Depending on your viewpoint of Sunday’s match at the boutique stadium in Tasmania’s second city, you might have walked away with a distinctive memory of Hawthorn’s 58-point win over Brisbane.
There’s no real nose-bleed section at Aurora. There’s the ground-level bleachers and then there’s the ones slightly above ground level on the western side of the ground.
It’s those slightly elevated seats that Andrew Newbold and his well-heeled Hawks-supporting mates would have occupied, digesting both the football and the posh nosh served up at the President’s luncheon preceding play.
Newbold had also given the members something to chew over – cerebrally speaking, that is – following a thinly-veiled dig at AFL Tasmania during his address to the gathering.
In a manner akin to that of a hormonally charged (male) teenager who is gettingsome but appears frustrated not to be getting more, AFL Tasmania had last week made a declaration as to its perfect partner… one that ventures below the 40thparallel twice as often as the Hawks do currently.
Newbold, playing the part of the pretty girl who knows she’s holding all the aces, made his club’s stance abundantly clear by stating that Hawthorn would have no place on the Apple Isle as soon as the state was given ‘its own’ team.
Reading between the lines and with a healthy dash of cynicism in the mix, his broadside may have been translated as follows: “C’mon, babe, you know you’re doing alright out of this relationship, and I’m bummed out that you’re not satisfied, but what’s a girl to do? It’s not like I really need you, you know.”
As a result of this board room-level lovers tiff, the more devoted Tassie Hawks fans may have had the odd dark thought circling during play.
And while Buddy Franklin’s second-quarter brace of remarkable long-range goals might have been enough to remove said consternation – at least momentarily – an even darker thought may well have occupied the minds of patrons with the best view of his second effort, namely those diehards in brown and yellow scarves congregated in the new stand, close to the players’ race.
The euphoria that would have surged forth as Franklin collected the pill 60m out, ran towards the junction between 50m arc and left-forward flank boundary and sent a wickedly curving drop punt over the goal umpire’s hat could have been replaced with another emotion altogether.
Because the way things are shaping up, ‘Franko’ might be dobbing this kind of mercurial effort against Hawthorn next year.
And such is the mood among Hawks fans, one could be forgiven for thinking it was a lay down misere that Big Lance will be Giant Buddy by year end.
Pies supporters went through the same thing regarding Travis Cloke last season and look where that one ended. Buddy still has plenty of Hawk in him… just sayin’.
The man with the best view in the house, Al Clarkson, has also been rumoured as a potential summer departure from Waverley, but he seems less likely to leave than his trump card.
Given his glowing praise of backman Josh Gibson on Sunday afternoon, it’s also clear the little maestro is in love with the supporting cast and not just the bona fide superstars.
Midway through the third quarter, Gibson had raced back with the flight, launching himself towards the contest in a bid to disrupt the ball, only to be knocked base over apex by an onrushing Lion and come crashing to earth on his ear.
The crowd on the open terrace in front of the replay screen in the north east corner of Aurora were just metres from the collision – arguably the most visually spectacular moment of the match.
Had the sweeping rain that marred the first half held off for the day, many more would have been on the terrace with the perfect view of Gibson’s brave act.
As it was, though, the gathering was significantly thinner in that part of the ground than it had been for the opening bounce.
But you get the feeling that everyone present on Sunday will have had the ‘perfect’ view of Gibson’s big tumble and the story might grow a leg or two over time: “…yeah, mate, I was there the day Gibbo dislocated his skull, mate. Bloody brave, mate. He just kind of shook it off and played on…”
HAWTHORN 3.8 8.9 15.15 21.17 (143)
BRISBANE LIONS 1.2 5.5 7.7 12.13 (85)
Hawthorn: Franklin 4, Roughead 4, Savage 3, Breust 3, Hale, Simpkin, Lewis, Smith, Gunston, Shiels, Hill
Brisbane Lions: Brown 4, Golby 2, Rockliff, Hanley, Rich, Black, Yeo, Lisle
Hawthorn: Sewell, Mitchell, Smith, Roughead, Franklin
Brisbane Lions: Moloney, Leuenberger, Redden, Hanley, Brown
Umpires: Armstrong, Jeffrey, Fisher
Official crowd: 15,796 at Aurora Stadium
Our votes: 3 Sewell (Haw), 2 Moloney (Bris), 1 Gibson (Haw)
First published here