Rnd 16 Preview: A Giant Task

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The Giants have received a nice little sugar hit under caretaker coach Mark McVeigh and after big wins over West Coast and North Melbourne, kicking eight goals in the first quarter against Brisbane, 16.9 in a full game against the Western Bulldogs and almost came back from 34 points down against Collingwood last week, the Hawks are presented with a challenge that is greater than a team sitting 14th. 

Meanwhile, the Hawks had a perfect 45 minutes of footy last week before Tom Liberatore stripped Changkuoth Jiath of the footy, setting up a scoring chain for Rhylee West and the Dogs kicked the next 11, game over. 

An interstate trip together (the first since the Fremantle trip at Round 13 and only the third for the year (not including Tasmania trips) could be a real bonding moment for the Hawks, who defeated Port Adelaide in Round 2 and came within two goals of second ranked team at the time Fremantle on the road. 


Last Time We Played

Round 15, 2021, MCG 

Hawks – 13.12.90 

Giants – 11.6.72 

Goals – Dylan Moore (4.1), Tim O’Brien (2.2), seven single goal-kickers 

Disposals – Tom Mitchell (40), Dan Howe (31), Will Day (29), Jack Scrimshaw (28), Liam Shiels (26), Jaeger O’Meara (23) 

The Hawks started slowly in this one, trailing by 16 points at the first change but that turned into an eight and three point lead at the half and three quarter time sirens respectively. 

A 5.3 to 3.0 last quarter sealed the win for the Hawks, with two goals to Dylan Moore in time on proving the difference and a gorgeous snap by Jaeger O’Meara sealed the deal with a minute left. 

Team News 

Ins – Will Day, Jack Gunston 

Outs – Liam Shiels, Daniel Howe (omitted) 

The Hawks welcome back a champion and (hopefully) a future one. 

Jack Gunston of the Hawks celebrates after scoring a goal during the round eight AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Hawthorn Hawks at...
Jack is back for the Hawks | Getty Images

With the body challenges Will Day has had and the wet conditions shows he’s probably going to play on the outside, perhaps on a wing like Howe did last week. 

Gunston up forward provides some real flexibility and in rainy conditions (projected for plenty), his cleanliness will be fully on show. 

How the Hawks win

The Giants defence has been poor under Mark McVeigh, conceding 33 scoring shots to Collingwood and 125 points to the Dogs in the last fortnight. 

Even with poor conditions on offer, Isaac Cumming, Nick Haynes and Lachie Whitfield aren’t strong one on one defenders, so the Hawks will get plenty of opportunities. 

Watch for Dylan Moore and Luke Breust to be ultra clean, with Connor MacDonald a chance to show his real class around the pill. 

The Hawks were robbed of a win over the Pies but when the weather turned poor, the Hawks turned it on, led by Jai Newcombe’s dozen disposals in that third quarter. 

Contested ball is going to be key in this game but it’s all about the time in forward half when the skies open up. 

The Pies went +29 in contested ball but the Hawks had it in their forward half for 62% of the second half and it nearly paid off. 

The Hawks still sit comfortably in the top five teams of converting inside 50’s to scores, with 25% of the Hawks’ entries last week (48) turning into goals (12), 48% were scores and 56% were scoring attempts. 

Don’t worry about clean possession, don’t worry about pretty corridor ball, get the onion and force it forward. 

Josh Kelly and his contingent of midfielders aren’t a perfect bunch around the wet Sherrin so let’s get down and dirty. 

Of the top five goal-kickers for 2022 in this game, the Hawks lead 3-2, with Mitch Lewis (31) comfortably in front, with Toby Greene and Luke Breust tied (25), and Dylan Moore (21) is one ahead of Jesse Hogan (20). 


The Hawks are semi-expected to win this game, and that’s when things have gone badly. 

Although the struggle has been against some top four teams, the Hawks are 2-5 against teams outside of the eight when the Hawks played them. 

This is a team who are still lacking in the execution of their game plan, and even are off psychologically when the weight of expectation arrives. 

The Giants can go all out to score and the Hawks are the third worst defence, behind West Coast and North Melbourne. 

No Frost, Hartigan and Grainger-Barras means James’ Sicily and Blanck are thrown to the wolves in some ways, even if Jesse Hogan  Jarrod Brander and maybe some of Harry Himmelberg (albeit he is moving around the ground a bit) aren’t of the same quality of some past forward lines. 

That midfield for the Giants can still bat deep with the return of Tim Taranto, joining Tom Green, Stephen Coniglio, Josh Kelly, Lachie Ash, Lachie Whitfield and Callan Ward, so the Hawks will need to mix up their midfield rotations. 

In the wet, anything goes and the hungrier side will win on the day. 

The Hawks also have a 0-6 record at Giants Stadium and is the only ground in Hawthorn history that the Hawks have played at multiple times but never won at.

Debutant, James Blanck of the Hawks warms up during the 2022 AFL Round 15 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Hawthorn Hawks at Marvel Stadium...
James Blanck is already a Hawk fan favourite | Getty Images

TH Spotlight: James Blanck 

In a debut game with the majority of his contests up against Aaron Naughton, Blanck was unreal and the Hawks have clearly found one for the future. 

In the wet though, that’s another story and his footy IQ will be really put on show, which is extremely exciting.

Talls in the rain have two jobs; never let your opponent mark a wet footy, and don’t let the ball hit goal side by less than five metres, as Toby Greene, Daniel Lloyd and Tanner Bruhn will expose the Hawks. 

Geez he looks good though, doesn’t he? 


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