Written by Rhys Knight
It’s not often football and collective noun puns come together so eloquently but as the realisation that this author has way too much time on his hands and more dad jokes than he has children, the next challenge awaits the brown and gold that’s out of the Footy Classified spotlight and that’s a trip to Marvel Stadium to take on the worst side since Round 5, Adelaide. It’s been a strange fortnight for the Hawks, with an embarrassing defeat against Fremantle and an incredible draw against ladder leaders Melbourne, overshadowed by off field shenanigans displayed by the football media. However, let’s get stuck into the footy side of things, shall we?
Emerson Jeka (omitted)
Damon Greaves (omitted)
Shaun Burgoyne (managed)
The Hawks haven’t had three better ins during 2021 but two runners up in seperate Peter Crimmins Medal counts (Dimma in 2018 and Chad in 2020) and one of the Hawks most improved in Scrimma come back, in order for some much overdue class, toughness and finishing polish (especially with Chad). If the game wasn’t seen as winnable by even the most pessimistic fan, with those ins you’d be silly not to see the Hawks as favourites.
As for the outs, Silk gets to give his old legs a rest, but it seems to be out of him and last week’s medical sub Jai Newcombe on who gets that role. Damon Greaves has two defenders ahead of him in the pack that caused him being an out, but he was good on the weekend. While the Hawks went tall last week, they won’t be doing the same with Jeka going out.
LAST TIME THEY PLAYED
Round 6, 2021
Goals: Koschitzke 5, Breust 3, Lewis 2, O’Meara, Impey, O’Brien, Phillips, Scrimshaw
Disposals: O’Meara 31, Jiath 26, Mitchell 25, Phillips 23, Hardwick, Impey 19
What a corker this was down in Tassie! After dropping four straight, the Hawks found themselves conceding ten goals straight in the second quarter to go into the long break 25 points down, but a 6.7 to 2.3 second half saw the Hawks win a thriller. Kosi got the Rising Star for his 5.3, Riley Thilthorpe kicked five for the Crows, with Jaeger having his best game for the year, Tim O’Brien have a season high 18 disposals and CJ having a team best 490 metres gained.
How do the Hawks win?
Since Round 5, the Crows have won just two games and they’re paddling up the creek with no canoe. Hawthorn on the other hand, even though they are a spot lower on the ladder, should go above them after this match. The Hawks will need to bring their hunger, fight, dogged determination and quality goal-kicking, which is more than doable, considering they kicked 12.7 on Saturday.
The Hawks are going to need the aerial battle which although has been a struggle, will be doable. Tom Doedee comes back for the Crows but apart from Reilly O’Brien, the Crows don’t have a lot of aerial prowess, showing in their 13-5 loss in the contested mark stat against the Eagles last week. The Hawks will have the skipper and Ned Reeves down the line, with Kosi, Mitch Lewis and Dylan Moore all very capable of taking a grab and we can’t forget about our man Denver who has shown in a few games that he can take a grab also.
This will be a tight and tough game and these two sides are close in scoring and conceding scores. The Crows are +36 in scoring for the season but have conceded 38 more points than the Hawks so good luck picking off that stat but the Crows are in a hole at the moment, coming off a 42, 63 and 52 point drubbings in the last three weeks so they are ripe for the picking.
The Hawthorn midfield last week played with anger and with some purpose. A simple glance at the leading disposal getters for the Hawks to see who was around the ball; Mitchell 39, Worpel 29 (both kicked a goal), O’Meara 25, Phillips 25, Shiels 24 and Cousins with 20. The Hawks hunted the ball and hunted the Demons, who did win contested ball by 19 and clearances by 7 but the Hawks laid a bonkers 81 tackles. Skills can fluctuate with lesser teams, but effort should be unwavering and oh boy, was the effort ever so high.
Jacob Koschitzke looks ready to rip a game apart, much like his 5.3 bag in Round 6 against the same opposition. Kosi led up at the ball that day, hit packs hard and looked a million dollars. He’s been consistently in a lot of contests since but his set shot goal kicking is letting him down, with him leaning back a touch from midrange. If he continues to give himself chances, he and Mitch Lewis could find some really good form and get the ball to ground to Punky and Tyler Brockman. The Eagles had over 60 inside 50’s last week against the Crows, and while the Hawks has 50 inside 50’s last week, they need to get it forward of centre as much as possible.
Most will tell you that the Hawks have got an uphill battle against Rory Laird and Ben Keays with Laird averaging 34.2 disposals in the last ten weeks and Keays averaging 30.4 in the last nine, yet it’s fair to say the Crows haven’t reaped the wins that those numbers perhaps deserve. The Hawks have got to worry about the outside pace and Harry Schoenberg, Brodie Smith and Paul Seedsman, as they are the guys that will be needed to be contained.
Taylor Walker has kicked 42.29 in 2021 in a career best year and former teammate Kyle Hartigan will undoubtedly get the job. Walker dropped three on the Hawks down in Tassie and Hartigan will need to step up and nullify the big Texan’s influence. The Crows do look on the back foot, but if the Hawks fall over defensively, the Crows will get the Hawks for their third win since Round 4.
Talking Hawks is keeping an eye on: Ned Reeves
After two terrific performances to kick off his career, Ned came back last week and not only went toe to toe with Max Gawn, but in some key contests beat Gawn and got hitouts to advantage. Reilly O’Brien and Billy Frampton aren’t the same quality as Gawn and Luke Jackson, so the Hawks could be getting themselves an advantage out of the middle.