Sunday, August 21, 2016

View from the Outer. Round 22

Can history repeat or is it a case of lightning only ever striking in the same place once?

It was the philosophical response to watching the Eagles slaughter Hawthorn in the West.

After a similar flogging in the finals last year led to most writing the Hawks off,  it saw the champs regroup, hit back hard and serve it to the Eagles liberally in the Grand final.

Begging the question of a case of Groundhog Day in 2016?

Glass half full/half empty scenario

If you take the positive viewpoint, the reality is the Subiaco ground is the anti-christ to the Hawks uncontested style of footy. With its narrowness allowing the Eagles to fill the spaces that the Hawks thrive on and forcing them into a contested brand of footy that we quite frankly stink at.

We will not play on this ground in the finals meaning we have a greater chance to have our style rule.

The other fillip is the likely return of Ben Stratton, an absurdly underrated player that is arguably more crucial to our backline than Josh Gibson. With Stratton being able to play on bigs smalls as well as impacting on others with his clever reading of the play.

The Reality 

We have to a large degree ridden our luck in 2016 with many close results going in our favour supporting our ladder position.

The results falling our way have concealed two issues that were ruthlessly exposed on the Friday horror show.

Central is the failings of the inside mids to be a factor outside of Sam Mitchell. Teams choosing not to tag Mitchell has concealed this with him igniting others around him, both inside and outside mids alike. When the Eagles took him out with a heavy tag it exposed a 'passengers on the bus' scenario facilitating the flogging. The 15/6 centre clearance figure in the Eagles favour exposed the failing and set a domino chain in progress. Allowing the Eagles to get quick feeds to their outside mids to slice us up or precise laser like entry straight from the bounce into their loaded forward line.

Isolating our forward line to one on one duals while at the same time making Josh Gibson accountable. It exposed the flaws in our defenders particularly Gibson who was betwixted and between in zoning off or marking his man.

Matters were not helped by Josh Kennedy finally proving he isn't James Frawley's bitch.

The other issue was when we did have the ball going forward the decision making was quite frankly embarrassing.

Brainlessly bombing into the 50, despite having no vindicated contested marking tall and the Eagles commandeered by arguably the best intercept marking defender in the game in Jeremy McGovern. If the ball did hit the ground the high grade rebounding skills of the Eagles exposed our under siege defence once again.

The soft underbelly in the 22 

After the 2012 Grand Final was lost on the back of the bottom 6 in our 22 being exposed and exploited, evenness has been the teams ethos.

It has driven the three-peat

With veterans David Hale and Brian lake pushed into retirement along with Matt Suckling let go, success in 2016 was always going to rely on youngsters standing up.

The absence of Jarryd Roughead and the pressure he takes off lesser lights with his brilliance has been a huge factor in this. Meaning there are many with nowhere to hide

Friday showed that we at least 6-8 players not up to it against quality in a real pressure situation. The sad part of this is it is not just the green youngsters but some of the true stars of the club like Jordan Lewis who looks very suspect with Father Time lurking in his shadow.

On top of this is Jonathon Ceglar doing his knee meaning we have to find a replacement for arguably our number one ruckman or alternatively get a bit funky in replacing him.

Bringing in a green ruck like Pittonet or maybe rolling the dice on Fitzpatrick?

Do either fill one with any confidence?

Or, maybe bringing in Shoenmakers as a defacto ruck with him mostly resting forward and getting McEvoy to assume most of the load?

Devil or Deep blue sea stuff!

Next Week

The Pies at the G

It will see the zealots laugh off the WCE thrashing as an aberration without taking the gulf of quality into context after we more than likely flog the Pies

Friday, May 6, 2016

View from the Outer-Round 7

With the late withdrawal of Sam Mitchell, a game that had furrowed the brows of Hawk fans with worry suddenly became a real potential banana peel for season 2016.

 Mitchell has been the only fully functioning part of a midfield that has been misfiring and to be frank, pure toiletry all season. With him out, Tiger midfield ascendancy was a virtual given and with it a chance to mute our attack and victimise our undermanned defence.

Fork in road time

Rather than highlighting how overreliant we are on Mitchell by suffering a gut-wrenching loss instead, a few stood up and made decisive contributions.

Jordan Lewis and Liam Shiels led the charge with both showing why they are touted as future Captains of the team. Lewis, willing himself into the contest with his desperation and finally showing glimpses of the high calibre inside midfielder he has been in the past. Shiels, who has been slumbering most of the season, finally reminding us of the complete midfielder he is. Acting as a contested bull throughout as well as extinguishing Dustin Martin in the second half after the Tiger midfield had dominated the first.

