The Hawks Finish Up in 2022

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In the final game of their inaugural season and their second interstate away game, Hawthorn ultimately fell agonisingly short in Vice Captain Jess Duffin’s final game of her illustrious AFLW career.

Taking to the ground without a chance of figuring in finals contention, the girls still had lots to play for and showed this in an impressive and spirited first quarter.

Using the breeze to their advantage, the Hawks took the lead through two first-quarter goals to Jess Duffin, who in her final game showed excellent forward craft to out body her opponent on multiple occasions.

Against the breeze in the second quarter, the girls worked hard to stop Fremantle from narrowing the gap and ended up behind by a single point at the halftime break.

The team were working overtime to get back and support their teammates and then pushing upfield to create a target in attack.

Hawthorn’s goal in the second quarter was kicked by Jess Duffin, who was playing her last professional game of AFLW after a brilliant contested mark after a superb Tamara Smith kick into the forward line.

After half-time, the girls used the wind to their advantage, with two runaway girls to Aileen Gilroy and Tahlia Fellows giving the Hawks a lead heading into the final quarter.

Despite kicking into the teeth of a fierce breeze, the girls fought right to the end, and despite a late goal to Jess Duffin with her last kick in AFLW, the Hawks fell agonisingly short of sending our retiring star off with a victory.

Jessica Duffin of the Hawks and Kara Antonio of the Dockers are chaired after the match during the 2022 S7 AFLW Round 10 match between the Fremantle...
Jess Duffin & Kara Antonio are justifiably chaired off after fantastic careers | Getty Images

For the second week running, the girls lost the tackle count, while still making a massive 64 tackles.

Young gun Charlotte Baskaran led with eight tackles, while Tamara Smith, Tilly Lucas-Rodd and Aileen Gilroy all laid seven.

This week, 20 out of the 21 players selected made at least a tackle, showing that the effort throughout this season in the defensive aspect did not drop off.

After last week’s loss to the table-topping Lions in the final home game for the season, the team saw four changes to the lineup, with Jasmine Fleming and Laura Elliott out of the lineup due to their year 12 exams, while Janet Baird and Zoe Barbakos were omitted from the team.

The inclusions saw Bridget Deed, Sophie Locke, Kate McCarthy and Lou Stephenson return to the side, adding a mixture of experience and youth.

Tahlia Fellows of the Hawks runs with the ball during the 2022 S7 AFLW Round 10 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Hawthorn Hawks at...
Tahlia Fellows breaks the tackle and speeds away | Getty Images

Brady Gray would have been happy with the efforts of the backline, with Fremantle having had 32 inside 50’s. 

The backline defended stoutly but struggled to contain Aine Tighe, who used her height to her advantage, kicking four goals.

Midfield coach David Mackay used eight different combinations throughout the game, with some of these combinations used for the first time in the season. 

The combination of Lucy Wales, Tilly Lucas-Rodd, Bridget Deed and Tamara Smith attended five centre bounces together, which was the most used on the day, with the quartet registering a 40% win rate. 

The Best

Tilly Lucas-Rodd

The captain took her game to another level this week against Fremantle. Lucas-Rodd totalled 26 disposals, six clearances and attended 13 out of the 18 centre bounces while making seven tackles in another captain’s display to round out a fantastic season.

Tamara Smith

The Hawthorn tackling machine continued her fantastic work, making seven tackles in the game to become the equal record holder of tackles made in a debut AFLW season.

She also gathered 11 disposals and gained 259 metres, placing her third for metres gained for the Hawks.

Kaitlyn Ashmore

The Energiser Bunny continued to show her incredible aerobic capacity on the weekend, running her opponents ragged whilst offering support for both the forwards and defenders.

Ashmore totalled 18 disposals, six marks, four tackles and two clearances and could still be running as far as we know.

Áine McDonagh 

McDonagh used her speed and height to her advantage, helping to offer a target for the midfielders in the forward line, while also supporting Lucy Wales in the middle of the ground.

In her most impressive game to date, she had 11 disposals, three hitouts, two marks, and a  goal that shows that we are only going to see more improvement in her game in future seasons.

Aileen Gilroy 

Gilroy continued to show her ability to tear games apart with her blistering speed, kicking a fantastic breakaway goal to put the Hawks in front in the third quarter. She amassed 14 disposals, seven tackles and two marks while gaining a team-high 360 metres from 13 kicks.

Aileen Gilroy of the Hawks celebrates a goal during the 2022 S7 AFLW Round 10 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Hawthorn Hawks at Fremantle...
Aileen Gilroy broke away to kick a goal against the Dockers | Getty Images

Bridget Deed 

In her first game since Round Five, Deed showed her ability to impact the contest and how much of an asset she will be to our club for a long time to come. 

She made the most of her recall to gather ten disposals, three marks, two tackles and two clearances while attending 14 out of the 18 centre bounces.

Lucy Wales 

Wales continues to show maturity beyond her years, competing impressively in the 18 centre bounces she attended throughout the match.

Pendles ended the contest with nine disposals, three marks, three tackles and twenty hitouts in an effort that will help her case for winning the Rising Star award at season’s end.

Charlotte Baskaran 

Without Jasmine Fleming, Baskaran was given more of a licence in the midfield and was able to use her incredible football smarts to end the encounter with 14 disposals, three clearances and a team-high eight tackles.

No doubt the NAB Rising Star committee will have been watching her efforts closely as she nears a nomination for her superb efforts in her inaugural season at the highest level.

While the team was disappointed with not coming away with the four points in the last game of their inaugural season,  the girls would be proud of the way that they showed heart, determination and effort, which has become a calling card of theirs this season.

At the beginning of the season, most doubted that the team would be competitive, but after their first season, the Hawthorn AFLW team has shown that not only are they going to improve in the coming years, but in no time they will be soaring to new heights.

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