Friday, September 9, 2016

View from the Outer- Qualifying Final, Hawthorn versus Geelong

Fine line between Pleasure & Pain!!!!
On seeing Luke Bruest somehow get the ball to Isaac Smith for a game-winning shot for goal from 40 metres out on a slight angle the Geelong players slumped to the ground resigned to the inevitable.

Smith would split the uprights with Hawthorn stealing another one at the death which has been their calling card, and in fact saving grace in 2016.

Ironically, the inexplicable miss that followed left all in greater shock than the remarkable heist would have. The Karma bus that seemed absent all season turned up at the most inopportune moment for the Hawks faithful.

Dramatics aside, it was a galling finale in a game showcasing our best performance of the year.

One where we had 22 red hot goers facilitated by Alastair Clarkson reminding the football world as to why he is a sincere footballing genius. His structuring of his forward line to accentuate his lethal smalls as well as quelling the dominant intercepting backs from Geelong was sincere brilliance. With it seeing a quasi 'Pagan's Paddock' in place. Drawing all the Cats backmen out of the 50 metre arc and marooning them high. In the process rendering their usual dominance on proceedings null and void. When we got the ball we kicked over the top to players leading back or set up goals through transition.

Jack Gunston and Ryan Shoenmakers efforts in playing roles as high half forwards were standouts. Particularly Shoenmakers, who arguably played his best game for the club in limiting Harry Taylors influence while at the same time always posing a threat as a forward.

The midfield that has been lacklustre and it must be said substandard all season turned up and was stellar. Too many heroes to mention with Jordan Lewis standing in line behind Ryan Shoenmakers to enjoy egg being cleared off critics faces after he had been written off in many quarters. Mitchell and Hodge were beasts in winning the ball and leading the troops as well as throwing their weight around in the clinches leaving a knee in here and a jab in there.

And the man known as 'Silk', Shaun Burgoyne was testament to his moniker with him being definitive every time he got the ball.

After waxing lyrically about the positives the obvious question is why we lost?????

When you strip it bare the inexplicable miss at the end was the exclamation mark to a host of moments where we didn't execute at 100%.

Missed tackles, skill errors leading to turnovers, bad kicking for the goal at key moments and making the wrong decisions when it most mattered all amounted to the loss.

The other key factor was how equally well Geelong limited the strengths in our defence.The did what  always should be done when playing Hawthorn by making Josh Gibson accountable for an opponent. Limiting his ability to zone off and impact on other contests as the third man up as well as being the facilitator in the rebound out of defence.

Gibbo looked frustrated and lost with Jimmy Bartel as his shadow and his lack of influence was telling in the eventual outcome.

It isolated our defence in one on one duals with Tom Hawkins being key in the influence he had on proceedings. He might not have kicked a bag, only scoring two goals but he was at the centre of all the flare-ups in the Cats forward line leading to goals.

Long train trip back to Bittern after, made worse by having to put up with sanctimonious Cats fans who must have thought they just won the flag.

After the performance last night we will come back hard against the Dogs and only a fool would discount our chances of completing the miraculous 4-peat.

Voices from the Crowd

Suzie Vrbovski
- 3rd quarter-10 mins with Geelong kicking those quick goals change the momentum. So costly poor disposals in the last quarter cost us dearly. We played our best footy with schoey stepping it up. We played like a well oiled machine we are used to being. Goal kicking was better (except the last one poor smitty). Lots of positives!

Mary Anne Spiteri- I hate how we always have to play against the other team and also the bloody umpires!!!
Mick Bendor
- Ineffective inside 50s came aplenty, esp. early on. On reflection, pressure of late third quarter lacked a tad as expectation was 17 point margin was going to be the basis of a game-winning margin. And the momentum swung again(I think they scored four in that purple patch).

Overall ... not writing them off by any means based on that effort.

Glenn.S.Birnie- Oh look and game of footy...What a cracker of a game. Win or lose it was footy that won last night

Sid Sands
-Overall the best we have played all year.. Thought pretty much everything worked for us except the result

Ricardo Williams- Come on you Cats

Player Ratings

Ben Stratton,- 7/10

Solid as always, keeping Menzel under lock and key and being assured as always

James Frawley- 5/10

Had his issues with Hawkins as well as being found out with ball in hands on a few occasions

( BOG )Shaun Burgoyne- 9/10

I have watched since 1971, and I have no hesitation in including Burgoyne in the best 10 Hawthorn players I have seen. He always stands up and is defining on the biggest stage

Luke Hodge, -8/10

Great game by Hodge with him being a wrecking ball in the guts and when he was down back 

Josh Gibson,- 4/10

Struggled when forced to man up and be responsible for a man rather than be free in the zone off role

Grant Birchall- 7/10 

Solid as always

Isaac Smith, - 7/10

I am sure he will think throughout the week that 'I wish I got a $ for every time he is asked about that miss....'

Was very good and sadly will only be remembered for that miss

Sam Mitchell,- 7/10 

Willed himself on the game while dealing with a very hard tag

Ryan Burton- 3/10 

Started to look good before getting injured. With the injury playing a unspoken role in the eventual defeat.

Luke Breust, - 7/10 

Always dangerous with three goals, but his telling miss in the early parts of the last quarter was huge.

Jack Gunston, - 8/10

Great game, playing as a high half forward and covering so much ground all while transitioning expertly out of defence and into attack.

Cyril Rioli- 7/10

Always dangerous, but never got to the level of being defining

Paul Puopolo, - 3/10

Very quiet game

Jack Fitzpatrick- 6/10

Had a maybe baby type game with him putting his all into it but had the chance to really influence it with the shots for goal he missed

( BOG )Ryan Schoenmakers- 9/10 

In the conversation as best on the ground, his finest game for the club

Ben McEvoy,- 6/10 

Was good but never great

(BOG )Jordan Lewis, - 9/10 

Best game all season where he dominated in the mids

Liam Shiels- 7/10

Rarely noticed but always felt with the roles he does for the team. He is like a walking, talking 1 percenter

Taylor Duryea, - 7/10 

Played really well, whether it be impacting on other contests or rebounding out of defence

Bradley Hill, - 6/10 

Dangerous early but faded badly after quarter time

Brendan Whitecross,- 8.5/10 

Great game off half back with him huge in the last quarter

Daniel Howe- 5/10 

Did his role after coming in late

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