly, there are high tackles, usually umpires won’t pay a free kick for a high tackle if the offended player has ducked his head. What is the difference when the player drops his knees to influence the high tackle. Luke Shuey, the Sellwoods and Paul Puopolo seem to be masters of this tactic Unknown-7and it seems the umpires fall for it all the time. It is certainly more difficult to adjudicate than a player dropping his head, but to my mind no different. The other issue is the sling tackle. I thought the sling tackle had been banned and yet two weeks in a row we have Hawthorn players execute the sling tackle. Firstly we had Duryea on Bartel, which resulted in a concussion and then last week McEvoy on Melksham and Baguley in separate incidents. Has this rule been shelved?

Last week I raised the issue of the Scott brothers both losing by big margins in round one. Well North bounced back for Brad, but Geelong suffered their worst defeat for sometime at home and they are still in last position. Geelong have played Hawthorn and Freo, so Unknown-4it is no disgrace to lose to those sides, but the way they have lost would worry the hierarchy at Geelong. I am certainly not ruling Geelong out for the season based on two bad loses, but I doubt they will be good enough to make the top 4-6 this year. Having said that, they will win this week and could easily win the following three.

I must also give myself a pat on the back picking Jordan Speith to win the Masters. Very rarely does a player lead the first round of a major and take out the title, but with a chasing pack of major winners he maintained a four stroke buffer over the last two days and don’t forget he is only 21. Two starts at the Masters have delivered a second and a first. This guy is clearly a special talent who now sits at number two in the world and with the way he has played you Unknown-5wonder how long it will take before he displaces Rory McIlroy as number one. What world golf does have at the moment is a number of quality golfers who can put pressure on each other, rather than a Tiger Woods or a Greg Norman being number 1 for an extended period of time. It has to be good for golf.

In the Champions League I was extremely surprised to see Bayern Munich lose to FC Porto. Bayern are a team absolutely chock full of stars although a few of these were missing and I would expect them to bounce back in the return leg, however, they do have a two goal deficit to overcome.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Melbourne Cup, cricket, AFL…

I was disappointed to hear how Australia had fared in the cricket in Abu Dhabi overnight and it rekindled a gripe I have about Test cricket, particularly games against India, Pakistan & Sri Lanka. A test wicket should offer assistance to the quicks in the first session at least and provide a good contest between bat and ball. Australia has the most dangerous fast bowler in the world at the moment in MitchChris Barwin Hillsell Johnson and he gets his first and only wicket in the second session with the only wicket in the first session going to Lyon the spinner. If the ICC wants to promote Test cricket as the pinnacle of the game they have to have the fortitude to demand pitches which provide a proper contest. Having said that Younis Khan has to be congratulated for his three successive centuries which is a formidable feat no matter how good the wickets have been for batsmen. Speaking of batsmen, Australia’s performance in the 1st test was quite lamentable with only Warner & Johnson able to hold their heads up.

It was an amazing performance by Adelaide in the Cox plate last week, languishing at the back of the filed he made one of the longest sustained runs I have ever seen in the time honoured race. He was helped by the banked turns at the Valley and at the turn into the straight looked like he was going to win running away, but the length of his run told in the final stages and Fawkner and the others on his inside pushed him all the way to the line. It was an even more memorable performance when you consider that he is only a 3yo and because of the difference in breeding schedules in Europe he had to carry the weight of a 4yo in the Plate. However, I do wonder why they gave a colt a female name, what next a filly named Sydney?

Moving on to the AFL fixture I note that Essendon are again playing the Demons in a home game at the MCG. The Bombers have hosted Melbourne in at least the last 4 games at the MCG and have lost 3 of them in circumstances where they have started warm favourites each time. Everyone knows Melbourne perform poorly at Etihad, but we keep playing them at the G. Why? I was also perplexed to note that the Bombers only play 2 Friday night games, both against North Melbourne. While the Bombers didn’t win too many of their Friday night fixtures this year, they put on some pretty good games against Hawthorn, Geelong & Sydney. Speaking from the perspective of my own team, not a great draw in my opinion.

