Not Bad or how the Hawks walk the talk

 Heading into their Round 8 match in early May against the Swans, the Hawks were missing Lake, Mitchell and Sewell. Before the first bounce Hodge had joined them. By game’s end, Rioli and Gibson were sidelined with injuries. Others on the injury list from Round 8 on include Shiels, considered a future captain, Stratton, a core part of the backline, Gunston, one of the leading goal-kickers in the competition and the Hawks ruckman, McEvoy. Oh, that’s right. They have been without Clarko, their coach, due to a serious illness as well.

Five rounds on, the Hawks, with a seriously depleted list (top tier player injuries cut deep into a team’s viability) have done pretty well, all things considered. The Hawks have managed to win four of their last five games, in these trying circumstances. Not a bad return on investment, as they say in investment circles. Their player depth has been well and truly tested. They passed the audition. Players like Spangher, Litherland, Ceglar, Langford and others have done the jumper proud.

After 13 Rounds the Hawks sit second on the ladder, with a very healthy percentage as protection. The next three Rounds are games they should win, to hold their place on the ladder. Then the ante gets upped. By then most of the Hawks core injury list should be back on the park or stamping to get out there. If they are 13-3 at that point the Hawks would have exceeded all expectations. They would also be as prepared as a team can be to head into the deep heart of the season.

The Hawks are equal favourites (or second favourite) with the Swans to win the Flag. (And good on the Hawks for giving their struggling cousins in Sydney a helping hand by sending Buddy their way – where would they be without him?).

That the Hawks are Flag favs is quite remarkable and speaks volumes to the respect betting circles have for the Mightys. While Port and Freo are doing everything to be noticed by the Odds-makers the Hawks are still drawing the good money. The way they have played in the last few weeks would not have closed any wallets.

Why are the Hawks travelling so well? First, look at the Coleman Medal race. The Hawks have three players in the Top 10. No other team has more than one player in the Top 10. Not a bad effort. The Hawks lead the competition with the highest number of goal kickers per game as well. Even the best backline going around is going to have their hands full trying to plug all those options.

The second observation is about media awards for 2014’s best player. In the Age there is not a Hawks player in the leading Best Player list (of ten or more). Some teams, like Collingwood and Gold Coast have two or more player on that list. The Hawks? Not a one. Simply put, the effort is spread across a range of players. Heroes, not hero. The skill level is wide and deep.

Can the Hawks take it all the way? You know, to 5.10pm on Saturday 27 September, and holding the cup aloft? I don’t know. I do know that five weeks ago it felt like the sky was falling. Today, it would seem winter is but a puddle. Such has been the way the Hawks have taken to this challenge. Each week will reveal a little more about the character of this great club, I know. And when asked how I think the Hawks are travelling this year I’ll say: Not bad.

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Grant Fraser says

    Love your work, Rick

  2. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    I hate to admit this Ricky, but I enjoy watching Hawthorn play footy. Looking ominous.

  3. daniel flesch says

    Admirable optimism , Trucker old son ; but the Hawks will have to hang onto second place on the ladder and win first up in September to avoid playing Finals in Adelaide , Perth or (shudder ) at that stupid Sydney CRICKET Ground which is what the Swans want . (Sure the MC G is also called a cricket ground , but it’s really a footy ground as the SCG is not.)

  4. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Full credit to the hawks who definitely seem to have the most depth in the league which is a credit to there whole coaching and development structure again as a non
    Hawthorn supporter I think there leadership group is as good if not better than any 1 else’s . To be in there current position with there injuries has been a remarkable effort but have to agree with , Daniel above you want to finish 1 or 2 otherwise it’s going to be bloody difficult , thanks Rick

  5. Rick Kane says

    We’re just taking it one game (and however many injuries we incur) at a time.

    DF, I am optimistic. It must be the lovely Melbourne weather, it brings out the rosy red cheeks and goodwill to support your team and hope they frive the opposition into the ground!

    Cheers

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