Line in the Sand Match

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2004 AFL Line in the Sand Match
Round 11, 2004
Hawthorn v Essendon
Before the bounce at the MCG.jpg
Hawthorn Essendon
12.8 (80) 24.10 (154)
1 2 3 4
HAW 2.2 (14) 5.3 (33) 7.6 (48) 12.8 (80)
ESS 6.4 (40) 10.5 (65) 19.8 (122) 24.10 (154)
Date 5 June 2004
Stadium MCG
Attendance 42,682
Broadcast in Australia
Network Network Ten

The Line in the Sand match is the unofficial title given to the Round 11, 2004 match between Australian Football League (AFL) clubs Hawthorn and Essendon, which was played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday, 5 June 2004.

A number of incidents in the third quarter led to some fights breaking out all over the ground, eventually turning into a five-minute melee involving all players on the ground.[citation needed] Following the brawl, Essendon kicked fourteen goals to Hawthorn's six to record a 74-point win.

Eighteen players faced charges at the AFL Tribunal from the match on 8 and 9 June 2004, with record suspensions and fines handed out.

Background[edit]

Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Hawthorn experienced a golden era by making every Grand Final from 1983 to 1989 and again in 1991, victorious on five occasions.

During this time, they came up against the Bombers on three occasions - 1983, 1984 and 1985. The Hawks comfortably won in 1983 and the Bombers followed up with back-to-back wins in 1984 and 1985. Throughout this decade, both clubs were known to play hard, attacking brands of football resulting in lots of biffs, bumps and brawls.

Essendon continued to intimidate opposition clubs in the 1990s and into the early years of the 21st century, resulting in more premiership success in 1993 and 2000, and a dominant era over Hawthorn. Essendon entered the match having won nine of the previous ten meetings between the two clubs, by an average margin of 39 points. They were also heavy favourites to win this match, having a 7-3 win-loss record and considered a top-four contender, while Hawthorn was bottom of the ladder with only two wins.

During the match[edit]

Lead up to the brawl[edit]

Hawthorn players were allegedly directed at half time, by Club Director Dermott Brereton who played for the Hawks during the 1980s and early 1990s, to "draw a line in the sand"[1] and take a physical stand against the Bombers to make it clear that they wouldn't take the intimidation any longer. Brereton denied the allegation but admitted to advising senior players "to stand up to any Essendon aggression".[2]

Within the first two minutes of the third quarter, Mark Williams kicked Hawthorn's 6th goal of the match to cut Essendon's lead to 26 points.[3]

Following the centre bounce, several players were on the ground vigorously attempting to gain possession of the ball and clear it for their team. Mark Johnson of Essendon attempted to join in at a stoppage but was quickly removed by a number of Hawthorn players. This led to some wrestling and jumper punches amongst the players with approximately 16 players in the centre square at the time. Channel 10 commentators said that the spirit was "bubbling over a little".

A free kick was awarded to Hawthorn and the ball was quickly kicked forward. The Hawks were unable to take a mark inside their forward 50 and the ball fell into Mark Bolton's hands who was able to clear for the Bombers. He kicked the ball along the southern side of the ground with the aim of reaching Jason Winderlich who, while attempting to mark close to the ground, copped a very hard knock from Hawthorn's Chance Bateman, possibly a knee or hip connecting with his head. A free kick was awarded to Winderlich who was forced from the ground under the blood rule.[4]

The brawl[edit]

A number of brawls broke out on the Great Southern Stand side of the centre square with many players getting involved. Players tackled each other to the ground, threw fist and jumper punches and wrestled with each other with Hawthorn's Richie Vandenberg and Lance Picioane particularly active and Essendon's Adam McPhee, Mark Johnson and Justin Murphy were keen to respond.[1] As Winderlich continued off the ground in the arms of trainers he was struck by Campbell Brown of Hawthorn, an act which was described by Essendon forward Matthew Lloyd after the match as "one of the most disgusting things I've seen on a football field". Channel 10 commentators described it as "the 1980s revisited", "unbelievable" and stated "we haven't seen these sort of scenes for a long time in AFL football". Trainers, runners and some senior players were seen restraining and dragging their club's players away from opposition players, while Adam McPhee had to be restrained and given marching orders from Bruce Connor, Essendon's head physiotherapist, to receive attention to a bloodied eye.[5]

