Hawks open AFL season with big win

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    Hawthorn’s AFL season of great expectations opened with a pulsating 22-point win over Collingwood at the MCG on Friday night.

    Lance Franklin kicked five goals as the Hawks eventually broke clear of last year’s grand finalists to win 20.17 (137) to 16.19 (115).

    The match lived up to its billing as the clash of the opening round and it attracted a near-capacity crowd of 78,464.

    The last time these teams met, Collingwood beat Hawthorn by three points in a preliminary final result that broke the Hawks’ hearts.

    Hawthorn are widely tipped to make this year’s grand final.

    The Magpies were left ruing a succession of missed shots on goal when they controlled the first quarter.

    Collingwood kicked three goals early in the final term to take a five-point lead, but the Hawks then sealed the game with a five-goal burst.

    There were 12 lead changes before the Hawks broke clear.

    Defender Grant Birchall and forward Cyril Rioli also starred for Hawthorn, while Collingwood midfielder Scott Pendlebury was arguably best afield and ‘Pies ruckman Darren Jolly was also solid.

    A three-goal spree from Hawthorn, capped by a brilliant snap from Brendan Whitecross, gave them a 26-point lead early in the third term.

    But Collingwood rallied superbly and only trailled by six points at the last change.

    Sam Mitchell first dominated the centre clearances in the third quarter and then Pendlebury was outstanding around the ground to help bring his team back into the game.

    The second term belonged to Rioli, who kicked two goals and took an early contender for mark of the year.

    He was pivotal as the Hawks recovered from a slow start to lead by 15 points at the main break.

    Hawthorn were in trouble during the first term and only Collingwood’s poor goalkicking – they were 0.6 – kept the margin to six points at quarter-time.

    Rioli, playing mainly as a small forward, then started the second term with a towering mark over Heath Shaw.
    His pass set up Whitecross for a goal to level the scores.

    The Magpies then threatened to take control again with two goals, giving them a 13-point lead.

    But Rioli kicked a brilliant goal and that sparked a Hawks surge.

    They kicked seven of the last 10 goals in the second quarter.

    The AFL’s new video review system for scoring decisions passed an early test when a long kick from Hawthorn’s Matthew Suckling found Franklin on the goal line.

    Franklin took a juggling mark and the goal umpire correctly queried whether he had crossed the line before controlling the ball.

    The mark was disallowed and the behind awarded to Suckling.

    Hawks captain Luke Hodge was ruled out on Thursday with a calf muscle injury, while Collingwood counterpart Nick Maxwell was among a long list of front-line Magpies players who were unavailable for the game.

    Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson and Magpies counterpart Nathan Buckley, who made his senior coaching debut, separately said it was a game where the momentum ebbed and flowed throughout.

    They also noted the unusually high number of scoring shots in the game.

    “We were really pleased we were able to gather the momentum in the last part of the game, but it was a real arm wrestle in that regard,” Clarkson said.

    “I don’t think either side play footy in that manner – they’re not sides that allow oppositions to kick 16, 18, 20 goals.

    “That’s probably just a reflection of … round one of the season, players under fatigue, 130 minutes of footy, a pretty warm night and I’d expect that to settle down a bit over the next few weeks.”

    Hawthorn will next play Geelong on Easter Monday and Clarkson thinks Hodge will also miss that game.

    Buckley said the game opened up too much and this worked in the Hawks’ favour.

    “Probably halfway through the second quarter, the game opened up and changed,” he said.

    “If you play an open-field, somewhat uncontested brand of football against a side with the best foot skills in the competition, you’re going to struggle.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (27)

    • March 31st 2012 @ 7:45am
      AndyMack said | March 31st 2012 @ 7:45am | ! Report

      Hawkers looking good. Its a real joy to watch players like Mitchell, Buddy and Cyril cut loose, mind you Pendles was pretty handy as well.

      No premiership medals handed out in March though, bring on a replay in Sept, hopefully in the GF!!!

      • Roar Guru

        March 31st 2012 @ 8:34am
        The Cattery said | March 31st 2012 @ 8:34am | ! Report

        Certainly worthy of a grand final, both teams applied good physical pressure, players like Pendles were able to get some quality ball, but Hawks used it far better and were exceptional around the 50m arc.

        Also an argument to be made that just as Malthouse tweaked Clarkson’s Cluster to win a premiership, Hawthorn might well be the new masters at the forward press – enormous tackling pressure forward of centre.

        • March 31st 2012 @ 11:11am
          stabpass said | March 31st 2012 @ 11:11am | ! Report

          Really was a great game, Hawthorn ATM deserves its favourite status., can’t play like this all year, its a marathon, not a sprint.

          • Roar Guru

            March 31st 2012 @ 11:54am
            The Cattery said | March 31st 2012 @ 11:54am | ! Report

            And stabpass – do you reckon the next Hawthorn meet the pies they’ll be able to score so many goals out of their rear end? 🙂

        • Roar Guru

          March 31st 2012 @ 12:29pm
          The Cattery said | March 31st 2012 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

          Swatta tweeted: Last nights game highlighted the fact that if your team controls the forward press then you control the momentum.

      • March 31st 2012 @ 10:45am
        Westie said | March 31st 2012 @ 10:45am | ! Report

        Replacing Mick Malthouse may end up making Eddie McGuire like a real fool.

