The Preview | Round 13 v Swans: Can the Hawks sing a Swan song on Friday night?

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Written by Rhys Knight & Jake Smith

The bye is done, the Hawks are rejuvenated and are facing the most improved team in the competition. The Hawks picked up two players in the mid-season draft, Clarko is coaching Collingwood (apparently) and the club is falling apart (we love the media) but alas, we have a game to win. 



Jaeger O’Meara 

Will Day 

Jai Newcombe 


Mitch Lewis

James Cousins 

Damon Greaves

Josh Morris 

Hawthorn get their best performing midfielder of 2021 back in the side and their best young star in Will Day. In Round 1, Day was third for the Hawks in touches with 28, he went at 78% efficiency, took eight marks, had seven score involvements, had seven rebounds and got himself three clearances. Day matured beyond his years and although his next dozen weeks year were cruelly taken off him, the back end of the year looks to be exciting.

O’Meara’s year has been simply outstanding. The former Sun is rated elite in rebound 50’s, clearances, centre clearances and tackles inside 50. He also averages above average in disposals, Fantasy points, effective disposals, contested and uncontested possessions, ground ball gets, stoppage clearances, tackles, pressure acts, spoils, marks and metres gained in an elite opening half to the year. 

Newcombe comes in after being Pick 2 in the mid-season draft and after 23 disposals, five and a half marks and seven tackles a game, earns his debut against a deep Sydney midfield. Mitch Lewis got concussed in boxing training which was strange which is why he’s missing. 

How the Hawks win

With losses to Fremantle (two points), Gold Coast (40 points) and GWS (two points), the Swans have struggled to put away poorer sides who can grab momentum, especially late. In a seemingly strange way, if the Hawks are in it late, it’s absolutely game on. Geelong should’ve gotten over the line in their game and in their six games they’ve played that have been decided by single digits, their win loss is 2-4, whereas the Hawks are 2-2 but 3-1 in those last quarters. Stay in it late, Hawks. 

St.Kilda should’ve gotten over the line over the Swans last week and the numbers showed that they could stick strong. Contested ball, clearances and tackles were about even but tackles inside 50 (17-7) was what helped with forward 50 retention. Fremantle won the inside 50 tackle count 16-6 and Gold Coast won the territory tackle count 21-8. Do you need more of a blueprint? 

These games are traditionally tight contests, we think as fans that Geelong and Hawthorn have a tight rivalry but this might be the most underrated rivalry in the game. July 18, 2015 may not be a date that stands out to a lot of people but it was actually the last game that these two teams played a game decided by under 20 points; Hawthorn won by 89 points thanks to Jarryd Roughead’s five goals and Jack Gunston’s four, along with 30 disposals from Luke Hodge and 28 from Sam Mitchell. Since then, eight games have been played, with a 4-4 score line. 


The Swans are elite at pressuring their opponents, with being the second best tackling team in the competition  and the Hawks have struggled moving the ball under pressure. With Jacob Koschitzke and the resting ruckman being the key talls, the ball movement is going to have to be precise, although these two teams are dead even in contested marks. 

The Hawks are struggling to mark the ball inside 50, being a bottom four side, but are also conceding the second most marks inside 50. With Lance Franklin potentially giving the talls issues, both Isaac Heeney and Will Heyward are more than capable of taking a grab to get a set shot. 

Hawthorn are 13th for points against but a huge concern is although the Swans have played an extra game, they have scored 291 more points for the year, averaging 89.25 per year compared to the Hawks’ 70.9. Luke Breust leads the goalkicking for the men in brown and gold with 18 and Dylan Moore is next with 13, whereas the Swans have a player tied with Breust (Heeney) and two with more (Tom Papley with 21 and Lance Franklin with 24). Is it too much to just exclaim to the void; ‘Can we have more firepower please?

Callum Mills is having a career best season, having finally transitioned into the role he was seemingly born to play, a brilliant midfielder. He’s averaging a ‘lazy’ 26 disposals (eleven contested) at 78% efficiency, six score involvements, six marks, six tackles, five clearances, four inside 50’s and three rebounds, numbers that systematically demonstrate how well rounded he has become. Add in Josh Kennedy (sorry Hawks fans), Luke Parker, James Rowbottom and George Hewett in the midfield, the Hawks will have their hands full. 

Rebounding the ball and slingshotting down the field has also been a strength of the Swans this year, with Jake Lloyd averaging 28 disposals and seven rebounds, along with sidekick Jordan Dawson who’s having 22 touches and seven rebounds. Territory and forward retention were huge problems at the SCG against the Suns, with Jack Lukosius, Brandon Ellis and Oleg Markov carving up the Hawks like a Christmas ham. 

Daz is keeping an eye on : Fans expecting too much of Jai Newcombe 

The Box Hill favourite has made his way from the windy Whitten Oval in his career, to the wet and cold of Werribee and everywhere else in the VFL to the slick ground of the SCG and from reports, no man has been more prepared to be a Hawk since his Box Hill coach, Sam Mitchell. However, fans believing he is the ‘ultimate answer’, the ‘saviour’ and he’s going to come in and be the best thing since sliced bread are naive and we need to enjoy what he can do and hopefully what he can do is be a decade long, consistent midfielder but on Friday night, he’s just a debutant. 

Smithy is keeping an eye on : Will Day 

The ‘team changes’ segment covered it beautifully but when the Hawks had Pick 12 in the 2019 draft, the punters went from Fischer McAsey to Kosi Pickett to Miles Bergman on who we should get, until it became clear Will Day was the man, about two months before the draft. Kosi looks a star of course but the Hawks have picked up a future perennial star who has composure beyond his year, underrated hands and is a beautiful user of the footy. Hawks fans should think of him getting through the game as a win in itself.

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