Rnd 15 Preview: Friday Night Dogfight

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We’ve all had the week off and it’s time to get back into it and in a run home that includes just two top eight sides, the mental resilience of this side will be thrown into the spotlight across the last nine weeks. 

In the meantime, the Dogs are coming off the game of the year against GWS and will present plenty of their own challenges. 

Last Time We Played

Round 22, 2021, UTAS 

Hawks – 9.10.64

Dogs – 5.7.37 

Goals – Jacob Koschitzke (2.1) was the only multiple goal-kicker. 

Disposals – Daniel Howe (34 and a goal), Tom Mitchell (27 and a goal), Chad Wingard (26 and a goal), Blake Hardwick (24 and eleven marks), Tim O’Brien (24 and ten marks) 

Team News 

In’s – James Worpel, Jarman Impey, Mitch Lewis, Connor MacDonald, James Blanck

Out’s – Kyle Hartigan, Jackson Callow, Will Day, Chad Wingard, Sam Frost 

Post bye, everyone is refreshed so this is the best chance after Round 1 to see what a close to best 22 Hawks side looks like, which will show us a lot about how Sam wants to play and with whom. 

Jimmy Worpel comes back after an exodus for poor form and has shown great form at Box Hill, Impey and Lewis have proven their fitness and Connor MacDonald returns also. 

We all love a debutant at Hawthorn and mid-season recruit James Blanck becomes the fifth for the year. 

At centre half back, a mouth-watering contest against Pick 1 Jamarra Ugle-Hagan is on the cards and that’s a nice test for the youngster. 

How the Hawks win

The key for the Hawks here is actually to repeat a lot of what happened against Fremantle but for longer and with a touch better execution. 

The pressure index for large parts of the Dockers clash was 200+ (league average 178) and caused the Dockers to have nearly 500 disposals, and less than 50 inside 50’s. 

Yes, Aaron Naughton is a more frightening prospect than Rory Lobb but the principle remains; don’t allow a deep Bulldogs midfield to use Marvel like a ski slope and just keep moving forward at pace. 

With the ball in hand, the Hawks finally won an inside 50 count but lacked the ability to finish their own work. 

Going into the Dockers game, the Hawks were the best team in the league for converting inside 50’s to scores, and now they sit third after having 82 points from 61 entries (1.34 points per entry). 

With Mitch Lewis back in the team, he and Jacob Koschitzke can cause some problems for an undersized Alex Keath and former Hawk Tim O’Brien. 

The Dogs also give up the fourth most scores to “non-key forwards” in the league so Dylan Moore and Luke Breust should be licking their lips, especially against some Dogs defenders who are poor at stopping their opponents. 

Toby Greene recently kicked seven and for the Suns, Joel Jeffrey and Ben Ainsworth in Round 10 kicked eight between them so the opportunities will come. 

The want for the Hawks to repel from the back half can also be an achievable task, as the Dogs concede the third most rebound 50’s on average. 

The Dogs will give the Hawks opportunities to beat them using the Hawks method so the question to be answered is; can they do it for four quarters? 

Post bye with everyone fresh? Why not? 


The Dogs took the Giants apart and had a mix of goal-kickers too, which is a huge concern. 

With no Hartigan or Sam Frost, Aaron Naughton looks like match winner, with his five goal haul taking place on Sam Taylor, who before that game, was a top five defender for one-on-one wins, marks and in the last six weeks, the number one player in the league for intercept possessions! 

Rhylee West and Lachie McNeil all kicked goals as half forward flankers, Anthony Scott kicked a goal as reward for some hard running on the wing from a stoppage and midfielders Josh Dunkley, Marcus Bontempelli and Jackson Macrae all kicked goals, and Adam Treloar kicked two behinds. 

Sam Mitchell has already proven that he can plan accordingly to a team and how they play, so how to shut down the deepest midfield in the league is a frightful task indeed. 

The return of James Worpel, the rise of Conor Nash, the dash of Jai Newcombe, class of Jaeger O’Meara and hunting ability of Tom Mitchell have got a herculean task. 

For a team who can be exploited defensively, the Dogs have stood up for the most part; only conceding 99+ points three times in 2022, compared to the Hawks’ six indiscretions. 

As much as Mitch Lewis, Jacob Koschitzke, Luke Breust and Dylan Moore are going to need to put scoreboard pressure on, it’s also up to the midfielders to keep the score ticking over. 

Chad Wingard and Jack Gunston have kicked 32 goals between them and they’re not playing, plus O’Meara (5), Mitchell (4), Newcombe (3) and Nash (1) aren’t kicking goals. 

This needs to be a team effort, make no mistake. The top end can play as well as they like but if the bottom six play poorly, this will be a big loss, against a team who have September aspirations. 

TH Spotlight – Jimmy Worpel 

There is no one player who needs a bigger half of the season than the Worpedo. 

Port Adelaide and West Coast trade rumours won’t go away, his own form has been under the standard he expects of himself and the Hawthorn midfield is growing in depth by the week. 

Doesn’t need 30 and three goals every week but his impact per possession needs to be higher. 

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