        No doubt at all they would have won under Malthouse. The rookie coach just did not make the right moves and you only learn that from instinct.

        • Roar Guru

          March 31st 2012 @ 11:22am
          The_Wookie said | March 31st 2012 @ 11:22am | ! Report

          Buckley si already defensive about the whole thing…thats only going to get worse – and hes got blockbuster after blockbuster coming up – 3 in a row – tigers, blues and bombers.

    • Roar Guru

      March 31st 2012 @ 9:59am
      The_Wookie said | March 31st 2012 @ 9:59am | ! Report

      AFL metro tv figures for this game
      AFL 807k Syd 23k, Mel 467k, Bris 39k, Adel 161k, Per 116k

      For the inevitable comparison: (Metro Secondary Digital FTA only atm courtesy of mediaweek twitter)

      Friday Night NRL rated 26k in Melbourne on GEM (late game rated 20k)
      Friday Night NRL rated 3k in Perth (late game 2k)
      Friday Night AFL rated 23k in Sydney on 7 mate
      Friday Night AFL rated 39k in Brisbane in 7 mate
      The NRL apparently was shown in Adelaide but no figures were supplied by mediaweek

      • Roar Guru

        March 31st 2012 @ 10:18am
        The Cattery said | March 31st 2012 @ 10:18am | ! Report

        Ch 7 would be happy getting 800+k considering FoxFooty is going to pick 250+k.

      • March 31st 2012 @ 10:49am
        Westie said | March 31st 2012 @ 10:49am | ! Report

        NRL in Perth is not looking promising. Only 3k indicates you would get more at a game than watching it on the tele.

      • March 31st 2012 @ 10:58am
        Maximus said | March 31st 2012 @ 10:58am | ! Report

        467K looks low for melbourne even allowing for Fox but we will see no doubt..

        • Roar Guru

          March 31st 2012 @ 11:52am
          The Cattery said | March 31st 2012 @ 11:52am | ! Report

          In Rd 15 last year, Collingwood played Hawthorn and it got 372k in Melbourne, so for ch 7 to get 467k, with Fox also broadcasting live is pretty good.

      • March 31st 2012 @ 2:53pm
        Australian Rules said | March 31st 2012 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

        And good crowds to kick off the first 3 games of the season, almost 200k (approx 38k, 78k and 78k).

    • March 31st 2012 @ 10:13am
      NF said | March 31st 2012 @ 10:13am | ! Report

      Storm against Collingwood wasn’t going to end well hopefully they continue the live games for the Storm but not on Friday nights against high rating opposition it’s like if the Broncos vs Lions were to be on a Friday in QLD it’s pretty obvious what will happen, or the Swans on a Friday vs one of the Sydney teams.

      • Roar Guru

        March 31st 2012 @ 11:49am
        The Cattery said | March 31st 2012 @ 11:49am | ! Report

        That’s right, but I doubt it costs the broadcasters anything to use their secondary stations, so once people understand that that’s a permanent fixture, that it will always be on regardless, sports fans interested in an alternative offering will tune in. There will always be someone somewhere not interested in the main offering.

    • Roar Guru

      March 31st 2012 @ 12:33pm
      The Cattery said | March 31st 2012 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

      Demetriou said on SEN that last night’s game attracted 1.4 million viewers, higher than any FN game from last season. Not sure what figures he is adding up, either it’s the FTA plus Fox figures, or he has access to the 5 City figures PLUS regional ratings – not sure – having seen any other numbers yet apart from the FTA 5 city numbers.

      • Roar Guru

        March 31st 2012 @ 7:41pm
        The_Wookie said | March 31st 2012 @ 7:41pm | ! Report

        If the 1.4 million figure is true – and theres no reason for it not to be since its easily disproved when all the ratings are released – then a lot of people watched this on fox or in the regional areas (only 800k on FTA)

    • Roar Guru

      March 31st 2012 @ 1:16pm
      The Cattery said | March 31st 2012 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

      Demetriou is being interviewed on ABC right now. He’s pleased with the quality of the last two games.
      Talking rules of the game.
      He pretty much favours all the new rules of the last few years. He’s happy they didn’t go down the route of making major changes when the ultra-flood was in operation.
      Talking about possibility of going from 3+1 to 2+2 (interchange rule), looking at all the scientific evidence, but happy with 3+1 at moment.
      160k last 2 games, nearly 200k over first 3 games, plus huge ratings on top of those attendances.
      Game last night had higher ratings than any other game last year except for the finals – and that includes being even higher than the ANZAC Day game.
      Makes sense to start a week earlier than usual to give players 2 byes during the year.
      Currently allowed to start at MCG last weekend of March, but would prefer to start a week earlier, but contract with ACB means MCG needs to be left open just in case Victoria make the Sheffield final – deprives 300K the chance to go to the footy that weekend.

    • March 31st 2012 @ 2:16pm
      ChrisH said | March 31st 2012 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

      What’s the story with Fox Footy ratings? I’ve just signed up purely to watch the footy, and I reckon they would’ve been getting heaps like me. But damned if I can ever find any kind of ratings figures or subscriptions attributed to AFL. Does anyone know?

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