The Preview – Round 23 vs Tigers: Ready to Roar into 2022

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Written by Rhys Knight

It’s a game of finality, when it comes to the incredible careers of Alastair Clarkson and Shaun Burgoyne, the 2021 season of the Hawthorn Football Club but also signifies the beginning of the next generation of this elite up and coming side.

Richmond’s dynasty seems to be done, they’ve made nine changes and from this point forward, the preview will be about the Round 23 match against Richmond; the Sam Mitchell, Clarko and Silk content are for other days. 

LAST TIME WE PLAYED

Round 2, 2021 

Hawthorn: 7.7.49

Richmond: 11.12.78 

Goals: Brockman, Breust 2, Koschitzke, Morrison, O’Brien 

Disposals: Mitchell 37, Hardwick 31, Jiath 25, Phillips 24, Impey 22, Howe, O’Meara, Shiels 21, Morrison 20 

Blake Hardwick took 15 marks, Jarman Impey went at 95% efficiency and Dylan Moore laid a handful of tackles but the Hawks were humbled by a Richmond side who were chasing history but are now chasing the September off.

The Hawks were beaten all over the park but the form of these sides have effectively been flipped. The Hawks are flying and the Tigers are ready to be put down. 

Game Preview Video

TEAM CHANGES

IN

Luke Breust 

James Worpel 

Jaeger O’Meara 

OUT

Jai Newcombe (managed)

Tyler Brockman (managed)

Connor Downie (omitted) 

Senior in for junior to head off Clarko and it should be no discouragement to Jai, Brocky and Connor who should be getting good senior exposure next year as well.

Punky’s return is a surprise in the big picture given we aren’t playing for a finals berth but he is a walk up start in the best 22.

Jaeger and the Worpedo also return after effectively taking the week to get back fit but they’re coming back to a midfield which dominated the Western Bulldogs who are a fairly good midfield themselves.

We couldn’t be in a better position to really knock the Tigers off their perch form wise. 

How the Hawks win

Richmond have won just two of their last eight games and the reigning premiers are as fragile as their fans when you mention that they’re on the slide. The Giants took the Tigers apart in the first quarter, being 31 points up at the first change before winning by 39 overall.

The Giants lost the contested and uncontested ball on Friday night, but the Giants won by eight in the tackle count and cut off Richmond’s avenue to goal, by only conceding 43 inside 50’s (Hawthorn conceded 34 to the Dogs) while having 56 of their own (Hawks had 51 against the Dogs). 

To the actual Dogs game, the Hawks adopted the model of the Brisbane game, by shutting down the midfield’s offence and taking territory off the Dogs both with and without the footy.

Without the ball, a dozen (yes, twelve!) players had 5+ tackles (in the Round 2 game against Richmond, only Dylan Moore had five) and with the ball, fourteen Hawks had 15+ disposals and fourteen Hawks went at above 75% efficiency! 

If that balance of pressure on and off the ball is continued, the Hawks could win their eighth game and end the year with a month of straight wins, just like 2006. Could finals like back then, be just twelve months in the making? 

The Hawks’ scoring has gone up considerably in the past five games. Whilst just 64 was put on the Dogs, the four games before that produced 97, 92, 83 and 79.

Seven goal-kickers were had against the Dogs and in the four games beforehand, the Hawks combined for 40 goal-kickers with an average of ten over that period. The Hawks are finding multiple avenue to goals and should beat the Tigers this way. 

Concerns

This is the best side of the last four seasons after all and have to be taken seriously.

With nine changes to Richmond’s side, they’ve got quality kids in Riley Collier-Dawkins, Jack Ross, Will Martyn, Mabior Chol and young key back Ben Miller to make his debut, these lads will be out to prove what they’ve got, either at Richmond in the long term or for a potential new club. 

Richmond’s pressure game has been off a touch in the back two months at the end of the year but they only need to bring it at its best for two more hours and the Hawks will be in strife.

The forward structure down the line for the Hawks needs to hold up and the boys from Waverley Park will need to lower their eyes when they are forward of centre. 

Talking Hawks are keeping an eye on : Lachie Bramble 

To finish off the season, let’s talk about the guy who was the last to be added on the list before Round 1. The young man has gone from strength to strength and is ultimately growing into a star before our very eyes.

Bramble is averaging 18 disposals, five marks, four inside 50’s, three rebounds and 430 metres gained.

Our fingers are crossed at Talking Hawks and hoping he can string an elite performance together to do a Dylan Moore last year and grab a Brownlow vote final round in a dominating show.

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