Thursday, September 8, 2016

Preview, Qualifying Final, Hawthorn versus Geelong

In case of emergency- break glass and bring out Burgoyne!
Hawthorn and Geelong need no introductions, with the mutual hatred both on the field and spilling into the terraces and stands, intense.

The feeling becomes all the more intense in finals with the passions delving into the hysterical as if it is two tribes going to war.

Another chapter will be etched in blood, sweat and tears on Friday night.

The Teams

B: Taylor Duryea, James Frawley, Shaun Burgoyne

HB: Luke Hodge, Josh Gibson, Grant Birchall

C: Isaac Smith, Sam Mitchell, Bradley Hill

HF: Luke Breust, Jack Gunston, Cyril Rioli

F: Paul Puopolo, Jack Fitzpatrick, Ryan Schoenmakers, 

Foll: Ben McEvoy, Jordan Lewis, Liam Shiels

Int: Ben Stratton, Brendan Whitecross, James Sicily, Ryan Burton

Emergencies: Billy Hartung, Dan Howe, Matt Spangher

IN: Stratton, McEvoy

Out: Pittonet (omitted) Hartung (omitted)


Backs: Corey Enright, Tom Lonergan, Tom Ruggles

Half-backs: Jake Kolodjashnij, Harry Taylor, Andrew Mackie

Centres: Cameron Guthrie, Joel Selwood, Jimmy Bartel

Half-forwards: Sam Menegola, Rhys Stanley, Daniel Menzel

Forwards: Steven Motlop, Tom Hawkins, Lincoln McCarthy

Followers: Zac Smith, Patrick Dangerfield, Mitch Duncan

Interchange: Mark Blicavs, Josh Caddy, Josh Cowan, Scott Selwood

Emergencies: Jed Bews, Nakia Cockatoo, Shane Kersten

The teams are much as expected with Hawthorn getting back key back Ben Stratton, as well as main ruck Ben McEvoy. They have resisted the temptation to roll the dice on Will Langford in conditions that are likely to suit. The dropping of Hartung on paper might look harsh but his softness cannot be concealed and is easily exploited.

This said, if it does rain as heavily as touted, a late change is on the cards with either Howe or Hartung likely to come in for one of the talls. I would plump for Dan Howe, who has versatility as well as class.

With Will Langford not even in the 25 in conditions that are perfectly suited for him it might point to the fact that he has played his last game for the club,....

As for Geelong, Scott Selwood comes in to maul one of Hawthorn's key movers in a tagging role and Andrew Bews goes out

The Game

With rain forecast, the game is likely to be contested slugfest favouring Geelong while at the same time bringing  Hawthorn's main struggles into clear focus.

To be blunt, 2016 has shown that Hawthorn couldn't win a  contested football if their lives depended on it. The average of 132 per game has only an Essendon line-up with its raft of season-long suspensions below it putting the failings into a damning context. It has never been a strength of the Hawks juggernaut but they have always had a middling competence in the AFL whereas this season they have dropped off alarmingly.

 Alastair Clarkson showing scant respect all season to the contested possession issue while pointing to the Hawks being lethal in punishing oppositions from turnovers. Which is indeed a strength, but against the better teams it is a mute point for they do not get the ball back as well as being sliced up. One only has the revert back to the 75 point flogging against the GWS for testimony where the Hawks were trashed 153/114 in contested possessions as well as 47/29 in the associated clearances. A more recent example against WCE, with a 153/108 disparity as well as a 15/6 flogging in centre clearances leading to another comprehensive defeat.

Follow suit on Friday night and it will be x-rated viewing for Hawk fans

With Geelong having quick and precise entry into their forward 50 leaving the Hawthorn defence isolated in one on one duals with their zone off men highlighted by Josh Gibson in support rendered obsolete. When, and if the Hawks get the ball back coming out of defence, the space between the 50-metre arcs will be symbolised by congestion and with Geelong's zone intact leading to bombing into a forward line bereft of any player even close to being competent in contested marking.

The very real scenario making it crucial Hawthorn wins enough ball.

This will depend on the midfield incumbents standing up as well as some others stepping in to become factors. Shaun Burgoyne is the logical one, with Clarko likely to let him loose in the guts in the hope of him giving the midfield a contested bull. If they can hold sway or at worst break even they can transition to the outside where a raft of lethal runners coupled with players with sublime foot skills can slice up Geelong as well as creating the space for our uncontested gameplan to thrive in.

