Rnd 18 Preview: Final Homecoming?

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This is only the second time that a preview is being written after a win since Round 5 so there is some unfamiliar territory here. 

However, we move forward with a chance to win back to back games since Rounds 1-2 against a team that is further back than Adelaide last week.

The Hawks are the only team who haven’t played any team twice as yet, so if they can finish 6-11 before doubling up, that’s not a bad result at all. 

Last Time We Played

Round 8, 2021, MCG 

Hawks – 8.12.60 

Eagles – 14.14.98 

Goals – Mitch Lewis (2.2), Ollie Hanrahan (2.1), James Worpel (2.0) 

Disposals – Tom Mitchell (41), Jarman Impey (32), Jack Scrimshaw, James Worpel (27), Changkuoth Jiath (25) 

Disposals – Tom Mitchell, James Worpel (28), Lachie Bramble, Dylan Moore (25), Jaeger O’Meara, Chad Wingard (24)

Team News

In’s – Will Day

Out’s – Jacob Koschitzke (omitted) 

With plenty of rain expected, the Hawks are going with two ruckmen and Mitch Lewis the solo key forward.

Day needs to play some consecutive games as his eight games in a row from Round 6-13 is the highest tally he’s had in a row.

For Kosi, he needs some form back as he’s only kicked the 16 goals in a dozen games but he should be back in business pretty shortly. 

How the Hawks Win

The easiest way to dissect how the Hawks win is to talk about how bad West Coast have been.

Sitting second last with the second worst offence and defence, the Eagles will also be without Jeremy McGovern and Nic Naitanui, which is a huge help.

The Hawks may have conceded the third most points in the league but the Eagles have only kicked 1,007 points at an average of 63.

The Hawks have played some good footy in the wet, going down to Collingwood by just four points in a really unlucky result.

The weather forecast is showing that there’s plenty of rain on the way so if that’s the case, Jai Newcombe, Conor Nash and Tom Mitchell need to lead this midfield.

Also, the smalls will need to take their chances as Mitch Lewis isn’t going to get great looks in the air, so when the ball inevitably hits the ground, the class of Luke Breust, Dylan Moore and Connor MacDonald will need to be on show and it absolutely should be.


Fast, direct play needs to be the name of the game on Sunday afternoon as the Eagles are one of the worst teams in the competition at defending from their front half, so Sicily, Scrimshaw, Day, Hardwick and Jiath can’t afford to do anything unnecessary when transitioning out of defensive 50.

Finn Maginness is another who’s role is up in the air as his two best performances have come against Melbourne’s Ed Langdon and Adelaide’s Jordan Dawson. 

In Melbourne victories since 2020, Langdon has averaged 25 disposals and Maginness kept him to nine touches, whereas Dawson’s last nine weeks has spurned an average of 26, with Maginness keeping him to 15. 

If he was in top form, Andrew Gaff would fit the mould as a target for Maginness to shut down and he had 30 touches against Carlton but he hasn’t been close to his productive best. 

Tim Kelly is another that Finn could go after if Sam Mitchell wanted a genuine midfield tag, as Kelly in the last three weeks has had 80 disposals in total.

Will Finn have a task or is he going to chase the footy himself?

Can’t wait to find out.


Psychologically, the Hawks have been putrid against poor sides.

Up until North Melbourne went down to Collingwood last week by just seven points, they were Hawthorn’s closest game with them for the season back in Round 1.

The Hawks also lost to Essendon, GWS, Gold Coast, St.Kilda and the Western Bulldogs, all teams not currently playing finals, with wins over both South Australian teams. 

The game plan is so clear to observe from Sam Mitchell; until the midfield is fully set, attack from the back half and be an efficient scoring team; however, when it’s not working for the Hawks, the lack of Plan B has seen more than one side take the Hawks apart.

Denver Grainger-Barras and James Blanck have got their hands full regardless of conditions, with 1,180 goals between their opponents Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling. 

Once the ball hits the ground, there’s more problems with excitement machines Liam Ryan and Willie Rioli finding some form in the last month. 

Whilst the Hawks should be comfortable in knowing they’re a better team, that hasn’t stopped poor results from occurring so a check to see where the Hawks are at mentally is never a bad thing. 

TH Spotlight – Jarman Impey’s role

The move forward was unbelievable and in the eyes of the author, needs to continue so the extra spotlight will be on Jars.

Could’ve (and should’ve!) kicked four last week while collecting 14 disposals, seven score involvements, five marks and looked so dangerous up forward. 

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