Written by Rhys Knight
For the fifth (and a half) time in 2021, the Hawks got some premiership points that surprised the footballing public, when the Hawks stunned Brisbane to win by a couple of goals. Meanwhile, a Collingwood side fresh off a big win over West Coast and without a first round pick, won’t have any downside to winning. This will be a ferocious contest at the MCG and we can’t wait for it.
LAST TIME WE PLAYED
Round 6, 2020
GOALS: Gunston, Smith, McEvoy
DISPOSALS: Mitchell 33, Sicily 28, Smith 26, Hardwick, O’Meara, Shiels 20
It was an embarrassing evening for the Hawks on a cold Friday night in July of 2020, when the Pies dispatched the Hawks. The Hawks took 100 marks for just 32 inside 50’s and failed to capitalise in the last quarter, kicking 1.7 to 1.3.
Luke Breust (Knee)
Denver Grainger-Barras (Managed)
Ned Reeves (Managed)
Tyler Brockman (Managed)
There are a couple of outs that aren’t sitting wonderfully at the land of Talking Hawks. Hawthorn’s leading goal-kicker in Luke Breust hyper extended his knee and in his released statement to the fans, he cited bone bruising but no structural damage which is a great sign but he is likely to be done for 2021.
On the other side of the coin, our man Denver has been managed after putting together four games in a row but fingers crossed he’s back soon.
The in’s are a much more interesting case study. Both forward pockets in Punky and Brocky are out and the return of Jacob Koschitzke will help expose the Pies lack of tall defender depth.
Ollie Hanrahan returns after kicking the door down at VFL level, culminating in a 35 disposal and six inside 50 performance against Collingwood’s VFL side.
Ned Reeves gets managed and the experience of Jonathan Ceglar returns to help mitigate the Collingwood star ruckman Brodie Grundy.
The last in for the day is Harry Morrison who was having a career best year before going down with injury and we can’t wait to see him back.
Blake Hardwick (100 games)
How the Hawks win
Well, the Hawks actually don’t cope too well in ‘winnable games’. Including the draw with Melbourne, the Hawks haven’t taken points off a team lower than 10th apart from Adelaide who were 3-2 and in the eight when we got them in Tasmania. However, what Hawthorn did against Brisbane is actually how they stop Collingwood.
Of the three ways the Hawks dismantled Brisbane, the one that may not have been overly noticeable is what will need to happen to shut down the young and hungry Magpies, but before we get to that, let’s look at how else the Hawks shut down Brisbane.
The Hawks bashed the Lions around the contest, getting even in contested ball (the Hawks’ kryptonite), almost even in clearances (-2) and went +14 in tackles. Think back to the 2014 Grand Final in the ‘bashing’ that the Hawks did the Swans and this was eerily similar, albeit under wildly different circumstances.
Now, back to the most important part of last week’s win that will help the Hawks go back to back for the first time in 2021. The Hawks were able to set up their team zone defence to stop Brisbane from cutting through the corridor. This stopped the Lions changing angles to get meaningful forward entries, and will be vital with a young and hungry Magpie outfit, whose improvement have come from taking territory and going through the corridor.
In last week’s preview, we cited that Tom Mitchell needed help with the midfield duties and the boys in the guts came through extraordinary. Jaeger O’Meara had the game of his life as a Hawk. His 35 disposals were the fourth highest of his career and he had ten tackles. Chad Wingard had 32 and kicked 2.2, James Worpel kicked a goal with his 26 disposals, and to finish off the midfield madness, Conor Nash had 23 and nine tackles. A well rounded midfield performance was asked for, and more importantly, was delivered.
The Pies have been playing some really good footy lately. Their last month has been a 2-2 record with a good win over the Tigers four weeks ago in which they ran over the reigning premiers in the last quarter before a pair of similar losses against Carlton and Port Adelaide. Collingwood ended the month with a resounding 45 point win over the Eagles.
The Pies had 108 more disposals than the Eagles and 102 more uncontested disposals. The most noticeable aspect of the Pies’ game last week was that they took their time to take the territory and then damage the scoreboard.
Last round every Collingwood player with 15+ disposals had a disposal efficiency of over 72% which is just bonkers and they had ten players take nine plus marks. If the Hawks grant the Pies freedom of territory and freedom in possession, the Hawks are going to be sliced and diced.
The Hawks lost to Essendon down at UTAS and the largest reason for that was Jake Stringer in Round 14. Stringer had 29 and kicked 4.1 to sink the Hawks and Collingwood midfielder/forward Jordan De Goey has the capacity to do the same.
In the last five weeks, De Goey has averaged 30.2 disposals, 8.4 inside 50’s, eight score involvements, 2.4 clearances, 5.2 inside 50’s and has kicked 3.3. Need we say more? We must do what we can to nullify his influence.
For a matchup in the midfield, Liam Shiels has had run-with roles in the past, and when he goes forward Blake Hardwick would be the best matchup. The Hawks underrated defender just delivered a bath to Lincoln McCarthy and would thrive on the challenge that is De Goey
The Pies are a young team who ride their momentum genuinely well. Carlton and Port Adelaide were able to nullify momentum over the course of a whole quarter with Carlton kicking 6.4 in the last quarter to three behinds to run out the game and Port kicked 4.4 to four behinds to break the game open. On the flip side, the Pies kicked 7.2 in the last quarter against Richmond to run out winners and a ten goal to one first half over West Coast. Any team capable of those kinds of momentum swings are ultra dangerous.
Talking Hawks are keeping an eye on: Mitch Lewis
Eighteen goals from 11 games has been the output from Lewis this season and looks extremely more confident in the last month of footy. In reverse order, he took seven marks against Brisbane (three contested) and had four marks in each of the last three weeks, while kicking eight goals in the last month. As well as the offensive output, he’s also had multiple tackles in every game of the last month and we are backing him in to beat his personal best of three goals.
Who are the fans keeping an eye on?
On Instagram, shanks_isabelle identified Chad Wingard, who after 32 disposals and 2.2, is more than fair enough and he might be playing for Sam to keep him next year. Whilst hawthorninfo have identified Tom Phillips for ‘obvious reasons’, that being Flip coming up against his former team who dumped him for a fourth round pick. Bring. It. On!