AFL Round 17 – Adelaide v Hawthorn: Hawks win Battle of the Birds

The Hawks made arguably the toughest road trip in footy right now on Friday night, overcoming the Adelaide Crows by 12 points at the redeveloped Adelaide Oval. It must be said that the new stadium is an outstanding venue for AFL and will be an invaluable resource for both the Crows and the Power in the years to come; especially should they play home finals in front of their adoring fans.

The Hawks again continue to defy many suggestions that injuries to integral parts of their side will come back to haunt them, continuing to cover vital posts with players who are fighting for a spot in the best 22. This can only be a good thing for the reigning premiers who will be relying on their younger brigade to fill key holes which will be left by retirements in the years to come.

Jack Gunston received very little love from his former home crowd, who were all the more infuriated after he kicked the Hawks first three goals and took a super mark in the opening term which rubbed salt into the still-open wound that he left after returning to Victoria. There is no doubt that if Gunston was still at the Crows, they would be well inside the top eight and even challenging for a top four spot, such is the quality and consistency that the number 19 is bringing to the current Hawks outfit. A forward line boasting Walker, Jenkins, Podsiadly and Gunston would be a nightmare for any side.

Adelaide responded to kick three goals of their own in before the first change and keep the margin to single digits, and it was clear that a great contest was unfolding between two quality sides, regardless of their respective positions on the ladder.

The Crows tall forwards were causing headaches for a Hawks defence that has been undermanned for a period of time now, particularly through the second and third quarters where the Crows threatened to take the game away from the reigning premiers with quality supply and good goal kicking when opportunities arose. Eddie Betts was well held by Angus Litherland all night and only kicked one goal, however he and Tom Lynch did seem to spend a lot of time up near the wings and the half forward flanks, no doubt in an attempt to isolate Walker and Jenkins one-on-one.

The Hawks weren’t running on all cylinders in the opening half by any stretch – a few skill errors would have frustrated Alistair Clarkson, no more so that Isaac Smith hitting the post from the edge of the goal square after trying to dribble one along the ground rather than using the aerial route. None the less the Hawks maintained a six-point lead at the main break.

The Crows responded during the third quarter, kicking 4 goals to one in a burst mid-way through the term that got the home crowd up out of their seats. The Hawks however responded with the last three goals before the final change – Breust was beginning to become a factor in the match, after a quiet first half he had two goals to his name, Gunston had four and despite Roughead being well held by Talia, the Hawks were still finding avenues to goal. It was a 17-point advantage to the Hawks with one quarter to play.

The visitors would put four behinds on the board to start the last term, peppering the goals and pressing up to force turnover after turnover by the Crows and generate repeat forward forays. Adelaide manufactured goals late but was unable to overhaul a Hawthorn lead which was established late in the third term. Dangerfield and Crouch were dominant through the midfield recording 40 plus disposals each, however when 56 of a possible 91 possessions are handballs, their effectiveness was somewhat limited – particularly that of Dangerfield who the Crows would dearly love to be receiving such handballs and breaking into space, such is his explosiveness.

For the Hawks, Jonathon Ceglar was excellent in the ruck, Gunston and Breust were the focal points up forward yet again, Birchall was good across half back and Mitchell continues to make a good return from a hamstring injury suffered earlier in the year. With reinforcements to return over the next month, the feeling down at Waverly will be one of both relief and renewed confidence.

What lies ahead for these two sides? The Hawks face a huge task in the second week of the split round against the raging Swans at the MCG, and more worryingly a white-hot Buddy Franklin. For the Crows, its season-on-the-line stuff against Collingwood a day later in the same location, where they simply must win to give themselves any hope of playing finals this year.

 

ADELAIDE     3.0   7.4   11.4   14.8 (92)

HAWTHORN 4.3   8.4   13.9   15.14 (104)

 

GOALS

Adelaide: Jenkins 5, Podsiadly 2, Walker 2, Wright, Betts, Lynch, Smith

Hawthorn: Gunston 4, Breust 3, Simpkin 2, McEvoy 2, Ceglar 2, Burgoyne, Duryea

 

BEST

Adelaide: Dangerfield, Crouch, Jacobs, Smith, Sloane, Jenkins

Hawthorn: Mitchell, Birchall, Gunston, Suckling, Hodge, Simpkin

 

Our Votes:

3 – Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn)

2 – Partick Dangerfield (Adelaide)

1 – Jack Gunston (Hawthorn)

About Jeremy Hill

Devoted Hawthorn supporter and University Blacks footballer who spends more time watching, reading and writing about sport than is considered healthy. Like most people my age, I'm 20.

Comments

  1. daniel flesch says

    Nice write-up Jeremy. Thanks. Good the rain predicted for the match stayed away till the game finished and a pretty high standard match was allowed to happen.

  2. Rick Kane says

    Thanks for a good write up Mr Hill, there’s no doubt that Adelaide are on their way up and with a bit more even spread of talent across the ground they’ll be harder to beat. For now, we’re happy to pocket the 4 points and move on to tackle Mt Sydney (a tough mountain to beat, that’s for sure!)

    Cheers

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