BOTP: Millenium Lion Taming

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We are officially over the halfway point of the season (my goodness where has the time gone) and once again, it is classic game review time.

Looking through the history between the two sides, Hawthorn have a pretty strong history of success against the Lions, regardless of ladder position.

With an overall 20-17 win/loss record, there’s hope for optimism, come Saturday afternoon. 

There have been some fantastic wins recently and in the past but I have found a game that may not be discussed as frequently as it should.

Ben Dixon of the Hawks looks on after losing the round 18 AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Hawthorn Hawks at the Subiaco Oval on...
Ben Dixon got us off to a great start in the game against the Lions | Getty Images

Let me take you back to the year 2000, and the Hawks were starting their first campaign under premiership Hawk Peter Schwab, after parting ways with former coach Ken Judge.

After losing the first two games to Collingwood and Carlton, Schwab was left to wait for his first win as coach but the task would not become easier in Round 3.

Coming off a preliminary final loss in 1999, the Brisbane Lions were on the cusp of one of the most dominant eras of all time, boasting stars on every single line.

With a beautiful day at the MCG, the scene was set for a seriously good game and both teams delivered on this promise.

It was the boys in Brown and Gold who hit the ground running first, kicking six goals in the first quarter and playing some electrifying football that was synonymous with this squad.

Daniel Harford for Hawthorn argues with the umpire in the match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Carlton Blues, during round 17 of the AFL season,...
28 disosals from “DH” was a great effort but we wonder what he was telling the umpire | Getty Images

Two first-quarter goals by Ben Dixon helped to light the spark, as well as strong ruck play from Paul Salmon in the middle of the ground.

The second quarter resulted in a serious shift in momentum, with Hawthorn legend and former premiership Pie coach Leigh Matthews urging his Lions to another level against his former side.

Brisbane slammed on seven goals to the Hawks two, flexing the star power that saw them finish a game away from a grand final berth the year before.

A significant moment in the second quarter occurred for the Hawks and that was the injury to Paul Salmon, ruling him out for the remainder of the game.

The offensive onslaught by the Lions allowed them to reverse a 19-point quarter-time deficit into a 12-point halftime lead.

The young Hawthorn core, consisting of 15 players aged 25 or younger, struggled to stop the flow of the Lions and the momentum was strong.

This momentum carried through into the third quarter with the Lions kicking three of the first four goals and stretching the margin out to 25 points late into the third quarter.

Enter John Barker!

My first ever favourite player as a kid stood up and kicked two late goals in the third quarter, bridging the gap back from 25 points to 12 at three-quarter time.

The last quarter was full of entertainment, with goals galore and luckily for the Hawks fans in the stands, the majority of them were for the brown and gold.

Daniel Chick for Hawthorn prepares for the AFL Semi-final match bewteen Port Adelaide and Hawthorn at Glenferrie Oval in Melbourne, Australia....
Daniel Chick tied with Nick Holland for the 2000 best and fairest and what a player he was, with his trademark dash and forward nous | Getty Images


It was a five goal to two last quarter, with the Hawks kicking the last three to run over the top of the Lions and set up a ripper last quarter. 

John Barker bought the margin back to five points, Richard Taylor kicked the go-ahead goal and Kris Barlow sealed the deal with 70 seconds left to put Hawthorn up by seven points.

This would be the final margin when the final siren blew and new coach Peter Schwab would finally be able to celebrate his first win as head coach.

The final scores would read:

Hawthorn: 16.14.110

Brisbane: 15.13.103

Peter Schwab the Coach of the Hawks in thought during the round 13 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and Hawthorn Hawks played at the Gabba,...
It took three weeks to get Schwabby his first win as coach but it was sweet as the Hawks pipped the Lions | Getty Images

Captain Shane Crawford was a force, while coming off his 1999 Brownlow medal campaign and having 29 disposals, with midfield mate Daniel Harford having 28 disposals (including a ridiculous 15 in the last quarter) and kicked a goal.

John Barker led the goal kicking with four goals, with three of them being crucial and coming out late in the game, while Ben Dixon kicked three.

Symbolic of the team around this time, 17 of the 22 players had double digit disposals, with a very even performance overall.

Hawthorn would go on in season 2000 and reach their first finals campaign since 1996, winning a final and going forward to relative success under Peter Schwab despite not winning a premiership.

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