Match Report: Wimbledon Hawks vs London Swans - Pre-Season Match
The boys arrived at Shoreditch Oval in good spirits, on an overcast afternoon last Saturday, to prepare for what was to be a hotly contested affair against the London Swans in the traditional preseason game, the “Battle of the Birds”
For many this was the first time they had pulled on the famous Brown and Gold and everyone to a man was looking forward to the first competitive hit out of the year. Croley was so keen on getting to the ground on time he picked up the first fine of the day by arriving on a Boris bike. The footy trip coffers would be laden with her majesty’s gold come the end of the day.
The game got under way at a frenetic pace with both midfields scrapping for clean possessions. It was the Swans who took early initiative kicking accurately inside 50 on successive occasions but only taking a point from the opportunity. The Hawks just starting to find their groove…
The arm wrestle continued as both teams fought for clean entry and it was “Sticky Hands” Milney who opened the Hawks account with tremendous work off the ground in the forward pocket and kicking truly, aided by intense pressure from the small forwards. It was around this time that fine #2 of the day was paid as the big Skewer chalked up a Falcon, the first this year. Cha-ching!
The first quarter drew to a close with the Hawks on top. The half back line of Suth, Nath Pettigrove and Croley were stopping any and all Swans forward momentum and Leachy was being the proverbial pest amongst the Swans’ small forwards. Wellsy capped the quarter with a goal to send us in to the first break with our beaks in front.
With the breeze in our faces it was the second quarter that would set us up for the rest of the day. Cannonball’s tremendous entrance to the game saw him racking up the possessions on the “Hollywood” wing of Shoreditch Oval as he mopped up anything in the air or on the ground that came his way.
The Skewer started this year as he finished 2013, with 95% of the tap going in our favour and the midfield were clearly enjoying first use. Greggy Horgan, Fev, Benny, Pauly and Gav all getting in amongst the action and our first clearance saw the ball through the big sticks (although for the life of me I cannot remember who got the final touch, apologies). All the while the Hawks defenders stood strong with help from Richo and Jinksy who were running the hard yards back into defence. Superb linkages of play starting from the kick-ins with Rossco showed how composed and settled the back line was, a theme that was to continue throughout the match.
With so many blokes playing their first match for the Hawks it was great to see the team gel as a unit and produce some quite brilliant passages of play. Clearly the work at training was paying off and blokes coming off the bench were immediately in to the game and putting the opposition to the sword. First gamer, Matt “Grizzly” James was finding plenty of space on the forward flanks. His clean marking and tidy left foot made sure the ball entered the forward 50 directly into the sticky mits of Milney who was clearly up and about after adding another to his tally. The Swans were limited to a solitary goal in the second quarter as the Hawks extended their lead through the boot of Tony “Who’s The Boss” Demaio.
Time for half time refreshments and a talk from coach Milky who was very impressed with the “mongrel” we were showing at the ball.
Suthy, the gentleman he is, agreed to umpire the second half so a reshuffle in the back six saw Croley move to CHB and Gav come in on the flank to gather the crumbs. Inspired tactics from the coaches as the defensive unit didn’t lose the solidarity they had worked for in the first half of play.
Bouche was now finding some serious space and damaging the Swans but what happened next had players on both sides in awe. Big Jim Zouch (aka Jay-Z) in his first game for the club and in fact, his first game of footy, used his giant frame to out-position his man and clunk a one handed grab straight from Jarrod Roughead’s highlight reel. His turn, swivel and kick off a step sent the ball into the goal square, where the forwards pounced and tucked it through for another major.
The Swans who seemed to be undermanned on the day, were grateful to hear the final whistle, their final kick after the siren fell short of the goals, typifying the day they had. The hungrier and well drilled Hawks continued on celebrating their 46 point win with a few pints at the Swans local. Thanks must go to the London Swans for pulling a full team together on the day. Their lack of an interchange bench always meant they were going to struggle against a 30 man Hawks squad and we hope the tradition of the annual “Battle of the Birds” continues on in the seasons to come.
Join the Hawks for Season 2014!
Welcome to the Wimbledon Hawks
2013 has been an enjoyable season for the Hawks. Despite not making the finals in either grade the Premiership team enjoyed its most successful season since 2007. We're aiming to build on this success going into 2014. If you're interested in getting involved with the club for the 2014 season please get in contact. There may not be any footy on at the moment but there's still plenty going on at the club. So come on and get involved!
As a founding member of the British Australian Rules Football League (BARFL), now known as AFL London, we remain a strong and integral part of promoting AFL in the UK. Our ideologies have changed and expanded over the years and we have become more than just a sporting club. With a dedicated committee in place, we don't just provide you with the opportunity to play footy with a great bunch of blokes, we are now able to provide all players and supporters a wide range of services.
We organise fantastic events throughout the year which include trips to destinations in Europe, bar crawls, home game BBQ's, our infamous Ladies Day, Epsom Derby and parties throughout the summer to keep your social calendar right on track.
Sponsorship & Marketing
The Hawks network expands the globe and we want to utilise your business to gain exposure for the club and promote your services. If you are interested in sponsoring the Hawks and getting involved then please contact our Marketing Team.
Accommodation & Work
The Hawks understand how difficult London life can be, especially when you do not have the support of family and friends. We help our members find accommodation and work and provide guidance to help kick-start life in the UK.
We pride ourselves in our ability to teach new players the skills and knowledge needed to be a successful AFL footballer. Not only will you become fitter and stronger from our training sessions, you will become more confident in life and realise the importance of Team Work and discover your voice. Join us for a new adventure!
If you have played the great game of AFL at a good level then your experience is vital in sustaining our competitiveness on the field. The Hawks would like to utilise your talents to improve inexperienced players skills and abilities while extending your own. We offer experienced players the opportunity to take training sessions, coach games and offer advice on all facets of the game.