A New Year, but same old story as hawks put dingoes to the sword.
After a cold and bitter Toronto Winter, Humber South looks comparatively spectacular Friday night as the 2013 reigning premiers Broadview Hawks took on the Dingoes in the traditional Round one grand final rematch.
With lots of new faces for both teams (and shiny new jumpers for the hawks) the first serious hit out promised to be an interesting affair, with both teams acutely aware of the message a victory would send to the rest of the comp. The Hawks, looking vastly more organized and focused than the pre season hit out (first time in history everyone made it to the ground an hour prior to first bounce?) were determined to show that there were no premiership hangovers in Broadview, and the Dingoes, stung by their 2013 runners up placing, were eager to show they had what it took in 2014, and wanted to exact revenge on the team east of the DVP.
The Hawks has seven debutants in the line up, and welcomed back umpire and photographer’s favourite Coggsy to the engine room, with Shutts back in his familiar territory, patrolling the 50m arc. Trees was back in his familiar position of full back, and “Mr Belt” Nate was back in the attacking half, and keen to bust out his signature goal celebration ridiculousness. While technically his second year, this scribe was particularly excited to see the “HIV” in action, with Aids starting on the field for the first time in over 13 months due to injury. After some early confusion with what to do with the grippo, and shitting his new shorts at the prospect of starting on the wing, Aids quickly settled down and started to focus on the task at hand.
The Hawks, enjoying close to a full bench, were keen to work out the rotations early, giving newcomer and Afjal lookalike (just with bigger pipes) Hassan a run early, and old timer Jimmy Shutts an opportunity to get within 60 yards of the ball at least once this season.
And it was the hawks that got out of the blocks early, kicking two quick ones, one to Shutts, and the other to Gareth, converting making a strong tackle in the goal square, igniting the building crowd early. Not to be content with just one, Gareth bobbed up again with a second goal of the quarter not long afterwards.
Aids was playing like a man inspired, crunching blokes in packs, and using his height to great effect in marking situations.
Sting was working hard in the middle, giving as much feed as possible to a new look centerline of Killa, Coggsy, Cutch and Oli flying in from the centre square, forcing the ball forward as much as possible.
Scotty, a more tempered, relaxed soul this year by all accounts, inspired his teammates with an early candidate for mark of the year, ignoring his personal safely by going back with the flight of the ball into an oncoming pack. While a scrappy first quarter was not unexpected, with both sides feeling each other (and their new teammates out) the score line was a little surprising. The Dingoes failing to register a major, and in big trouble early in front of a growing crowd of interested Roos and Rebels players.
At quarter time, the hawks led 4.1.25 to the Dingoes 0.2.2.
As we knew they would, the Dingoes came out of the blocks early in the second, showing more poise and class than in the first stanza, and got the ball forward multiple times, forcing Pabs, Huss and Trees into some work for the evening. Slowly but surely it felt like the Dingoes were clawing their way back into the game, before a “settler” from Coggsy against the flow of play, and a cracking goal from Jimmy Shutts on the boundary line restored the quarter time lead. While still in front by a comfortable margin, it became clear to the Hawks that this game was not going to be a walk in the park.
Half Time scores were Hawks 7.6.48 to the Dingoes 2.5.17.
The second half wasn’t pretty, with both sides feeling the effects of a lack of early season fitness, the game starting to turn into a scrap. With not a lot of action to speak of until a beautiful run from half back, executed by Nate, but assisted by Aids saw the hawks show a touch of class, and raise doubts in the crowd if the Dingoes had it in them to fight back into the contest. Cam was starting to take some strong pack marks, and were it not for some poor kicking, would have had three or four for the quarter. The good news for the Hawks, and bad news for the rest of the league, is that the boy is a man mountain, and his kicking will only improve.
At three quarter time, it was the Hawks
9.10.64 to the Dingoes 5.5.35.
Sensing that an early goal to the Dingoes would give them some oxygen, the Hawks were determined to kick the early 4th quarter goal, and ice the game early. Shutts had a few chances, but it wasn’t until Aids brought down a dingo defender in the goal square with a quality tackle that the Hawks had a guilt edged opportunity to put the game away.
With the weight of expectation on his shoulders, Aids duly converted for his first, and Hawk players mobbed the young Canadian.
The remaining 10 or so minutes of the game could be considered “junk time” with both sides trading goals, but neither team delusional enough to think the game was in doubt; the Hawks coasting to their first win of the season and sending a message to the rest of the league that they are desperately hungry for back to back flags.
Final Scores: Hawks 12.13.85 Dingoes 7.5.47
Goals: Shutts 4, Gareth, Cam 2, Metro, Aids, Jimmy Shutts, Coggsy.
Best: Shutts, Cam, Killa, Coggy, Trees, Gareth, Oli, Aids.
Next week is a massive game against one of the only two teams to beat us last year, and a team that is rumoured to have improved considerably over the off season, the Blues.