Wednesday, April 12, 2017

My Hawthorn Team for the Geelong Clash

On the eve of Hawthorn taking on its bitter rival Geelong in their traditional Easter Monday clash, it will be interesting to note the reaction of the Hawks’ selection panel following their disappointing 86-point loss to the Gold Coast Suns.

Will there be a show of faith in those who are struggling with form or will patience be lost and a strong, stern message delivered? If patience has worn, resulting in a glut of changes, who will come in to the Hawthorn list of 22 and what areas that need addressing will be the focus of these inclusions/exclusions?

Here is the team I would select to take on the Cats:

B: Ben Stratton, James Frawley, Shaun Burgoyne

HB: Cyril Rioli, Kaiden Brand, Ryan Burton,

C: Liam Shiels, Jaeger O’Meara, Isaac Smith

HF: Luke Breust, Jack Gunston, Luke Hodge

F: Ty Vickery, Jarryd Roughead, Kade Stewart

R: Jack Fitzpatrick, Will Langford, Tom Mitchell

INT: Dallas Willsmore, Blake Hardwick, Brendan Whitecross, Daniel Howe

In: Daniel Howe, Kade Stewart, Jack Fitzpatrick, Dallas Willsmore, Blake Hardwick

Out: Josh Gibson, Paul Puopolo, Ben McEvoy, Ricky Henderson, Teia Miles


I thought I would start with the 5 I have dropped, as these are sure to steal the focus of discussion.

Let me start with the decision to axe club legend Josh Gibson. Gibson was pivotal in our miraculous hat-trick of flags but now is a shadow of his former self and, sadly, represents a very exploitable part of our team.

Equally as controversial, is the dumping of fan favourite Paul Puopolo. My rationale for this revolves around two plays that featured Poppy during last week’s game against the Suns.

One incident saw Poppy getting out the back of a counter attack to goal where he sprinted 100 metres in contrast to a limp second quarter chase of Adam Saad out of defence where he chose to give up. The latter effort betrayed his inspirational defensive efforts from the past and the team as a whole. It seemed to provide a lift to all the Suns players who witnessed it and highlighted the real lack of effort stemming from some individuals in our team. He needs to be told very clearly this wasn't good enough and sent back to Box Hill to serve penance.

Ben McEvoy goes out, though I was torn on this decision to drop him - not because he doesn't deserve the axe, but because his ruck partner Ty Vickery seems to be just as hopeless and we have few other valid ruck options in reserve.

The last two eliminations of Henderson and Miles are problematic. Ricky Henderson has been useful but has not really had a definitive effect on the team’s prospects. I would drop him in the hope of including an individual who can have a real effect in preference to Henderson's good to average displays. As for Teia Miles, I am hesitant to drop a youngster without fully giving him a shot, but after two games, Miles looks a fair way off AFL level.


I fully expect to see both James Sicily and Billy Hartung included in our Round 4 team. My reasoning for resisting both of these players is I do not think either is up to it and I believe their selections contravene the needs of the team.

Most are calling for Sicily’s inclusion for his potential as a forward which has a certain justification. But this pays little respect to how shambolic we have been in delivering into the forward line, which nullifies his potential. The key focus needs to be on addressing our all round efforts and limitations will ball in hand and Sicily offers no remedy on both counts.

Hartung's pace is desperately needed but his lack of footy smarts, exploitability as a defender and sadly, him being ‘as soft as margarine’ puts a line through his name.

Of the 5 I have included:

Jack Fitzpatrick - a speculative choice in the hope of offering something for us in the ruck, or at the very least a break-even result;

Daniel Howe - to offer class and composure off half back and some skill in defensive rebound that we have been so lacking;

Dallas Willsmore - for his skills by foot. His scything left foot makes me reminiscent of our recent glories;

Kade Stewart – to take Paul Puopolo's role as a defensive forward. Stewart is a tough little player that is pit bull like in his defensive efforts, capped off with some delightful foot skills and good goal sense;

Blake Hardwick - rolling the dice a bit by including this youngster, but he is very reminiscent of Brent Guerra as a tough bugger and has sublime foot skills rebounding off half back.

Whoever the selectors end up going with, let’s hope they can get a much needed win over the Cats.


  1. Dropping Poppy. It's a bold move Tim. It'd be interesting to see if it paid off.

    Must admit though, when I saw that chase on Saad, I thought exactly what you did. compare that to 2013 when he chased down the North Melbourne attack, put on the tackle, and smothered the kick for the re-gather.

    Anything less than a 10-goal loss will be a win on Monday.

    1. I loved Poppy when he was the quintessential 'Mr 1%' with his tackles, chases and pressure acts. That side of him has dropped off and he seems obsessed with flying for hangers

      needs a wake up call but in the team

      thank you for the comment

  2. JMI, I would much rather leave in Big Boy and remove Tye from our team once and for all. He is utterly useless and was so at Richmond. Poppy is injured so he needs a spell! I agree to bring back Sicily and Howe.

    1. Both are hopeless in the ruck. poppy is in the team announced , so not injured. Not a fan of Sicily but agree on Howe

      thank u for the comment

  3. Big boy stays in, if you bring in Fitzy then Ty goes out. Howe yes, Hartung (your right about margarine which is equal to Hill but both run a country mile), Sciliy in if they play him not in defensive 50 exclusively, Poppy has some issues his out, Stewart I like his in Miles out (your observation is right), Gibbo looks done he did last season and not much has changed unfortunately and his only doing his legacy harm than the good we knew of him. Which means Shoey comes in to take that tall spot. Willsmore looks interesting I hope he gets a run soon. I would like to see a fired up and fit O'Rourke we paid some heavy prices in recent years to stay up top and guys we got haven't come on which is now hurting the long run plan. Hardwick not ready his like Miles needs more time.

    1. Missed Henderson, his been amongst our best which is a concern but good for him all the same. I think they'll keep him in the team will be stiff to be dropped at this point and 3 reasonable performances particularly with the stats considering 15 players had 15 or less disposals last sunday

    2. Henderson is an interesting one, done his job but hasnt really offered anything.

      o'Rourke is the one, was looking great in preseason till a hammy, it is now or never for him

      love to see Willsmore tried , just for his Suckling like left foot

      agree Hardwick is a bit off but looks very good

      thanks for the comment

  4. Fitzpatrick is a rookie so he can't be selected

    1. true, i thought they would elevate him, i was wrong

      thanks for the comment

  5. I agree that it is a huge year for O'Rourke. I also feel that with the lack of speed Kieran Lovell is a huge loss this year.

    1. i think Lovell will be very good in time but maybe was still a bit green this year

      O'Rourke's absence has been a blow, thankfully he is fit now

      thank you for the comment