Despite being the beneficiaries of what some, especially Crows supporters, claim as preferential officiating in the Round 5 win by 2015 premiers Hawthorn, the Hawks find themselves in what is, for them, unaccustomed territory with four other teams ahead of them on the ladder.
Some are describing a couple of crucial calls as pure larceny when no penalty was called on Isaac Smith for holding the ball in the final seconds of last Friday’s game at MCG and another decision less than a minute earlier when Paul Puopolo was awarded a free kick for a push in the back that produced the winning goal in the three-point win.
Fuel for the allegations of favourable treatment by the officials was also provided when the Hawks almost fell on their faces against the Saints the week prior when umpires twice ignored marks from kicks that seemingly met the criteria of the rules that ultimately led to a shift in momentum away from the Saints that permitted the Hawks to escape with another three-point win.
The Hawks may be fifth on the ladder, but they stand in third position in terms of free kicks, their 111 trailing only Western Bulldogs’ 116 and Essendon’s 112.
Internet activists were questioning why the Hawks were not awarded a free kick for American Mason Cox scoring a goal in his debut for the Magpies.