In their first interstate away game for their history, Hawthorn put up a valiant effort against the GWS giants at Henson Park.
Playing their first-day game since Round Four, the Hawks were involved in their fourth thriller in a row, with being a to-and-from battle that unfortunately saw the girls on the end of a heartbreaking one-point defeat.
The girls took the field in hot conditions for the first time all season and after a tight and torrid battle, held the lead at the quarter-time break, thanks to goals from Tahlia Fellows and Jess Duffin.
Duffin scored her goal after a tremendous effort from Jasmine Fleming in the middle, who took possession of the ball, put on the afterburners and kicked long to Duffin who marked near the edge of the goal square.
After the quarter-time break, the evenness of the contest continued, with the girls tackling their hearts out while making the most of limited opportunities, kicking two goals for the term, including a magnificent individual goal from the right forward pocket from Akec Makur Chuot.
The cult hero wrong-footed her opponent with a brilliant piece of candy, before slotting it from the narrowest of angles to send the girls into the break up by two points.
After half-time, they continued to withstand wave after wave of GWS pressure, with defenders Jenna Richardson, Ainslie Kemp and Catherine Brown doing a phenomenal job of contesting many a forward foray from the Giants.
Their spoiling and pressure that was applied to the Giants forwards were keeping the Hawks in the game, with the team in the lead by a solitary point at the three-quarter time break.
The last quarter saw some incredible twists and turns, including an amazing defensive effort ten metres out from goal from the returning Eliza Shannon.
Despite missing three games due to concussion, Eliza threw herself at a contest, making an important last-ditch tackle that stopped the Giants from taking the lead.
Minutes later, Bridie “Eric” Hipwell put us up by a goal with a fantastic set shot from 30 metres out with less than five minutes to play.
Unfortunately, a few minutes later GWS goaled from the goal square after a lucky kick forward landed in the arms of the GWS forward despite the best efforts of Kaitlyn Ashmore, who had sprinted from over 50 metres away.
With less than 10 seconds left, GWS kicked a crucial behind, giving them a one-point advantage that Hawthorn was unable to reel in before the final siren.
Though a loss is always disappointing, the effort and heart that the team showed all day were enormous and personify how much this team continues to develop and grow every week.
The Hawks still haven’t lost a tackle count, with a +32 tackle differential to the Hawks (72 to 40) which was crucial in a close game, meaning the opposition was limited with their attacking options.
Two of our experienced players in Tilly Lucas-Rodd and Aileen Gilroy led the tackle count for the brown and gold with eight tackles respectively.
This week 20 out of the 21 players selected made at least a tackle, showing the work rate of the team to keep fronting up in defence despite the hot conditions.
After last week’s impressive win against the Eagles, the team saw one solitary change to the lineup, with Eliza Shannon playing her first game back from a concussion, for the omitted Sarah Perkins.
It meant Jess Duffin was deployed in the forward line for the whole game, though unfortunately due to how the GWS backline set up, our forwards only had 22 entries into the forward 50 to work with and ended the day with eight scoring shots.
Brady Gray would have been pleased with the efforts of the backline, with Jenna Richardson, Ainslie Kemp, Catherine Brown, Laura Elliott, Emily Everist, Eliza Shannon and Mackenzie Eardley competing well in the air and negating many of the 41 inside 50s that the GWS forward line had on the day.
Midfield coach David Mackay wasn’t afraid to shuffle the magnets this week for centre bounces, as we had six different combinations tried throughout the 12 centre bounces. The combination of Lucy Wales, Tilly Lucas-Rodd, Charlotte Baskaran and Jasmine Fleming attended four centre bounces together, which was the most used on the day, with the quartet registering a 50% win rate from those centre bounces, as well as drawing another.
Jenna continues to show why she was a highly touted recruit to the Hawthorn AFLW team.
After playing on Erin Phillips last week, this week Richo was given the big task of negating dangerous GWS forward Cora Staunton.
Richo kept Staunton to one behind, while continuously spoiling and pressuring, while her follow-up work with helped keep the game close. Richo ended the game with 10 touches, two marks, one tackle and three smothers.
The skipper continues to be a shining light of consistency in our fledgling team weekly.
This week, Tilly led the tackle count again with eight while having 18 touches, one mark and three clearances in another fantastic captain’s effort.
In her first game back from a concussion, Eliza wasn’t scared to throw herself into every contest with incredible determination.
Her never-say-die attitude was on full display in the last quarter, where she flung herself at a GWS opponent who was about to score, pulling off a massive holding the ball in Hawthorn’s favour.
Eliza finished the game with eight disposals and four tackles in a pleasing first game back from injury.
Baskaran continues to grow in confidence each week and has been a great addition to the midfield group.
She attended eight of the twelve centre bounces and recorded three clearances throughout the match.
She also had 11 disposals, one mark and six tackles in a game that might catch the eye of the AFLW Rising Star committee.
The Mayo Marvel was a tackling machine this week, recording an equal team-high eight tackles, while laying some massive shepherds to help protect her young teammates.
Gilly continued to show her huge work rate, playing between the two arcs with time at half forward, in the midfield and at half back.
Her day read eight touches, two marks and four clearances to round out another solid contribution to the team.
Our #2 draft pick continues to show her incredible skill and creativity that Hawks fans will be able to enjoy for many years to come.
Flemo set up the first goal to Jess Duffin with an incredible individual effort that has to be seen to be believed.
Jas worked hard throughout the game to have 11 touches, two tackles and two clearances to add another solid game to the 17-year-old’s already impressive CV.
While the team didn’t come away with the four points against the Giants, Bec Goddard will have the team ready and raring to go for Saturday night’s game against the top-of-the-table Lions at Kinetic Stadium in Frankston.
Not only will this be the last home game of the season for the Hawks, but it’ll also be a great test to see how far the team has come in their short time in the AFLW competition.
With finals still a mathematical chance, the team will be playing to win and we’ll continue to see them striving to soar.