Written by Rhys Knight & Jake Smith
In our welcome back to Tasmania in Round 6 against Adelaide, the Hawks picked themselves off the canvas in the second half to win by three points in dramatic circumstances and Adelaide still haven’t recovered, losing the next two games by a combined 116 points. Journeying back into the Launceston fortress at the University of Tasmania Stadium against a winless and injury depleted North Melbourne is what’s coming and after a fortnight from hell, the Hawks could do with getting their third win.
How the Hawks win
As easy as it would be to just slander North Melbourne, let’s just go over their injury list and note the players of quality that are missing from their side: Jed Anderson, Aidan Bonar, Aiden Corr, last season’s best and fairest winner Luke McDonald, Jared Polec, Jaidyn Stephenson, Robbie Tarrant and Dom Tyson. With just a youth filled side with some slower veteran experience, the Hawks should be able to outclass the Roos.
The Roos have conceded 108 points per match this year and although the Hawks have only had a highest score of 102, it’s surely the time for the Hawks to go large. Ben McKay and Josh Walker are absolutely gettable but the likes of Luke Breust and the third tall with whomever we go with, the Hawks need to take advantage offensively. The Roos are really lacking offensive weapons, given they’re averaging 57 points a game and the Hawks defensively deserve a better go at things.
Could the Hawks win a midfield battle, or a contested battle? As well as being 17th v 18th on the ladder, it’s 17th v 18th in contested possessions with the Hawks on top but with the likes of Jaegar O’Meara, Tom Mitchell, Liam Shiels and James Worpel getting their head over the ball, it’s a battle the Hawks should win. With O’Meara in the top five for averaging centre clearances and general clearances, the Hawks could welcome back some territory, even if that’s another 17th v 18th battle.
How many concerns can you have against the side on the bottom of the ladder? Well, how long have you been a Hawthorn supporter? Adelaide last season looked like the worst thing since rotten bread but they had encouraging loss against Geelong, before the bye and then having their first win over us. North Melbourne’s last two weeks included a three quarter tussle against undefeated Melbourne before taking it up to Collingwood and if it wasn’t for poor matchups on Jordan De Goey, should’ve won.
Flashback to 2001 to when Hawthorn took on a Fremantle side that would not have beaten Nunawading given their form but in Round 18, the Dockers won at Marvel Stadium and whilst the Hawks were in the top four at this stage, they’re nowhere near it as we speak. There’s a feeling around the league that North will pinch a game or two and this is a danger game for absolute certain.
The Kangaroos outrank the Hawks in tackles (10th v 13th with a differential of 0.?? and inside 50’s (17th v 18th with a differential of one) and that’s it. However, sixteen marks inside 50 last week against Collingwood is a concern if the Hawks aren’t ready defensively.
Daz is keeping an eye on : Mitch Lewis
In the last game in Tasmania, the Hawks fans got the confirmation that Jacob Koschitzke is going to be a player of the future with five goals. In this case, Mitch Lewis has been fantastic in his development this year and last week, kicked 2.2 from ten touches and four marks. Has 8.5 for the year and Daz can see a big bag coming, 4+ for the win.
Smithy is keeping an eye on : Tom Phillips
With an opponent not at their best and a big ground at UTAS, this is primed for Flip to go inside and outside for an MVP kind of performance but even a season best outing is on the cards for the former Pie. Expect his metres gained to be well on the up and get plenty of the ball, hopefully in a big Hawks win.