|A first up loss, but GREAT to see Roughy back!|
With most viewing winning as if it is the Teams divine right and acting hysterically in response to a loss all while failing to add the necessary context for the defeat.
Revolving around the skewed nature of results historically in round 1.
This year has already shown this with Port Adelaide and the Brisbane Lions pulling off upsets in games against more fancied oppositions Sydney and GCS respectively that few gave them a chance in.
The greater context from a Hawks viewpoint is it is a new look line up in the midst of a re-build that will take a while to fully gel together. From our last game last year to our first this, 6 changes were made to the line up with a crucial 571 of experience lost with Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis pushed out of the Club. If you add in the games tally of Luke Hodge who was made to sit due to a Club suspension for an indiscretion it stretches out to 857 games of experience.
Crucial, robbing the Team of vital know-how as well as three respected onfield leaders.
By and large, we were beaten by a better team on the day with Essendon exceptional.
We greatly aided with bad kicking for goal with us suffering a 25 point loss despite having the same shots for goals as the Dons with 31.
On a more profound level, Alastair Clarkson having a rare off day in the Coaches Box was key. Initially in selection where the Team was exposed as lacking run making all scratch their heads as to why Kade Stewart was left out.It allowed the Dons to cut us to ribbons with how well they spread us with their run off the ball to open up space and killing us with the abundance of pace they have in their team.
Poor Clarko, must have felt like the boy with not enough fingers for all the leaks in the dyke.
With it descending into a virtual piss take as the game progressed with how many Dons were in acres of space as we tired. One move he made was sending Liam Shiels to quieten Zac Merrett who was rampant on the wing in the first half. This was successful but was a bit like robbing Peter to pay Paul with the inside midfield deprived of Shiels from an attacking sense who was one of our best before the half.
The 'speed kills' main theme wasn't helped with the structuring of the forward line revolving around three talls facilitating the rebound out it when they failed to mark it. All while Jack Gunston who has averaged 50+ goals in the last three seasons was played on the wing. I am all for Gunston playing in bursts on the wing but the forward line has always functioned better with a 2 tall and 3 small set up with Gunston the virtual X-Factor with his key position size combined with high-grade ability on the ground.
It also invited the players up the field to fall into the failing that betrayed the potentially lethal forward line for most of 2016 by feeling compelled to bomb high and long into it. The skill execution and decision making entering the forward 50 was deplorable.
With how quickly the Dons runners got on their bikes on the rebound and how astute they were with their skills it set up many goals for their mids in transition along with badly exposing our defence.
A key standout was Josh Gibson employed in a more traditional 2nd key back role in response to him being deprived of the zone off role he has excelled in when Teams manned him up in the latter parts of 2016. Not only exposing Gibbo for his lack of size and looseness but also robbing the team of the orchestrator for much of its rebound out of defence.
The Dons forward midgets killed us with both Burgoyne and Duryea struggling to keep a lid on them. It seems Father Time is increasingly tapping on Silk's shoulder while Duryea is a shadow of the player that was stellar in the 2015 finals series. He always has a killer gaff in him and seems to have attended the Justin Koschitzke school of peripheral vision with him similarly oblivious to what is around him.
Lastly, and perhaps most pertinent was the Team still having too many 'passengers on the bus' with 6-8 of the 22 ranging from being largely ineffectual to being complete rubbish.
No doubt we will dust ourselves off in the wake of the loss, make a few changes and hit back hard next week against a fine Crows team at the MCG.