Hawthorn stunned most by ending fourth on the ladder on the finish of the house and away rounds final 12 months, however weren’t a very sturdy facet.
In reality, the competitors lacked depth of high quality groups in 2018, and there have been solely 4 good ones. Hawthorn solely needed to play one among this quartet after Spherical four final season, and none of them from Spherical 11 onwards.
A delicate draw after the bye rounds noticed them rise from tenth into fourth, however no educated soccer observer was stunned once they have been bundled out of September in straight units.
Nonetheless, it was a powerful set of outcomes for a membership that was bouncing again from a 12th-placed completed in 2017.
Hawthorn greatest 22
B: B.Hardwick, J.Frawley, B.Stratton
HB: R.Henderson, J.Sicily, G.Birchall
C: T.Scully, J.O’Meara, I.Smith
HF: J.Worpel, J.Gunston, H.Morrison
F: L.Breust, J.Roughead, P.Puopolo
Foll: B.McEvoy, L.Shiels, C.Wingard
Int: S.Burgoyne, J.Impey, D.Howe, J.Ceglar
Em: Ok.Model, T.Miles, T.O’Brien
The named 22 above is sort of a brief workforce, given it has James Sicily and Jack Gunston in key positions, when each are extra like third talls. Is a smaller facet the way in which to go for the Hawks, or do the likes of Kieren Model, Tim O’Brien and Ryan Schoenmakers play? It’s possible that a number of of them will get common video games, which implies a operating participant or two should make manner.
However with Tom Scully nonetheless on the comeback from a protracted damage and Grant Birchall extra delusion than man lately, there are all the time going to be spots up for grabs.
It should be famous that Tom Mitchell was not thought of for the above squad after breaking his leg throughout pre-season coaching and is anticipated to overlook the complete 2019 season.
Hawthorn weren’t going to be any good with Mitchell this 12 months, so it’s exhausting to see them being wonderful with out him. They weren’t a one-man band final 12 months although, with Gunston and Luke Breust having career-best seasons up ahead. Gunston was okay throughout the finals, however Breust was poor, and the Hawks averaged 4 targets much less in September than that they had by the common season.
Opposition groups can be effectively served going ultra-defensive on Breust, as a result of he struggles when being clamped and different teammates don’t have his creativity or smarts.
Jarryd Roughead’s type is barely going a method after years of magnificent service, and Paul Puopolo affords much less worth than he did in a stronger facet.
James Worpel made a beneficial impression from his alternatives, and appears to be a goer with good fingers that can little doubt spend vital time within the midfield.
Harry Morrison is one other younger prospect that gained a lot expertise final 12 months, and can profit from it.
However it’s straightforward to see why a lot is left to Gunston and Breust. They’re the pinnacle of the forward-line snake, and when you lower them off, the remaining will wither.
A participant which may get a glance in up ahead is ex-Saint Darren Minchington. He regarded to have a stage of means at St Kilda, however by no means nailed down a spot. St Kilda has hardly been an setting to develop elite expertise, so maybe Clarkson and crew can discover his greatest.
Jaeger O’Meara would be the prime mover within the center now because of Mitchell’s absence, and most of the people within the AFL world have been happy to see him lastly string collectively a bunch of matches. He constructed his sport time up the longer the season went, however performed extra of an outdoor function and can possible improve his contested and clearance work now.
Can Scully go straight again to being the participant he was in 2016-17 at GWS? It’s unlikely, and persistence goes to be required. The concept of him and Isaac Smith operating every wing definitely has enchantment. Smith is one other who performed at a excessive stage in 2018, and might want to once more if the Hawks are to keep up their standing.
Chad Wingard is an addition to the membership that’s one to sit up for. With no Mitchell, he must be required to tackle extra midfield accountability than he does up ahead. His profession contained some excessive highs early on, however he struggled for constant affect as time went on at Port. What can he do beneath Clarkson?
Liam Shiels has historically been on defensive duties by the Hawks midfield, and continues to be a constant exhausting physique within the clinches and dealing each methods, however has transitioned the tagging roles to the very efficient Daniel Howe.
Ben McEvoy leads the ruck division, with assist from Jon Ceglar. McEvoy lacked the affect final 12 months that he had in 2017, which was profession greatest for him. If Ceglar can play many of the 12 months, it’s going to permit McEvoy to spend extra time up ahead and attempt to push his objective tally up round a objective a sport.
James Sicily is the stud of the backline, a firebrand with skilled judgement within the air, stunning fingers and a thumping boot.
His hot-headed immaturity is commonly on show, however some gamers have to play on the sting and it’s an excessive amount of to ask him to curb his pure character. Moderately, it must be embraced and inspired, and refined to attempt to preserve himself on the correct facet of being reported.
New captain Ben Stratton is among the greatest two lock-down defenders within the competitors, so versatile in with the ability to shut down gamers with a spread of heights, speeds, strengths and skill-sets. Blake Hardwick completed second within the Hawthorn greatest and fairest final 12 months, utilizing his poise and kicking ability to offer drive from defence.
With a rebounding absence created by Ryan Burton going to Port, the versatile Ricky Henderson could also be pushed a bit extra behind the ball if Grant Birchall can’t get match and keep on the park. Shaun Burgoyne is an choice there, as he’s in every single place, and Jarman Impey is one other utility on the record that may play the function.
Alastair Clarkson is an accepted teaching genius, and now he has Sam Mitchell, one of many smartest footballers to ever play, alongside him as an assistant coach after his two years at West Coast. Little doubt they are going to be a pressure to be reckoned with, particularly with reference to profiting from the brand new guidelines.
However the Hawks are previous, carrying a number of cripples, and with out the depth of high quality they’ve had in earlier years.
There aren’t any gimmes amongst Hawthorn’s double-up opponents this 12 months both, with the 2 weakest of them, Brisbane and North, holding a Three-Zero file over the Hawks in 2018.
Hawthorn are in a transition interval, which was lined up by a excessive end final 12 months. They aren’t a contender.
13. Port Adelaide14. Western Bulldogs
15. St Kilda
18. Gold Coast