Similarly, Will Langford, who might be like an unmade bed with his haphazard foot skills but gives comfort with his smashing style allowing us to have a foothold in the contested footy stakes.

After we broke even in the inside battles of the midfield our outside jets exposed Richmond's lack of pace by ripping them to shreds. The trio of Hill/Smith and Hartung fractured Richmond lines, creating so many pockets of space for our game plan to thrive. They ran the Tigers into the ground allowing us to run amok in the last quarter.

Away from the midfield battles, Ben Stratton continues to show how improved he is. In his career to date, he is without doubt, the best man-marking defender on dangerous small and mid-sized forward. Last night he showed how versatile he is by taking Jack Riedwoldt and collaring his effect in a big way.

Equally effective as Stratton was Jack Gunston forward. He has been exceptional most of the year with him taking on greater responsibility in Jarryd Roughead's absence as well as dealing with a higher calibre defender but still finding a way to shine.

Lastly, Paul Puopolo must be a chance for All Australian on his form so far this season. With him showing he is arguably the most improved player in the AFL in the last few years.

Next Week

The reality of this win is there was much promise shown in the improvements of individuals but as a team, we are still stalling and spluttering. To be frank, we beat a Richmond team that played as a bottom four team with us performing as a 6-10 ranked side.

Looking to next week and Fremantle in Tassie, logically Sam Mitchell will come back probably at the expense of Kieran Lovell as well as James Frawley coming in for Kaiden Brand.

The other poser if Ryan Shoenmakers is fit is whether he will be preferred to Tim O'Brien. The youngster made things happen when he got the ball but he did not get the ball often enough to merit his spot.

Over to you Clarko

Round 7- Shots of Jameson

3 Shots- Jordan Lewis
- In my opinion one of his best games for the club with him entering it under real pressure due to his form as well as burdened with the added responsibility of Captaincy. He excelled in all regards

2 Shots- Ben Stratton
- Great job on Jack Riedwoldt showing how exceptional he is as a marking backman on any type of forward.

1 Shot- Isaac Smith- When Smith turns up we look so good. His running ability creates so many opportunities for his teammates with the space his creates

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Preview, Hawthorn versus Richmond

One can never underestimate the role luck plays in success

From a Hawks viewpoint, fortune comes in the form of a run of 'softer' games starting with a Richmond team that has been dreadful all year. With Hawthorn struggling with form and injuries, the timing is perfect

The key is making sure we win, which is no guarantee with how we have been playing.....

The Teams


B:Nick Vlastuin, Troy Chaplin, Jake Batchelor

HB:Corey Ellis, Bachar Houli, Brett Deledio

C:Steven Morris, Shaun Grigg, Daniel Rioli

HF:Kamdyn McIntosh, Dustin Martin, Ty Vickery

F:Jack Riewoldt, Sam Lloyd, Shane Edwards

FOL:Shaun Hampson, Connor Menadue, Ben Griffiths

I/C:Brandon Ellis, Anthony Miles, Jason Castagna,Jayden Short


B:Kaiden Brand, Tim O'Brien, Josh Gibson

HB:Sam Mitchell, Ben Stratton, Grant Birchall

C:Bradley Hill, Jordan Lewis, Isaac Smith

HF:Luke Breust, Jack Gunston, Liam Shiels

F:Paul Puopolo, Jonathon Ceglar, Cyril Rioli

FOL:Ben McEvoy, Will Langford, Shaun Burgoyne

I/C:Billy Hartung, James Sicily, Taylor Duryea, Daniel Howe

The absence of James Frawley puts a focus on 'Generation Next' to step up. With either Tim O'Brien or debutant Kaiden Brand being given the task of marking Tigers gun forward Jack Riedwoldt. How this pivotal duel goes will depend on the midfield battles, and if the Hawks midfield struggles as it has all season, it could be a field day for Riedwodt.

I am just a slubber in the peanut gallery with Clarko knowing best, but, must convey my disappointment in Dallas Willsmore still not getting a game. Particularly with Daniel Howe who looked like 'little boy lost' last week being preferred.

Willsmore could do a better job in the role Howe is currently employed.

The Game

The outcome of this game will depend largely on the midfield battles.

With Sam Mitchell being the only Hawk midfielder who has been performing this year one can see the Tigers sending a player to lock onto him. Nullifying his influence, while throwing out the challenge to the other Hawthorn midfielders to step up.

The question is who will stand up?

Jordan Lewis
has been plumb average all year and could, and maybe should have been dropped. Instead, with Luke Hodge out he is made Captain

Liam Shiels
is one of my favourite players but has failed to fire a shot all season

Will Langford
has heart, grunt and relentless desire but is 'Tim Clarke like' with his disposal by foot. Teams have noticed this and are exploiting it

Shaun Burgoyne
?- with Hodge out the defence needs his guidance

The highlight of our midfield struggles was debutant Kieran Lovell outperforming all his higher profile teammates in the first half last week, only to be dropped this week. The six-day turnaround between matches might have been the reason, but with our struggles in close it stood out he was one to persist with.

