Written by Rhys Knight & Jake Smith
The bye couldn’t come quick enough for the Hawks who relished their break before coming out and storming over the Swans at the SCG, winning by 38 points in the best performance for their season. However, looking forward is the key and the Bombers await, who sit 11th on the ladder, two games out of the eight and have the best percentage outside of the eight and by a long way.
James Worpel (suspension)
Harry Morrison (hamstring)
Hawthorn surprised fans, especially when they didn’t challenge James Worpel’s one week suspension for his sling tackle (especially given Callum Mills did something extremely similar to him) but alas, we move on and James Cousins is a worthy replacement (Clarko’s ‘soldier out, soldier in’ principle shining). Best of luck to 23 year old Lachie Bramble who makes his debut after recovering from a hamstring injury and all the best to the eighth Hawk debutant of 2021.
How the Hawks win
Contested ball and clearances. That’s it, the segment could end right here. The Hawks were +26 in contested possessions against a Sydney team who rank sixth and won the clearances by three which while isn’t a huge margin, the Swans are sixth in the league against the Hawks who are 15th. In the Round 6 win against Adelaide, the Hawks were +2 in contested possessions which was extremely pleasing while +2 over the Bombers showed if the Hawks play tough, they’re right in it. How have the Hawks done when the contested count is -6 or better for the Hawks? A five point loss to the Cats (-1), 15 point loss to the Dockers (even) and the tough loss to the Blues (+5) but the Hawks were up to the challenge to their eyeballs in all of those games. Hang tough around the footy and the chance of winning grows.
The Hawks defence really stifled the Swans’ ball movement with only allowing 51 points to the men from the Harbour City, which was the least amount the Hawks have conceded all season. This seems to be a game of offence though with the Bombers conceding 1,103 points in their twelve games against the Hawks’ 1,100. If the Hawks want to beat the Bombers, the back line will need to stand up much like last week, with Blake Hardwick, Changkuoth Jiath, Jack Scrimshaw, Jarman Impey and Will Day amazing last week and will need to be on Sunday.
Darcy Parish and the recently re-signed Zach Merrett are having unbelievable seasons and the Hawks will need to watch out if they don’t want to get destroyed in the middle of the ground. James Cousins has been given a task or two this year – Sam Walsh in the second half against Carlton – so he could be an option to stop Parish but they need to be put on notice. Both players are averaging 31 disposals and if they’re allowed to roam around and do as they please, the Hawks will be behind the eight ball.
The Bonbers are a young team capable of scoring quickly which is a concern for the Hawks defence. The Dons are eighth for points scored and average just a touch under 94 points per game and although the Hawks won 92-91 in Round 1, gambling on a shootout may not be the best idea, given the Hawks have scored over 90 points just twice, albeit in victories but twice nonetheless.
The Hawks will need to stop the Bombers from taking marks inside 50, given they are the fourth best in the league for marks inside the arc so Sam Frost needs to keep Cale Hooker in check and if Blake Hardwick can do what he did to Tom Papley – ten disposals and no score – to Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, it would be incredible but the form of those two forwards is a concern, especially since if the Hawks give away the dozen marks inside 50 that the Bombers average, they could be in trouble.
Daz is keeping an eye on : Jacob Koschitzke
His two best games this season have been in Launceston – five goals amongst 14 disposals and nine marks against Adelaide and 15 disposals at 86% efficiency, with two goals and six score involvements – so to back him in again seems a very good go. His tank is ever improving and his leading patterns are quite strong, it’s up to the midfield to honour his leads and kick to his advantage.
Smithy is keeping an eye on : Jack Scrimshaw
As the CEO of the fan club while everyone is jumping on board, Scrimma has been fantastic, especially in the last six weeks but season averages of 21 disposals, 84% efficiency, six marks and four rebounds is extremely encouraging. Watch for his overhead marking also which is a feature of his game.