Above all, the ethos of BOMB FREE ZONE needs to be drummed into all the heads of the Hawk players with them told point fucking blank to lift their heads when entering 50

Bombing into the forward 50 is tantamount to footballing suicide against Geelong. By allowing their big backs to dominate highlighted by  Harry Taylor, who  has on more than one occasion been the quintessential thorn in Hawks forwards. Also, setting them up to kill us on the rebound and expose our defence in one on one battles without support.. We need to play to our strengths highlighted by arguably the best mosquito fleet seen in the game since the lethal ankle biters of the great Carlton teams of the late 1970's and early 80's. Geelong is very fallible against quality small forwards and we should school ourselves on this and structure to accentuate it

Please go small forward, Clarko!!!!!!!!!!!

The Key Match Ups

Liam Shiels versus Patrick Dangerfield

Pure and simple how the Hawk defensive mids limit Dangerfield will decide the contest. With it not only being about his dexterity in destruction but also the heat he takes off others. If he is limited it puts the acid on lesser lights to pick up the slack whereas when he is ablaze they are green lighted to run amok

Scott Selwood versus Isaac Smith

The press during the week has been about Selwood 'ducking' into the Cats line up to target Sam Mitchell. I the Cats will likely tag Mitchell with Guthrie a likely candidate but I can see Selwood manning up Isaac Smith

Jordan Lewis versus Harry Taylor 

I think the Hawks need to take Lewis out of the midfield and play him as a defensive forward. He would be a perfect match up to limit Taylor's influence in wrecking our backline. With the big Cat just as able to the a similar wrecking job to what Jeremy McGovern did for the Eagles against us.

Jimmy Bartel versus Josh Gibson

The Cats always tag Gibbo forcing him to be accountable for an opponent and punishing him when he zones off. Bartel looms as the likely match up with him not only a clever footballer but one that always lifts on the biggest stage.

The X-Factors 

Hawthorn- Can the teams bottom 6 stand up????

Finals are always hyped in their lead in for a teams stars but won on the basis of how the lesser likes in a teams 22 stand up. There has been a very obvious soft underbelly in the Hawks 22 of 2016 with it exposed against the better teams.

I think we live and die by how well they stand up in tomorrow's clash

Joel Selwood- Forget him at your peril 

Cannot remember the build up to a Geelong clash having so little focus on Joel Selwood and the pivotal role he plays in all these clashes. The hysteria has justifiably descended on Dangerfield in the process taking the heat off the Geelong skipper

Luke Hodge- Play him forward!!!!

I would have Hodge play as an old style Full Forward anchoring 30 out from goal

I can see him in the role paying a real tribute to absent mate Jarryd Roughead

A Panel of Thoughts & Predictions

With the wet weather expected the crumbers will feed of pack contests like hyenas feeding off the kill of a pack of lions. Expect Rioli Puopolo and Breust to have impacts. Hartung unlucky to miss out, but his speed will be mitigated somewhat by the wetter surface, with everyone slowing down. Burton's poise under pressure has earnt him a finals game with 7 total matches at vfl/afl level, and his sum total of game time in the last 2 seasons, match that. That's a BIG rap for a young player. The last player with this much hype in his first season was probably Cyril, and prior to that, Dermott Brereton who kicked 5 in his first game. ( David Perkins )

I have been down on our chances all week, pointing to finals football being won by holding sway in contested footy and it being our major weakness.

Despite this stand out weakness, I just think we will find a way with a few unexpected types standing up to be heroes.

Hawks by 14 points with Hodge being decisive when moved forward after the half by kicking four goals.
( Tim Holt )

Scott has no plan B..

Question marks on what will happen to the cats if the game doesn't go the way they envisioned early

Flip a coin on the winner
( Luke Bertucci )

Cats a bit slow off of halfback. Probably where we need extremely strong tackle pressure. Cannot bomb it in long under nearly all instances. Control possession as much as possible. These things are not outside the norm of what we should be doing anyway but we'll need to them well. Perhaps a harder tag on Danger, i'd suggest from Sheils is something we could do something differently. Normally we don't go the hard tag but Sheils has the motor. I think Langers needs to be in the team too. At the expense of? I haven't quite worked out though, hehe, but a couple of defensive mids could help. We are elite around the ground.

Maybe a defensive forward role on Cory Enright too. Prediction? Anyone's game mate but we are underdogs on current form but capable. Burgers was a clearance king at Port. 2nd half he'll need to go through there plenty. Will need to push them wide as often as we can, keep Danger away from running in straight lines as much as possible. I think that 'embrace the hunt mantra must be exactly how we go out there. No really massive tricks but just really hard, tough footy warranted. Help out Cyril and Mitch' both will be targeted. Poppy might become really important. Be interesting to see how tall the Cats go..
(Michael Ellery)

Hawks by 21 points( Steven Price )

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