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On Sunday afternoon, the Hawthorn AFLW side played their first home game for the year against St Kilda at Box Hill City Oval, in front of a vocal crowd. 

While the final scoreline read a 53 point victory to St Kilda, the effort and endeavour shown by the team was fantastic, essentially playing the majority of the game with three rotations, after injuries to Tamara Luke in the first minute of the game and Lousie Stephenson later in the first quarter.

The girls tried valiantly against a more experienced St Kilda team and never stopped trying, showing the tenacious effort that Bec Goddard is trying to base their game on. 

The team recorded 66 tackles for the game, with Tilly Lucas-Rodd and Tamara Smith leading the way with thirteen and six respectively. 

The team recorded 66 tackles for the game, with Tilly Lucas-Rodd and Tamara Smith leading the way with thirteen and six respectively. 

In fact, out of the 21 players selected for the game, 17 players recorded multiple tackles, showing the importance that had been placed on applying pressure to the opposition when they had the ball in hand, with the Hawks being a top eight side in terms of pressure. 

The pressure and want to harass the opposition when they had the ball was evident through the forward half with the likes of Jasmine Fleming, Zoe Babakos and Dominique Carbone chasing anything that moved in a St Kilda jumper inside of our forward 50. 

The repeated efforts from these players helped to put St Kilda players under pressure and meant that the ball wasn’t able to be easily transitioned from defence.

The Hawks huddle during the 2022 S7 AFLW Round 02 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the St Kilda Saints at Box Hill City Oval on September 4, 2022...
The Hawks’ investment is clear as they huddle together | Getty Images

The midfield had a different look throughout the game at centre bounces, with midfield coach David Mackay rotating six different combinations through this area throughout the match. 

The most used combination was the quartet of ruck Lucy Wales, with Tilly Lucas Rodd, Jasmine Fleming and Tamara Smith, which was used on six occasions, resulting in two centre clearances. 

Out of the backline, Hawthorn were intent on looking to use the expanses of Box Hill City Oval to switch the ball from one side to the other and force the St Kilda team to defend, which was different to the way that the team looked to transition out of defence in Round 1 against Essendon, where the majority of their exits were through the corridor.

This week, the girls had 32 inside 50’s for the game, which showed that the team is able to get the ball into the forward line, but with the injuries received throughout the match, it made it difficult as there were less tall marking targets to hit in the forward line.

The Hawks run on to the field during the 2022 S7 AFLW Round 02 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the St Kilda Saints at Box Hill City Oval on...
Box Hill City Oval welcomed their girls home for the first time in 2022 | Getty Images

Standouts 

Tilly Lucas-Rodd

The skipper played a strong hand through the midfield and found herself in the midst of many a contest on Sunday, leading from the front with a team high 21 touches, 13 tackles and five clearances, while finding herself attending 10 out of the 14 centre bounces throughout the game.

Tilly is becoming an inspirational leader for the young Hawthorn team, showing her willingness to do the hard work and show the young players in the team the effort and endeavour required to play at the highest level.

Tamara Smith

Tamara’s tenacity and effort was shown throughout the game both in attack and defence.

In attack, she had 16 touches and three clearances, while attending 11 centre bounces, whilst in defence, she registered six tackles, which equates to just shy of 10% made by Hawthorn. 

Whenever she was nearby, her opponents were looking over their shoulder for fear of being run down and caught with the ball. 

Jasmine Fleming

The No.2 draft pick in the Victorian component of the AFLW draft, Jasmine showed she could back up her impressive first outing in Round One, displaying her high work rate and skills around the contest. 

Jasmine had 10 disposals, four tackles, four clearances and attended 10 out of 14 centre bounces while playing predominantly through the midfield and half forward. 

Her low, darting kicks to leading players is quickly becoming a key component of her game, while her second and third efforts to disrupt opposition attacks were a highlight. 

Talking Hawks sponsor Jasmine so she will be one to watch as she continues to hone her craft in her debut season.

Lucy Wales

After the untimely injury to Tamara Luke in the first minute, 19 year old Lucy was given the unenviable task of taking on the majority of the ruck work in only her second game at the highest level. 

She acquitted herself well, recording 12 touches, 14 hit-outs, three tackles and attending 13 out of 14 centre bounces.

Kaitlyn Ashmore of the Hawks is tackled by Hannah Stuart of the Saints during the 2022 S7 AFLW Round 02 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the St...
Kaitlyn Ashmore was one of a rare few Hawks who were first to the ball on Sunday | Getty Images

Aileen Gilroy

Not only did Gilroy kick Hawthorn’s only goal for the game, it was also her first goal in the AFLW after having played in 29 games beforehand, primarily as a defender. 

Gilroy used her pace well throughout the game to also record 13 touches, two marks and three tackles.

Kaitlyn Ashmore

Kaitlyn Ashmore was able to use the width of Box Hill City Oval to her advantage, racking up thirteen touches and a team high five marks, making sure to run ahead of the play and give the Hawthorn defenders and midfielders a target to kick to. 

While the team didn’t come away with the four points, it is great seeing the effort and endeavour of the team. 

As mentioned in the after match press conference from Bec Goddard “It’s all part of the progress. 

We know that this year is going to be one of those seasons where we just have to lay our foundations and get that love and care for each other right.”

We now look forward to seeing how the girls go this weekend against Richmond, in a rematch from our last trial played only a few weeks ago. 

Here’s to riding the bumps with a grin and watching our fledgling Hawks beginning to soar to new heights.

Jasmine Fleming of the Hawks in action during the 2022 S7 AFLW Round 02 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the St Kilda Saints at Box Hill City...
Jasmine Fleming is a bright star for the Hawks’ future | Getty Images

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