After the brawl[edit]

A few follow-up scuffles occurred but Essendon regained composure and hit back hard on the scoreboard, kicking 9 of the next 10 goals to extend the three-quarter time lead to 74 points. A 10-goal final quarter, 5 to each team, left the margin as it was at three-quarter time, with the Bombers recording a 74-point win.

Tribunal[edit]

The fallout from the match was significant, with a record 18 players reported on a record 26 charges. Some players were reported by umpires on the field,[6] while the rest were cited on video evidence by Video Reports Officer Ian Robinson[7] and after an investigation conducted by the AFL's Investigations Officer Rick Lewis.[8]

Hawthorn[edit]

Player Charge
John Barker Striking Adam McPhee, Essendon, in the third quarter.[6]
Engaging in a melee during the third quarter.[8]
Simon Beaumont Striking Justin Murphy during the third quarter. (Video evidence)[7]
Misconduct in that on two occasions he thrust his head towards the face of Justin Murphy, Essendon, during the third quarter.[8]
Engaging in a melee during the third quarter.[8]
Campbell Brown Wrestling with Dean Rioli, Essendon, during the third quarter.[6]
Striking Jason Winderlich, Essendon, in the third quarter.[6]
Engaging in a melee during the third quarter.[8]
Richard Vandenberg Striking Adam McPhee, Essendon, during the third quarter.[8]
Misconduct in that he made unnecessary and unreasonable contact with his leg to Adam McPhee, Essendon, during the third quarter.[8]
Engaging in a melee during the third quarter.[8]
Lance Picioane Striking Adam McPhee, Essendon, during the third quarter.[8]
Engaging in a melee during the third quarter.[8]
Chance Bateman Engaging in a melee during the third quarter.[8]
Peter Everitt
Nick Holland
Mark Williams

Essendon[edit]

Player Charge
Justin Murphy Alleged misconduct in that he headbutted Simon Beaumont during the third quarter. (Video evidence)[7]
Engaging in a melee during the third quarter.[8]
Jason Johnson Engaging in a melee during the third quarter.[8]
Mark Johnson
Adam McPhee
Mark McVeigh
Damien Peverill
Dean Rioli
Dean Solomon
Andrew Welsh

Tribunal outcomes[edit]

The Tribunal decisions were severe with five players suspended for a combined total of 16 matches[9] and players involved in the melee fined a combined total of $70,700,[10] the most from a single match in VFL/AFL history, and described by Tribunal Chairman Brian Collis, QC, as bringing "football into disrepute".[11]

Hawthorn[edit]

Richard Vandenberg, Lance Picioane, Campbell Brown and Simon Beaumont were suspended for a combined total of 15 matches[9] and melee fines totalled $36,700:[10]

Player Charge Outcome
Richard Vandenberg Striking Adam McPhee Suspended for 3 matches
Kneeing Adam McPhee Suspended for 3 matches
Melee Fined $4,000
Lance Picioane Striking Adam McPhee Suspended for 4 matches
Melee Fined $4,000
Campbell Brown Striking Jason Winderlich Suspended for 4 matches
Melee Fined $4,000
Wrestling with Dean Rioli Fined $1,200
John Barker Striking Adam McPhee Cleared
Melee Fined $4,500
Simon Beaumont Striking Justin Murphy Cleared
Misconduct against Justin Murphy Suspended for 1 match
Melee Withdrawn
Chance Bateman Melee Fined $5,000
Peter Everitt Fined $5,000
Nick Holland Fined $5,000
Mark Williams Fined $4,000

Essendon[edit]

Justin Murphy was suspended for 1 match[9] and melee fines totalled $34,000:[10]

Player Charge Outcome
Justin Murphy Head-butting Simon Beaumont Suspended for 1 match
Melee Withdrawn
Mark Johnson Melee Fined $6,500
Adam McPhee Fined $4,500
Dean Solomon Fined $4,500
Mark McVeigh Fined $4,000
Dean Rioli Fined $4,000
Damien Peverill Fined $3,500
Jason Johnson Fined $3,500
Andrew Welsh Fined $3,500

Match result[edit]

Round 11, 2004
Saturday, 5 June 2:10pm Hawthorn def. by Essendon MCG (Crowd: 42,682)
2.2 (14)
5.3 (33)
7.6 (48)
12.8 (80)
Q1
Q2
Q3
Final
6.4 (40)
10.5 (65)
19.8 (122)
24.10 (154)
Umpires: Schmitt, Jeffery, Goldspink
Television broadcast: Network Ten
Bateman 2, Everitt 2, Thompson 2, Williams 2, Beaumont, Hodge, Smith, Vandenberg Goals Lloyd 7, Lucas 3, Murphy 2, M. Johnson 2, Rioli 2, Allan, Alvey, Bolton, Henneman, J. Johnson, Misiti, Peverill, Solomon
Smith, Hodge, Dixon Best Lucas, Lloyd, Solomon, Allan, J. Johnson, McPhee
See Tribunal Reports See Tribunal


Aftermath[edit]

Both teams struggled for the remainder of the season. Hawthorn did not win another match until round 19, and finished the season with four wins, narrowly avoiding the wooden spoon on percentage from Richmond. Essendon, meanwhile, won just four more matches for the regular season to qualify narrowly for the finals, in eighth place. They defeated fifth-placed Melbourne in the First Elimination Final but were knocked out by Geelong the next week.

In the years following 2004, the clubs' fortunes reversed sharply. Essendon fell to 13th the following season (Hawthorn came 14th) and did not make another finals series until 2009. Hawthorn, meanwhile, gradually rose up the ladder, making the finals (in fifth place) in 2007 and winning the Premiership the following year. The clubs have maintained a strong rivalry, but only one match has turned particularly violent since: in the final round of the 2009 season, with the two sides battling for the last finals placing, a brawl was sparked by remonstration from a head-high shirtfront from Essendon captain Matthew Lloyd on Hawthorn midfielder Brad Sewell.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hinds, Richard (7 June 2004). "Heavier blows to come for Hawks, Bombers". Sydney: The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  2. ^ Lines, Chris (6 June 2004). "AFL: I didn't order fight - Brereton". AAP Sports News (Australia). Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  3. ^ Saturday Afternoon Football: Hawthorn v Essendon. Melbourne: Network 10. 5 June 2004. Event occurs at 1:22. 
  4. ^ Saturday Afternoon Football: Hawthorn v Essendon. Melbourne: Network 10. 5 June 2004. Event occurs at 2:50 - 3:50. 
  5. ^ Saturday Afternoon Football: Hawthorn v Essendon. Melbourne: Network 10. 5 June 2004. Event occurs at 5:33. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Round 11, 2004 Match Report". Melbourne: Essendon Football Club. 5 June 2004. 
  7. ^ a b c "Murphy and Beaumont cited". Melbourne: Essendon Football Club. 6 June 2004. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Nine Bombers on melee charges". Melbourne: Essendon Football Club. 8 June 2004. 
  9. ^ a b c "Murphy out, Hawks pay heavy price". Melbourne: Essendon Football Club. 9 June 2004. 
  10. ^ a b c "A fine day for the AFL". Melbourne: Essendon Football Club. 9 June 2004. 
  11. ^ "Hawks lose both players and respect". Melbourne: The Age. 11 June 2004. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 

External links[edit]