Written by Rhys Knight
From Silk to succession plans, the Hawks actually get to play some footy which is what we love most here at Talking Hawks. Fremantle have won just two of their last five matches but for just the second time this year, Hawthorn play a team for the second time.
The last time they played, Fremantle won by 15 points in a game more than winnable for the Hawks, so revenge is definitely on the table.
Last time they played in 2021:
Changkuoth Jiath (24 touches and twelve marks), Chad Wingard (26 touches, seven marks, five tackles), James Worpel (22 touches, seven marks, six tackles and Tom Mitchell (38 touches, five clearances).
Tim O’Brien (omitted)
Damon Greaves (omitted)
Jai Newcombe (omitted)
Ollie Hanrahan (last week’s sub)
Jeka comes in in place of TOB and with the big fella kicking 6.10 in his last three outings and taking 23 marks in that span but it’s the 16 scoring shots that’s so appealing. The big fella clunks the footy which is what the seniors are crying out for and working with Jacob Koschitzke should be exciting to watch.
Tyler Brockman returns after returning home to WA and having a fortnight back at Box Hill, which is extremely pleasing. He averaged a goal and a half a game in his first four games and looks to be a future small forward of the next decade.
Saving the best until last, the Talking Hawks’ own Denver Grainger-Barras returns after his concussion protocol and we frankly cannot wait to see his second game. Fremantle have got one of the more underrated intercept players in the competition in Luke Ryan and DGB has got a lot of those qualities with extra mongrel. Bring it on!
As for the outs, Tim O’Brien goes out of the side and Ollie Hanrahan is likely to be fighting TOB for the medical sub spot. Newcombe comes out of the side even though he laid seven tackles but has struggled a touch to stay in games and Hawthorn are aiming to hold Fremantle to a low score, with Greaves coming out too.
How the Hawks win
The Dockers are 2-3 from their last five matches and their season is well and truly on the line with being half a game and 5% out of the eight but if the Hawks can destroy a few seasons down the line, that would be incredible.
With two top four teams in the next fortnight (Melbourne and Brisbane), ‘winnable’ games are now a thing. With this Fremantle game, Adelaide and Collingwood to come, the Hawks can still have some good victories and this is no exception.
The Hawks are third in the league for uncontested possessions and are a top five side for disposal efficiency so down in Tassie, the Hawks will look to retain the ball and attack from centre forward, much like the Essendon game.
Fremantle have got a workmanlike midfield but in the Essendon loss, Zach Merrett had 27 disposals and Darcy Parish had 24 disposals so the midfield didn’t get away but it was the outside run that got the Hawks. Hawthorn’s outside run has improved dramatically since the bye and will need to be on show again.
Hawthorn’s small forward brigade can rip the Dockers apart. As much as Jeka and Koschitzke are going to be important pieces, Dylan Moore, Luke Breust and Tyler Brockman could wreak some genuine havoc. Moore has kicked 20 goals this season, Breust 26 (leading goalkicker) and Brocky can be real dangerous.
The Dockers are a young and improving side and as most young sides, they want to play with pace. Nathan Wilson and Darcy Tucker are more than happy to go for long runs and can take space, which is what the Hawks will need to stop. Luke Ryan’s been mentioned but he’s an intercept star but the longer the Hawks can keep the ball out of the hands of the Dockers defence, the better.
Another talented midfield awaits for the Hawks with a depth chart of Nat Fyfe, David Mundy, Andrew Bradshaw, Caleb Serong and Adam Cerra as the main talent but the injection of grunt in Blake Acres and pace of Travis Colyer, the Hawks have got their hands full. Even though they lost to Carlton last weekend, the Dockers had 45 clearances and the Hawks cannot let them repeat that.
Sean Darcy is one of the most improved players in 2021 and will cause headaches for Ben McEvoy and Jonathan Ceglar. He’s averaging 16 touches (11 contested), seven score involvements, 10.1 hitouts to advantage, 30 hitouts, five clearances and has 9.6 for the year.
Alex Pearce has been in fine form since his return and has a tendency to leave his man and impact the contest so whoever Griffen Logue goes to (likely Kosi) needs to take him away from a large contest in order to isolate him and Kosi has improved out of sight the longer the season has gone on.
Talking Hawks are keeping an eye on: Denver Grainger-Barras
He’s the epitome of ‘our man’ and our fingers are crossed the big fella can get through the full game. As well as being a ripping user of the pill, Denver looks to have elite aerobic ability, sticky hands and fantastic timing.
While we’ll do our best to keep a lid on it, our favourite part about him is the mongrel he’s shown. There’s an unsociable nature, a competitor, and the desire to take the opposition on. We love this kid.