Hawks hold on for huge win over the Dogs

Hawks hold on for huge win over the Dogs
Hawks hold on for huge win over the Dogs

THE PRESSURE has gone up another notch at Whitten Oval after Hawthorn held on for a major upset win over the Western Bulldogs.

Hawks captain James Sicily led superbly after suffering a dislocated shoulder early in the game and kicked what turned out to be the winning goal in Sunday’s 14.14 (98) to 14.7 (91) win at Marvel Stadium.

Bulldogs young gun Jamarra Ugle-Hagan was paid a free kick late in the game and had a chance to level the scores, but his shot hit the behind post for out of bounds on the full and it proved the Bulldogs’ last chance, with Hawthorn clearing out of defense then scoring a behind on the siren.

The Hawks’ second win of the season comes a week after being outclassed by top side Sydney by 76 points.

The Bulldogs bounced Hawthorn with the first three goals of the game in the opening five minutes.

But the Hawks steadied and, with debutant Calsher Dear kicking his first goal, they only trailed by five points at the first change.

Dear is the son of Hawthorn premiership player and Norm Smith medalist Paul Dear, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2022.

His mother Cherie flew in from a European holiday early this morning to watch him play.

Sicily was in agony after being crunched in a first-quarter marking contest and left the field, but he returned at half-time and the key defender went forward.

The Hawks hit the front early in the second term and stayed there until midway through the fourth, when three Bulldogs goals put them back in front.

But majors to Jack Ginnivan and Sicily put the pressure back on the Bulldogs.

Bailey Williams kicked his second to reduce the margin to six points in the final frantic minutes, but that was the last goal of the game.

Dogs Captain Marcus Bontempelli was mighty in a losing cause with 26 possessions, seven clearances and two goals, while Jai Newcombe also impressed in the midfield for Hawthorn and teammate Connor Macdonald kicked three goals.

Dear Dad, this one’s for you
Everyone loves a goal on debut, and when the goalkicker is the sound of a club premiership hero it’s guaranteed to get the fans screaming with delight. But when that flag champion passed away two years before getting a chance to see his offspring wearing the jumper at the top level, the emotions are going to run at peak level. When 1991 Norm Smith medalist Paul Dear died in July 2022 his son Calsher was 16 years old and not considered a likely AFL level player, but the youngest of Paul’s three sons has been on a continuous upward curve, so few were surprised when he kicked the Hawks’ second goal on Sunday and gave the side – and all football supporters with a heartbeat – an emotional lift. As the commentary team said Dear had “an angel riding on his right shoulder” and the wishes of thousands under his wings.

Fast start or false start?
There have been plenty of question marks over the Bulldogs this year, with a bit of extra attention thrown on the club by Sam Draper’s comments throughout the week, so it was always going to be interesting to see in what frame of mind they started Sunday’s clash . Fifteen seconds after the opening bounce it looked like the answer was through as Laitham Vandermeer slotted the first goal of the game – one of the quickest starts ever. With three on the board in the first three minutes things looked good, but by the end of the afternoon there were as many questions around life at the Kennel as there had been pre-match – maybe more. At least Dogs fans had a moment to believe, even if it was just a moment.

Jack’s done it all, yet we know there’ll be more
Has there been a more eventful first 50 games? Since being taken by Collingwood in the 2020 rookie draft, Jack Ginnivan has been an immediate polariser of fans, won an ANZAC Day Medal with a five-goal performance, effectively changed a rule interpretation in a manner that took Kevin Bartlett more than 400 games to achieve, won a Premiership medallion and been traded to the club he loved as a child. And in typical fashion he finished a quiet game on Sunday with the goal to snatch back the lead for the final time. Whether we get another 10 years or just 10 matches out of Ginnivan no-one knows, but however long the ride lasts, we can be sure there’ll be headlines along the way.

WESTERN BULLDOGS 5.1 6.3 8.7 14.7 (91)
HAWTHORN 4.2 7.5 9.9 14.14 (98)

GOALS
Western Bulldogs: Vandermeer 2, Naughton 2, Williams 2, Bontempelli 2, English 2, Ugle-Hagan 2, Richards, Darcy,
Hawthorn: Macdonald 3, Gunston 2, Dear 2, Weddle, Ward, Newcombe, Moore, Meek, Sicily, Ginnivan

BEST
Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, English, Dale, Treloar, Harmes, Richards
Hawthorn: Sicily, Impey, Meek, Nash, Moore, Newcombe

INJURIES
Western Bulldogs: TBC
Hawthorn: Sicily (shoulder)

SUBSTITUTES
Western Bulldogs:
Oskar Baker, replaced Charlie Clarke in the third quarter
Hawthorn:
Nick Watson, replaced Cam Mackenzie in the third quarter

Crowd: 29,555 at Marvel Stadium

 
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