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Footy Flashbacks: Round 7

Jason Dunstall (pictured in 1992) kicked 17 goals the last time we met Richmond in a Round 7 match.

THE LAST time Hawthorn played Richmond in Round 7 was in 1992 - and the game saw one of the greatest individual performances of all time. 

Jason Dunstall kicked 17 goals, falling just one short of Fred Fanning’s VFL-AFL record of 18, but bettering the previous Hawthorn record of 16 set by Peter Hudson in 1969.

A Waverley Park crowd of 26,789 saw Dunstall kick six in the first quarter, five in the second, two in the third and four in the last. By the end of the game, his 17.5 was part of a team score of 25.22 (172), which easily accounted for Richmond’s 14.9 (93). 

There were occasions late in the game when Richmond had three players on Dunstall and, in one instance Dean Anderson was looking to pass to Dunstall to give him an opportunity to kick an 18th, but instead had to shoot himself. When the teams met again in Round 22, Dunstall booted a further 12 goals, making it a total of 29 against the Tigers in 1992.

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Anyone who thinks last Saturday’s big loss to the GWS Giants means Hawthorn cannot win the Premiership should take a closer look at Hawthorn history.

In 1991, the Hawks lost the opening game of the season to Adelaide at Football Park by 86 points and followed up six weeks later in a home game at Princes Park going down to West Coast by 82 points. By the end of September, the Hawks had turned the tables, thrashing the Eagles by 53 points in the Grand Final to deliver the club’s ninth Premiership.

In 1986, Hawthorn produced a shocker in Round 18, losing to their nemesis in the previous two Grand Finals, Essendon, by 87 points at Windy Hill. Yet, when it mattered, Essendon were eliminated in the first week of the finals, while Hawthorn won the flag. Other sizable defeats in Hawthorn Premiership seasons include ones to St Kilda in 1978 and to North Melbourne in 1983 by 56 and 51 points respectively.

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As has been mentioned quite a bit in the media, the score of 24.14 (158) which Hawthorn conceded to GWS Giants last Saturday was the highest the Hawks have conceded since 2005.

Back in Round 13 2005, reigning premier Port Adelaide booted a massive 29.14 (188) on their way to a 117-point victory against the Hawks in Alastair Clarkson’s first season. In the intervening 11 years, the highest scores conceded by the Hawks were 145 (2006), 143 (2009), 141 (2007), 137 (2005 and 2012) and 136 (2006).

What has not been mentioned in the media is that, in the period between conceding its last two 150-plus scores, Hawthorn recorded 14 such scores of its own. These scores were headed by 197 against Port Adelaide in 2011, 193 versus GWS in 2012 and two scores of 180, against Carlton in 2007 and Essendon in 2012.

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Kieran Lovell could be the answer of an interesting trivia question in years to come. He will be the answer to the question who was the first player born after the 1996 merger vote to make his debut for the club. This season’s other debutant Marc Pittonet was born in June 1996, prior to the merger vote which makes Lovell - born on 16 May 1997 - the first post-merger debate debut.

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Hawthorn has played Richmond 153 times for 68 wins and 85 losses, the deficit being wholly accounted for by Hawthorn losing the first 21 games between the two clubs from 1925 to 1936. The Hawks’ best sequences of wins against Richmond were 16 (1985-94) and 10 (1959-64).

Despite the perception that Richmond is Hawthorn’s bogey team, the Hawks have still won seven of their last 11 matches against the Tigers. However, what is striking is that the four losses came in seasons (2008, 2012, 2013 and 2015) when Hawthorn went onto play in the Grand Final and were by significant margins of 29, 62, 41 and 18.

The sequence of losing to Richmond in years when the Hawks made the Grand Final has one exception which was 2014, when Hawthorn thrashed Richmond by 66 points in Round 6.

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Hawthorn’s Round 7 record is 44 wins, 46 losses and one draw. Hawthorn has won its last five Round 7 games, against Port Adelaide (2011), Melbourne (2012), Sydney (2013), St Kilda (2014) and Melbourne again last season. The 1970s brought much Round 7 happiness - the Hawks won eight consecutive Round 7 matches from 1971 to 1978.

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Thirty years ago, in Round 7 1986, Hawthorn defeated glamour team Sydney by 33 points, kicking an inaccurate 18.25 (133) to 15.10 (100). The two outstanding players for Hawthorn were Robert Dipierdomenico, who secured the three Brownlow votes in what became his medal-winning year, and Terry Wallace whose 39 disposals had the better of Greg Williams in the centre. Other good players were Rod Lester-Smith, Chris Langford, Gary Buckenara and Colin Robertson. 

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Forty years ago, in Round 7 1976, Hawthorn introduced a pair of debutants for the match against Melbourne at the MCG. The two players were Graeme Spark and Ian Paton. Forward Spark made a promising debut booting two goals from his eight kicks. In contrast, ruckman Paton as 20th man, only came onto the ground in the last quarter to replace captain, Don Scott, and did not get a stat. The debuts did not prove accurate guides to their careers as Spark played just one further game, while Paton played a total of 155 games and was a member of the 1978 and 1983 Premiership teams.

After a first loss of the season the previous week, Hawthorn also made a slow start against Melbourne, trailing by three goals at quarter time. From there, the Hawks gradually gained the ascendancy before finishing with a 8.5 to 2.4 final term to win by 48 points. Michael Moncrieff kicked nine goals, but remarkably this only had him ranked sixth in the list of best players behind Peter Knights, Geoff Ablett, Kelvin Moore, Barry Rowlings and Michael Tuck. 

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs