Crawford given chance to cap 300th - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crawford given chance to cap 300th

By Adam Cooper 09/08/2008 07:09:52 PM Comments (0)

Hard-nosed AFL coaches aren't supposed to make allowances for individuals, so when Shane Crawford lined up for goal, the pressure was on.

Kick the goal and cap the 300th game fairytale.

Miss and imagine the anti-climax - for everyone.

Pinpoint all day, Crawford's first wobbler was still good enough to go through, although it took some willing from him and the Hawthorn masses among the crowd of 19,929 at Aurora Stadium.

Upon kicking the last goal of the game, sealing a big win for the Hawks over the Brisbane Lions, Crawford was mobbed by every teammate on the ground, including Trent Croad, who dutifully ran from the last line of defence.

Afterwards the Brownlow medallist revealed coach Alastair Clarkson had told him go forward in search of that icing-on-the-top goal.

Crawford went and Rick Ladson was so thrilled to get the ball to him, he pumped his fist like he had kicked it.

"I got a message from Clarko to push forward and just hang around there and see if you can kick a goal," Crawford said after Hawthorn's 16.14 (110) to 5.11 (41) win.

"That would have been a perfect way to finish.

"I did feel the pressure going back, more so from the crowd than anything.

"I didn't kick it that well, but I reckon the crowd pushed that through, so it was a perfect way to end what's been a fantastic week and a great day for our club."

Clarkson admitted he took a liberty when he sent Crawford forward, but having also done so in 2006, when John Barker capped his final game with a late goal, the coach showed he has a sense of occasion to rival his steely determinedness.

"We don't like to have that attitude but when you've got a significant margin, you can take the chance and push the guy forward," he said.

Clarkson's bigger worry was watching Croad have to cover almost the entire length of the field to get back to his opponent, Daniel Bradshaw.

"He had a long way to come from so we were anticipating Bradshaw might get a mark late in the game," Clarkson said.

"Sure enough he did, but fortunately he missed the goal."

The win also allowed Crawford, 33, to be carried off after the game nursing son Charlie, who was a spectator along with Crawford's partner Olivia and his mother, Di.

The veteran can now focus on playing finals in what is likely to be his last season.

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