Rnd 9 Preview: Yellow and Whack!

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The Hawks have lost five of their last six matches but are putting themselves in winnable positions, which has caused a huge amount of fan frustration.

Meanwhile, the Tigers are roaring back into form and are aiming for three consecutive wins for the first time since the Semi, Preliminary and Grand Final of 2020. 

Last Time We Played 

Rnd 23, 2021, MCG 

Hawks – 12.11.83

Tigers – 12.11.83 

Goals – Brockman (3.0), Lewis (2.1), Phillips (2.1), Wingard (2.1) 

Disposals – Mitchell (36), O’Meara (36), Wingard (30), Howe (25), Scrimshaw (25), Worpel (25) 

 

In Shaun Burgoyne’s final AFL game, the Hawks were up by 16 points at three quarter time before the Tigers came storming home. 

In a final, desperate lunge off Jack Riewoldt’s boot, Burgoyne was inches off touching the ball to give the Hawks a famous victory. 

Team News

In’s – Butler (debut), Nash, Lewis, Wingard

Out’s – Mitchell, Shiels, MacDonald (managed), Callow, Ward (Omitted)

Mitch Lewis and Chad Wingard were taken off the injury list this week which is a terrific result for the Hawks as they welcome back Conor Nash and the debutant in Sam Butler! 

The Pick 23 from last year’s draft becomes the third of the five draftees who have debuted (Jai Serong and Ned Long haven’t played yet) and he is a danger up forward. 

He contains elite footy IQ, a good sidestep and has classy finishing skills so he will be a joy to watch. 

Josh Ward and Connor MacDonald have been taken out of the side to rest themselves pre bye, while Tom Mitchell has a non COVID illness and Mitch Lewis is welcomed back at the expense of Callow. 

How the Hawks win

The Hawks are 0-11 since Round 1, 2019 against bottom four sides and have about a 50% win rate against everyone else so the Hawks can go to another level. 

That was shown by the Melbourne performance, with the Hawks pushing the best team in the league to the very end. 

The Hawks out-possessed the Demons, went +24 in uncontested possessions and took 96 uncontested marks, consistently switching the play and opening up pockets of space across the field. 

The Hawks have kicked 25.31 in first quarters this year and have had really good starts, leading at quarter time in all of the last four games. 

Jai Newcombe has been in unbelievable form lately, averaging 25 disposals in the last five weeks, six marks, 4.6 inside 50’s and four tackles. 

Shaun Burgoyne of the Hawks and David Astbury of the Tigers embrace after the 2021 AFL Round 23 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Hawthorn...
The last Hawks/Tigers game saw the retirements of Shaun Burgoyne and David Astbury (pictured), along with Bachar Houli | Getty Images

If the Hawks are going to win this game, Worpel, Newcombe and Conor Nash need to take the game over and get the ball going forward, with Lewis and Jacob Koschitzke being the one-two punch up forward, with Dylan Moore, Chad Wingard, Luke Breust and Jack Gunston threatening up forward. 

Meanwhile, it’s all about the ball movement. Richmond can’t have the footy for the entire game and if the Hawks keep slicing through the corridor and isolating their forwards, scoring shots will present themselves and they need to be capitalised on. 

Concerns

The Tigers have won their last two and seem to have their mojo back, taking apart the Eagles and then overrunning the Magpies. 

For the first six weeks, the Tigers were a bottom six team in the competition for moving the ball out of their back half, before being the second best team in the competition (behind Melbourne) in the past fortnight. 

Tom Lynch has been a big cause for the reincarnation of a dangerous Richmond team, kicking 13.6 in the last fortnight. 

Sam Frost has a giant task ahead of him, as well as Denver Grainger-Barras who is expected to take Jack Riewoldt. 

The Hawks have conceded 102 points a game in their past five games so given Richmond have kicked 278 points in their last two performances, the back six are going to need to clamp down. 

Last quarters have also been a problem for the Hawks, conceding 17.8 in the last three final terms. 

Chad Wingard of the Hawks celebrates during the 2021 AFL Round 23 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Hawthorn Hawks at the Melbourne Cricket...
Chad Wingard celebrates a goal in the last clash between the two teams | Getty Images

The Hawks also conceded 7.2 in the last term against the Saints but have kept a team goalless three times (0.4 vs Port, 0.4 vs Geelong and 0.4 vs Melbourne). 

With such a heavy reliance on youth in the midfield, the Hawks are behind the 8 ball in contested ball, going -5 in contested possessions last week and averaging -6.5 for the year (ranked 15th in the league). 

Richmond’s team lineup will still contain 20 premiership players so the Hawks have got their work cut out for them. 

TH Spotlight: Finn Maginness 

Having grown in front of our eyes in the last fortnight, Finn’s role is a cause of much Hawks fan conversation and what happens is going to be an interesting watch. 

Does he tag Dustin Martin?

Tag Jayden Short?

Run with Kamdyn McIntosh to stop outside run?

Does he play down back?

Wing?

Well, who knows? Only Sam Mitchell but we cannot wait to find out. 

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