Round 1 – Hawthorn v Geelong: Problems for Hawthorn? How did you fit all the champions in!

 

Hillard O'Donnell and Associates

Hillard O’Donnell and Associates

Cats: Momentum_Logo

 

Navigating the backstreets of Richmond to find a park, fellow passionate Hawk supporter Zorba and I contemplated what statement Hawthorn would make. We’d had a summer gorging on arguably the perfect Grand Final performance that was ruthless, relentless and pulsating football.

Zorba would sneak this lowly GA member into the reserved seating section to join fellow Hawk tragic Dappers. As a trio we graced the local football field together and watched almost every game together of the glorious 2008 season.

However, changes to local football loyalty, employment relocations and family additions had meant us three Hawks hadn’t shared recent triumphs.

But at quarter-time we were swiftly transported back to 2008 Grand Final Day through a phone call from my Cats supporting younger brother. He enjoys his football, but doesn’t indulge in the football religion to the level of his older sibling and rarely makes these boasting calls. In fact, the last time I can recall a quarter-time call was during the 2008 Grand Final. Funnily enough, my end of the conversation today was similar to ’08 – it is hard playing 21 against 24 (the easy lament of the team trailing).

Unlike ’08, the young kitten had phoned back at half-time to concede the game, but not the mantle of greatest team of the modern era.

Our Hawks seemed to be trialling a new game plan early. It appeared to be long kicks to contests or open space. No doubt the pressure from the blue and white hoops was a key factor in this seemingly desperate play.

But in the second quarter, the Hawthorn players installed a turbo boost. It wasn’t long ago Geelong were deemed to have too much outside speed for the Hawks to handle. In the second term, the fast-fleeted Hawks exposed a Geelong unit unable to cleanly win the inside ball.

During the third quarter our section could smell something burning. We safely assumed it was the MCG turf from the swift ball movement and transition.

Clearly, reigning best and fairest Jordan Lewis has maintained his 2014 form. Josh Gibson has decided to mark more often than punch, with the addition of James Frawley to support Brian Lake beneficial to his role. Ruckman Ben McEvoy and Jon Ceglar don’t want to give their positions back, covering ground, presenting and ensuring marking contests.

It was the first time I could recall a flat Hawks-Cats clash in the last quarter. The autumn chill had descended on the MCG and the players were spent, which was evident by the woeful kicking for goal in the last quarter.

Questions did arise from the match though. How is Hawthorn going to recall Birchall, Spangher and Hale? Where does O’Rourke fit in, a number two draft pick? Our injury woes of last season have unintentionally developed a talented deep list.

End result though is that the Hawks had made a statement. The performance on 2014 Grand Final Day is the level a fully fit, injury-free Hawthorn outfit demands.

I know it is only round one and we’ve been spoilt in recent years, but it is exciting to think about what a fully-fit Hawthorn outfit can achieve. The trio left the `G’ excited by the prospect of a repeat of our ’08 experience. Other teams in the competition will need to play superb football to take our mantle.

About Bradley Thomas

Tried every sport, excelled at none. Enjoyed being a participant though. Among the passions are Hawthorn, thoroughbred racing, border collie Barney and of course, my wife and two sons. Love the joy of cheering a Hawthorn goal, landing a Running Double and deflating a batman's ego with slow swing bowling.

Comments

  1. Chris Scott is going to learn a lot about coaching this year. The Hawks were scintillating. Incredible foot skills.

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