The Tigers are down on confidence and missing Captain, and midfield lynchpin Trent Cotchin, but they still have enough dangerous types in the likes of Martin and Deledio to gain midfield ascendency. If this happens, an upset is on the cards.

Another issue for the Hawks is the forward line. The midfield has had a huge effect here with its retarded entries. Symbolised by it bombing it in despite having no noted big forward with contested marking acumen on it. As a result, ball is spoilt, oppositions rebound with real pace, leaving our structures fractures and out defence exposed.

If the entry is more insightful from further afield there is a chance for us to make merry with Richmond missing their defensive lynchpin Alex Rance.

Time to lift your head and think before you dispose lads, rather than get ball, bomb ball and see blurs go past you on the rebound!

Round 7 focus- Taylor Duryea

After being superlative in the finals last year, particularly in bursts through the midfield, Duryea has struggled in the early parts of 2016

This game gives a perfect opportunity to reinsert him back in the midfield to hopefully reignite it with his grunt and skill by foot


This game has me worried, particularly with how our midfield is travelling and how the result will depend on it finding some form,

I think we will find a way, spluttering to a 12 point win

A Call out to fellow Hawkers 

It is the 20 year anniversary of the club resisting a takeover attempt from Melbourne

To commemorate the anniversary, it is perfect timing to elevate our Saviour, the face of Operation Payback, Don Scott to his rightful position as a legend in out Hall of Fame.

Please sign our petition in support, and join our Facebook groups in support of the great man
Facebook Group

Sunday, April 24, 2016

View from the Outer, Round 5

After witnessing dumb football by Hawthorn against Adelaide, Clarko would have had his jugular veins poking out reminiscing of David Parkin.

Key was how we facilitated Adelaide's strengths while exposing our weaknesses.

Blind Freddy could see the Crows rebound is key to their game. With the speed they turn defence into attack coupled with their pristine skills making their already dangerous forward line, indefensible.
Factoring into this is our lack of a genuine contested marking forward with all of our present attackers being lead up types dependant on delivery from further afield.

With all this in mind, most of the night the Hawthorn players bombed aimlessly into the forward line, the Crows very accomplished key backs spoilt allowing their running backs to get on their bikes. Ball getting into the hands of superstars like Rory Sloane and the Crows forward line were set alight.

The amount of goals leaking out the back in the first half due to this rebound was embarrassing and only Clarko rolling the dice to play the rookie Tim O'Brien on Taylor Walker allowing Josh Gibson/Luke Hodge to zone as rotating loose defenders controlled this.

Luckily, rookie Crows coach Don Pyke was tacit in the face of this rather than clearing out the 50 and isolating O'Brien on Walker.

It allowed us to stop the steady leak of cheap goals, get a foothold back in the game and fight back.

Leading this was the midfield finding a way to address the smashing the got early in the clearances and centre breaks.

At this point, we needed a few heroes and found them in the duo of Cyril Rioli and Paul Puopolo. In the case of  Poppy who finished with 5 goals including the game-winner,  he must be the most improved player in the AFL since 2012. He used to be respected for his defensive acumen as a small forward but is now adding a real attacking threat.

To come back from 15 points down with just over 3 minutes left to win was truly miraculous.

Changes for Next Week

GWS in Sydney will be arguably tougher than Adelaide.

With them having a similar lineup full of pace and skill completed by a forward line that is deadly dangerous.

This is where a real conundrum rises with us having real issues in the midfield. The midfield duo of Jordan Lewis and Will Langford are struggling. Firstly, the old warhorse Lewis seems to have lost a yard and is trying to make up for it by staging too often for frees. It seems history is repeating with him, the same way as it did with diminishment of Brad Sewell. As for Langford, he is a contested bull, but also a liability with ball in hand with how he butchers it by foot.

The main issue is the lack of options on the outskirts. One can look to Jono O'Rourke or Kieran Lovell, but the former has struggled when played in the seniors and the young Tassie draftee Lovell is as green as a pub on St Pats Day.

One can see Clarko persisting with both Lewis and Langford, but they really need to lift.

Round 5 Shots of Jameson

3 Shots- Paul Puopolo- Great game, culminating in the winner. Starting to show real leadership

2 Shots- Cyril Rioli- He is looking like he has stepped up another level in 2016

1 Shot- Ben Stratton
- After Betts getting 3 goals early how he fought back on him was key in the victory