AFL Round 15 – Hawthorn v Gold Coast: At what point will Gold Coast say we can win this?

Late in the Second Quarter down in Launceston the scores were level. Gold Coast had kicked 5 straight. The Hawks were more wayward, with a score of 4.6. Weather conditions were far from ideal, one commentator describing the thick veil of torrential rain that fell for extended periods as chubby. Hawthorn had plenty of the ball but Gold Coast defended well and took their chances. Ablett, of course, had the ball on a string.

Gold Coast has improved noticeably this year, holding a spot in the Top Eight for the better part of the season. Only a week ago they notched a comfortable win against the Cats.

Now they were challenging the Hawks. With six minutes to go before half-time a Ch 7 commentator (can’t remember who) posed the idea: At what point will they (GC) say, we can win this? Such was the sense that GC were taking it up to the Hawks and, maybe even, rattling them.

When the half time siren sounded the Hawks were 30 points to the good. Five goals in six minutes. The surge started with Hawks leaders, Lewis and Hodge. Smith (who had been well held) scored two in a minute. Then Rioli, thinking he was part of the World Cup action in Brazil, soccered a goal from the equivalent of a corner pass. A game that had seemingly been in the balance was now heading for a Hawks blow-out! Not bad.

The last time these teams met was in April at Metricon, Gold Coast’s home ground. The Hawks score of 23.10 that day, was in some small part, courtesy of a supporter on the hill behind the goals with a bullseye target painted on a large sheet. When a Hawker lined up for goal (at whatever angle) said fan simply moved to the diagonal position behind the goal and held his target banner high. In the second quarter of this game down in Tassie, at 4.6, we wondered where he was. Five straight later (7.1 for the quarter) and I guess the Hawks had found their precision and bullseye sights on their own.

The Hawks extended the lead in the Third and into the Last before Gold Coast kicked a couple of late goals in junk time to disguise what was (in old timer parlance) a beating and a thrashing wrapped up in a whipping.

The Hawks looked good, pretty much all over the park. Cegler, their reserve ruck-man is doing such a good job he is edging out McEvoy, the ruck they secured from St Kilda, from the senior side. Again he dominated hit-outs, giving Hale, Roughie and even Hodge more time to play forward or down back, respectively. Lewis and Sewell are belying their years and out playing younger, quicker midfielders. It helps that they’re hard at it. God knows what their bodies are going to be like in ten years time what with the hits they’re taken.

Younger players, Smith, Hill and Shiels have lifted noticeably this year. Hawthorn’s midfield run and carry game bettered the Suns (no small achievement) due to these players. They are literally the definition of productivity measured by effectiveness and efficiency. I could go on (and I probably will) because, well plainly, every players is doing the heavy lifting.

Again, the Hawks had a spread of goal kickers. None better than Breust. His third goal was his 26th straight goal without kicking a point. This is a remarkable stat considering he kicks goals from all angles and with every part of his boot. His first for the afternoon came from Gunston’s nicely placed pass into the goal square. Breust took the ball away from the goal, turned his opponent inside out and slotted it through.

Leading the charge with one of the games of his career was Hodge. In a side with less depth of skilled players his game would have been described as the match winner. His opposite, Ablett, had a ridiculous 45 touches but less than half the impact of Hodge’s 26 disposals. Hodge was central to Hawks momentum, whether in and around the ball, directing play, getting physical or bursting through the pack (and scoring an improbable goal for the effort).

The Hawks are playing good footy for a side managing injuries to key players (sadly Cyril went down with another hamstring strain). With this win they have built a run of five wins in a row and look like they can keep up this level of skill, intensity and consistency for a couple more months. Gold Coast coach Bluey McKenna described his team’s loss as a reality check. He said Gold Coast need to look at what the Hawks do because “that’s the level we have to get to”. Then they might well say we can win this.

 

HAWTHORN      2.5    9.6    14.11    17.14 (116)
GOLD COAST    3.0     5.0     6.0            9.3 (57)

GOALS
Hawthorn: Breust 3, Hodge 3, Smith 2, Roughead 2, Lewis 2, Rioli, Burgoyne, Ceglar, Birchall
Gold Coast: Lynch 2, Ablett 2, Dixon 2, Bennell, Martin, Smith, Prestia

BEST
Hawthorn: Hodge, Lewis, Breust, Ceglar, Smith, Sewell, Shiels
Gold Coast: Ablett, Rischitelli, Swallow, O’Meara, Prestia

INJURIES
Hawthorn: Rioli (hamstring)
Gold Coast: Nil

SUBSTITUTES
Hawthorn: Grant Birchall replaced by Taylor Duryea in the final quarter.
Gold Coast: Greg Broughton replaced by Jesse Lonergan in the third quarter.

Reports: Jarrod Harbrow reported for striking Luke Breust in the final quarter.

Umpires: Stevic, Schmitt, O’Gorman

Official crowd: 13,178 at Aurora Stadium

Our votes: Hodge (H) 3, Lewis (H) 2, Breust (H) 1

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Luke Reynolds says:

    Nice report Rick. Have been surprised by Ceglar’s developement, didn’t see it in him when he was at the Pies. Happy to see him do well.

  2. And Brendan Bolton maintains his 100% W/L ratio.

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