Hawthorn AFC: 10.16-76
MHSOBFC Maroon: 3.4-22
The Devs came down to Rathmines Road Reserve full of confidence, having dispatched a hapless West Brunswick the week before. Buoyed by their success, the feeling was that the team could put in a shift and cause an upset over the undefeated Hawthorn team. However, the undefeated ladder leaders would prove to be a much sterner test.
From the outset; the back six, led by Jeremy Chadwick and James Timson; were inundated with action; the Hawk’s midfield pressure and switching play putting the emphasis on keeping the ball out of the big sticks. Tireless running by the midfield, in particular Jamie ‘the better brother’ Radcliffe Smith and Ben Britbart; meant that when we did manage to get the ball forward; we were able to maintain pressure in the stoppages; and though we went into the second quarter scoreless; the feeling was we had weathered the first storm.
Though the second quarter brought 23 points for the Hawks and 7 points for the ‘Corns, the quarter was evened out by incredible defensive effort. Continued leads and excellent ball movement from our forward core coming up the ground, from the likes of Stephen Raikes and Matty Glover, provided us with options; unfortunately, we couldn’t capitalise on our entries; with the defensive play of the Hawks being to our detriment.
Coming out at half time; a change was needed and delivered; with our most competitive quarter of the game. Although our forward entry was mitigated by some errant kicking and some hard contests; we fought tooth and nail to play the game on our terms. Rebounding off the back was starting to click; with Liam ‘Divine’ Devine and Alec ‘The Stick’ Webster creating great movement. Rob Rae played outstanding; hitting up teammates time after time on kick outs; and providing solid defensive cover.
For the majority of the last quarter; we won the battle. Darcy Wilmott; on debut, provided some polish to slot home a goal from close range; and there was plenty of joy for an Eddie Betts special from Byron ‘wishes he was a forward’ Gunn. Sadly, as unbeaten teams tend to do; The Hawks stepped up an extra gear in the last 10 minutes, and benefitting from the extra legs; they, to their credit, finished the game out with some late goals. Regardless, playing as a team with 11 out of their usual squad, to compete and beat a champion team for periods of the game provides us with plenty of upside and positives, and set us in good stead if a rematch is on the cards come Finals time.
Goals: D. Wilmott, B. Gunn, S. Raikes
Best: J. Radcliffe-Smith, J. Chadwick, B. Gunn, R. Rae, S. Raikes, A. Webster