Sunday, March 29, 2015

Can the Hawks complete the hat trick in 2015?

When I look to the AFL in 2015, I view it as a race of 18 with one Phar Lap in it.

On paper, the Hawks look that good, and so far ahead of its closest competitors, it is almost surreal.

So make room in the cabinet for our 13th cup, right?

Well, not just yet!

 There have been many teams that have started seasons looking invincible only to have the footballing Gods intervene and teach us that the only certainty in the game is glorious uncertainty.

With that in mind lets pick apart 2015

The James Frawley effect

The one weakness in our team was that absence of a vindicated key backman to share the opposition forward gorillas with Brian Lake. The genius of Clarko wallpapered over this through his team defence highlighted by zone off back men, and midfielders flooding back. It made the likes of 'Jesus' Spangher adequate in the role for he always had Josh Gibson, and others riding shotgun for him

With James Frawley arriving it negates the need for this as well as enhancing the strength of our backline with its lethal rebound.

The types of Josh Gibson will now be free to excel in his zone off rebound role.

It will lead to fans to debate whether our defence is now the equal of our devastating attack.

A few returning NT stars

It is scary the improvement to the team a fit Cyril Rioli, and Jed Anderson will make in 2015. Cyril during the first few rounds of 2014 had us salivating with how good he was looking, as seen in this video

The video borders on sexual.

Letting us dream about what a fit Rioli could be, in my mind a top 10 player in the AFL.

It is hard to stop salivating over Cyril, but, Jed Anderson has all the makings of an elite player. Skill, speed, time, vision with a lovely bit of mongrel in him. He is like the male version of Nick Dal Santo, with him loving the rough stuff and getting down and dirty and not relying on just his 'silk'.

The true arrival of Ben McEvoy

There was little doubt 2014 was a struggle for the ruckman with him only playing 13 of a possible 25 games. Most spent kicking the dew off the ground in the VFL

In his defence, on arrival at Hawthorn he has been expected to relearn the learnt in respect to how he plays the Ruckman role. As he expressed in the recently aired Grand Final recall on Fox Footy, at StKilda he was always employed as a kick behind play old style ruckman. At the Hawks, Clarko has reinvented his role with a greater emphasis on being a forward factor.

Going on how good he has looked in the pre season, particularly resting forward, one can see he has a greater comfort in the new expectations on him, and will add much to us in 15.

Chris Mainwaring & Peter Matera #2?

One of the key reasons for our back to back success is the adding of an outside presence to compliment our lethal inside midfielders. In Brad Hill and Isaac Smith, the club have two lethal outside runners that cut oppositions to ribbons, as well as both having real instincts as forwards.

One could see both combining for 50 goals in a season

The scary aspect of these two, is both have upside. In particular Hill, who with added muscle to his frame will be harder to knock off the ball.

It is wrong to compare to absolute legends as I have in the subtitle, but, I feel comfortable for these two are potentially as good.

Our 'designated kickers' is what sets us apart

The key accent of our game is foot skills, and it is what sets us apart from the rest. For example, most teams will have three to four players they want to have the ball in their hands due to their foot skills. The better teams having 7 or 8. When you look at our flag team in 15 you could point to as many as 14 being lethal by foot.

The question this rises for oppositions is how do you defend against us, let alone break us down?

The Einstein of the AFL- Alastair Clarkson

Absolute genius, best in the AFL by the length of the Flemington straight, and in time, will be considered the best ever.

You know he will come up with something new in 15 to befuddle and demonise opposition think tanks

Do I need to say more?

Our main rivals?

If I am to be frank, I would say our main rival is ourselves. But, with the strength in coaching and leadership at the club coupled with the many precocious talents trying to get in our best 22 there is little chance of this being a factor

Meaning success in 15 will depend on 'Sweet Lady Fate.'

With injuries and suspension being key, not just who they happen too, but when.

Fans will point to 2014 and how we overcame many injuries without realising that these blows were perfectly timed in the H&A. Come finals time, we were cherry ripe, with all stars available.

If we have similar luck in 2015 with our best available when it most matters, no one will get near us

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