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The Glenferrie Ghost: Round 9

The Glenferrie Ghost  May 18, 2017 11:31 AM

The Glenferrie Ghost - a passionate Hawks follower - will pen a weekly column for in 2017.

The Glenferrie Ghost - a passionate Hawks follower - will pen a weekly column for in 2017.

My mate Angus is a simple, uncomplicated bloke when it comes to footy. If you’re with the Hawks, you’re in. If you’re not, mind the door doesn’t whack you on the backside on the way out.

His is a deep, some would say slightly disturbing love of Hawthorn and all who sail in her. You don’t need to be a premiership player – or a player at all for that matter – to be a deadset icon in Gus’s eyes. He once had a dog called Bob, named after our legendary trainer Bob Yeomans. When someone with a sharp eye for detail pointed out that the canary he’d painted with brown stripes and christened Huddo was actually a girl, he simply renamed her Stephanie after our goalkicking great’s wife.

If Angus had been getting a new fish for the tank this time last year, the prospect of it being named Fages would have been low single-figure odds. He couldn’t have loved Clarko’s right-hand man more if his 263 Tassie footy league games had been played out of Glenferrie in brown and gold, or his 1988 Devonport premiership medal had been won on the MCG against Melbourne and not over Glenorchy at North Hobart Oval.

“He’s a bloody legend, Fages,” Angus was heard to burble, late on grand final Saturday night 2015. “These three flags are his as much as anyone’s. I’ll love him until the day I die.”

A year later the Brisbane Lions appointed Chris Fagan their new senior coach, and Gus turned like Tom Mitchell slipping away from a stoppage.

This isn’t a new phenomenon in Angus’s footy-following world. He still screams “traitor” at the TV every time Rodney Eade’s scone comes on, even though it’s almost 30 years since Rocket took his four Hawthorn premierships’ worth of experience north to give the lowly Bears a lift.

When Mark Williams retired after a miserable season at Essendon, Gus used to drive up to Ballan if we had a spare Saturday arvo – not to offer support to a former premiership hero, but to stand against the fence and let Willo know he’d kicked nearly as many goals in the 2008 grand final as he managed in a whole season in red and black.

At the end of 2010 Campbell Brown went from being referred to as “My Boy Browny” to “The Turncoat Son Of That Loudmouth From Perth”.

Yep, St Kilda’s got nothing on Gus when it comes to sledging.

Which brings us to Launceston last Saturday arvo, and the slightly embarrassing sight of Angus hanging over the Lions race as our much-loved former lieutenant made his way off the ground having lost to our Hawks by 38 points. “Get back to Brisvegas, Fagan, you’ve never done anything in Tassie!” was a tad uncalled for. Not to mention highly disrespectful. And factually inaccurate.

That was a moment when we could have used the cone of silence Fages reckoned had come down on he and Clarko’s friendship in the lead-up to last Saturday’s game. The embarrassment had me reaching for that cold beer Clarko vowed they’d share no matter what the result. But as results go in what’s been unusually lean times, it sure was something to drink to.

The past fortnight seems to have changed Angus – or perhaps the catalyst was our gloomy start to 2017 that was so at odds with the fun-in-the-sun Hawk fans have known for so long. By nature Gus is a frosted-premiership-pint-glass-half-empty sort of bloke, who even in our hat-trick winning heyday was convinced the wind was about to change, the blue sky would fall in at any moment, or at the very least Hodgey would suffer a bizarre loss of his powers that medicos would attribute to eating too much diet food.

So it was something of a surprise to see Angus on the flight home, leaning across the aisle telling a stranger that we’re only two games off fourth spot, our form over the past month is better than Adelaide’s, and if we win another nine on the trot we’ll have equalled the 11-game run we went on through the middle of the hat-trick years that included the 2014 flag.

Read: Who's in the mix for Round 9?

I pointed out that Cryil, Stratts and Chip Frawley finished the Lions game barely able to walk, and that Collingwood was bound to be fired up to make amends for just falling short against GWS. Angus shot back that with Ryan Burton and Daniel “The Killer Choir Boy” Howe leading the charge, there could hardly be a better time to give some of the older blokes a rest. And besides, our Box Hill Hawks got the job done again on the weekend, so there’s replacements aplenty kicking the door down.

There’s not much can be done with Angus when he gets on a roll like this. By Saturday night he was even back on the Fagan bandwagon when we got home in time to catch the reply of the post-match pressers, and our former footy boss said of our Hawks, “I think they’re back on the up.”

“Good judge, Fages,” Gus said. “I’ve always loved him.”

Read: The Glenferrie Ghost Round 7