Rnd 12 Preview: Avoid a Sunday Swoop

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Hasn’t the last fortnight been a roller coaster? 

One of the games of the year against the second best team in the competition; then backed up with no ruckman, against a team who had the perfect conditions that clobbered the Hawks. 

Last Time We Played

Hawks – 15.7.97 

Pies – 12.6.78 

Goals – Koschitzke (3.0), Moore (2.1), Howe (2.0) 

Disposals – Mitchell (44), Wingard (30), Hardwick (28), O’Meara (27), Scrimshaw (26) 

Team News 

Ins – Kyle Hartigan, Ned Reeves, Jaeger O’Meara, Jack Gunston 

Outs – Sam Frost (suspended), Dan Howe, Denver Grainger-Barras (omitted), Jack Scrimshaw (concussion)

The key pillars from last week find themselves out of the team, with Frost getting suspended for a week and Denver being dropped.

Into the team comes Kyle Hartigan to play on the resting ruckman, whilst James Sicily will likely take on Brody Mihocek to allow himself to intercept the ball. 

Ned Reeves is back into the fold to take on Darcy Cameron. It is so good to have a ruckman in the team, whilst also picking up Max Ramsden in the mid-season draft. 

Jack Scrimshaw was concussed last week in the second quarter and Max Lynch misses through concussion again. 

Jaeger O’Meara is welcomed back to add grunt to a midfield that was smashed last week, while James Worpel misses again. 

How the Hawks win

The Pies had a really good win last week over the Blues and they did it through their ability to make their entries count.

The Blues won the contested possession, uncontested possession, clearances, tackles inside 50 and the inside 50 count so the Pies defended with all their might and punished the Blues on turnover. 

The Pies converted 47% of their inside 50’s into a score so the Hawks back six need to hold themselves accountable and not let marks inside 50 be taken (Carlton conceded 18 marks, albeit without Jacob Weitering for a lot of the game). 

Collingwood only laid eight tackles inside 50 for the game so if the contest in the air is broken up, the likes of Will Day, Jarman Impey, Blake Hardwick and James Sicily should be taking the ball away from the forward arc with relative ease. 

The Hawks are the number four team in the competition for scores in the back half and a top four team for using the corridor, so it is up to good ball use and the creation of space to punish the Pies turnovers. 

You only need to look at Tom Lynch’s performance on Darcy Moore to know that the Pies aren’t big fans of manning up. 

Lynch had 18 disposals and kicked five goals in the first half(!) in their meeting earlier in the year and even last week, Charlie Curnow kicked 4.2 against Collingwood.

Mitch Lewis has an opportunity to negate Darcy Moore intercepting other contests, but get himself into good positions to keep Moore accountable, which will help the contingency of smalls as the Magpies small defenders won’t have an excuse to not defend.

Lewis can keep Moore accountable | Getty Images

Neither of these two teams are particularly strong around the contest, so the return of Jaeger O’Meara is an ultra timely one. 

Jai Newcombe had just the twelve disposals last week but his power and burst are going to be huge factors, especially since Jordan De Goey is the only powerful midfielder that Collingwood have, and De Goey doesn’t attend every stoppage.

Tom Mitchell and Conor Nash are also going to be key in the contest, as Pat Lipinski and Jack Crisp like taking territory before using the ball. Preventing the Pies walking out of stoppages will go a long way to winning the game. 

Concerns

Another day, another ruck conversation. 

Ned Reeves is back after an extensive break with a shoulder injury and no Hawk fan should underestimate Darcy Cameron. 

Cameron is averaging 27 hit-outs in the last three weeks, along with nearly six tackles so he’s getting himself around the ground and in the contest as well. 

This won’t be a walkover for Reeves and Jacob Koschitzke by any stretch and the Hawks cannot allow Cameron to dictate terms.

The Hawks have got a couple of youngsters to worry about who are establishing themselves as barometers for the Pies. They will need to be kept accountable at both ends of the ground.

Down back, Pies fans somehow think Nick Daicos getting 17 uncontested possessions a week is the recipe for the Rising Star award. As a good user of the ball, he hasn’t been made to defend.

Chad Wingard is a star who can make Daicos’ day not a pleasant one, and since Chad has some of the best nous around goal, Daicos can be punished the other way. 

However, to the larger point, if Daicos, John Noble, Jeremy Howe and Isaac Quaynor are allowed to walk the ball out of the Hawks forward 50, the brown and gold are in big trouble.

Jack Ginnivan R10 v Dockers | Getty Images

Up forward, the other barometer is of course Jack Ginnivan, with the “everyone hates me” personality and Slim Shady 2003 hair style, it’s no secret that when he’s firing, the Pies are firing.

Brody Mihocek is a fine player and Mason Cox will compete in the air as he can do, but Blake Hardwick needs to show the flamboyant young man that not everything will go his way; despite his 19.12 return for the year so far.

TH Spotlight – Blake Hardwick 

From underrated star to an under the radar lean patch, Dimma hasn’t has the greatest output in 2022. 

Coming off a season with 13 games of 20+ disposals and nine games of 6+ marks, Hardwick’s had a season high disposal tally of 19 and four games of 6+ marks, but no higher than six in a game (had five of 7+ last year). 

There is plenty of the footy to go around in that back six, but the Hawks are also the equal third worst team in the competition for conceding points to the opposition (tied with Essendon and behind North and West Coast).

We know he’s a much better player than his current output and as we get closer to hitting the bye, this week is a great opportunity to hit peak Dimma form. 

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