In passing I think Paul Gallen is obviously pretty stupid for his Tweet insulting the NRL chiefs, but a $50,000 fine!! That is hefty and I question if it really fits the crime. $5-10,000 would have sent the same message.

Have a great weekend.

Pelchen out at St Kilda is troubling

pelchyI have said many times before, that if I was in a position to influence an AFL club, the first person I would hire would be Chris Pelchen.

Why? He has a very good pedigree having had stints at Hawthorn (x2) Port Adelaide and St Kilda, he wants to be successful and he has a blue print for putting together a list of players that can take the ultimate step.

I have read quite a few comments on social media from St Kilda supporters saying they are glad he is gone. I would imagine that those supporters felt badly about players that were traded over the last few seasons and about the performance of their Club during that time.

I would suggest that those supporters consider that when Chris took over he was presented with an aging list that, through lack of vision had not been rejuvenated. He also had to deal with a diabolical total player payments problem and ensure that the up and coming young guns were re-contracted before they slipped into free agency. Needless to say he accomplished that and also had time to foster a new market in New Zealand and establish the Saints player academy.  By the way, I have relied on the St Kilda CEO’s summary of what Chris had done for St Kilda in putting that list together.

But, clearly that was not enough and to quote Matt Finnis, the Saints wanted to ‘drive further development in their high performance programs’.

Good luck is all I can say as rebuilding properly is all about timing and careful planning. Areas I think the Saints aren’t good at. I say this as parting company with the Head of Football who has control over the player list several weeks before the AFL draft seems a very strange decision indeed.

Friday musing – AFL trade period, Ryan Griffen, Caulfield Cup….

Chris Barwin HillsThe AFL trade period is over and all the trades that had to be done were done including the Dane Beams & Paddy Ryder deals. As a Bomber supporter I think Collingwood did better than Essendon with their respective “forced” trades, but it helped that they were dealing with Brisbane who had more to offer. It was always going to be hard to prise a decent player out of Port Adelaide at the moment to come to Essendon

I have gathered a bit of information regarding the Ryan Griffen & Allan Christensen trades.

With Griffen, it appears there was a bust up between some of the players and Griffen and his leadership group wanted the coach to sort it out and the coach, quite rightly told them it was a leadership group issue and they should sort it out. They didn’t like it and it caused a lot of division within the club. The Bulldogs now have the key forward they have been after, but it may take a while for Tom Boyd to produce on a regular basis. At least it will take the pressure of Stuart Crameri, who was never more than the third tall in the forward line anyway.

With Christensen it is alleged that he had an affair with a team mate’s partner and she became pregnant. If this rumour is true, then it explains why Geelong traded him without much of a fight. For Geelong to then use the pick they got for him on Rhys Stanley is somewhat of a surprise. Stanley has shown some promise, but a second round draft pick, I don’t think so.

For me the overall winner in the trade period was Hawthorn. They have won the last two premierships, played in the last three Grand Finals and they picked up an All Australian defender in James Frawley. To that throw in a very promising youngster in Jono O’Rourke and the fact that they lost no required players.

Moving on to the races it occurred to me that Lloyd Williams spends a lot of money on importing horses from overseas, but somewhat ironically his best horse at the moment and indeed his best horse for some time in Fawkner in not only locally bred, but bred from a stallion, Reset, that Lloyd used to own. Perhaps he should concentrate on the local market instead of spending so much on overseas horses!

Well Rich Enuff came unstuck last week, but on that run I don’t think he will lose too many admirers. He beat everything else in the race quite easily and he rallied once the other horse went past him and pushed him right to the line. Perhaps the 1600 metres was a bit too far, but not by much. The colts ran about a second faster than the fillies in the corresponding race and they were just shaded by the time recorded by Trust in a Gust in the Toorak Handicap. There is a Group 1 race out there for Rich Enuff and he is now being set for a sprint at the Flemington carnival.

My place tip for this weeks main race the Caulfield Cup is Big Memory. In the Herbert Power last week over the same track & distance of the cup he recorded a time of 2.26.68 which is good enough to win just about any Caulfield Cup and he drops a kilo on that run. Not only that, he also did a lot wrong in that race and held the race despite a protest.

Have a great weekend!