Thursday, April 20, 2017

My Hawthorn Team for the West Coast Eagles Clash

"Too easy....Too easy...." observed Bruce McAvaney, in response to Mitch Duncan's goal during Geelong's last quarter rampage which culminated in an 86-point loss for the Hawks.
The commentators scrutinised the endeavour of the Hawthorn players, in particular their lack of sustained effort over the games' entirety. Not only were the Hawks deficient in their physical efforts, as evidenced by a lack of one percenters, desire and hunger, this game also brought into question the playing group's mental frailty with the team visibly lying down. Similar fade-outs have been a growing trend for the Hawks so far this season as the following figures highlight: Our Second halves this year : Hawthorn 19 28 142 Opponents 52 22 334 Percentage: 42.5% This demands a response from Alastair Clarkson at the selection table leading into Sunday's clash against the West Coast Eagles. This would be my team: B: Shaun Burgoyne, James Frawley, Ben Stratton HB: Ryan Burton, Kaiden Brand, Luke Hodge C: Isaac Smith, Tom Mitchell, Dallas Willsmore HF: Luke Breust, Jack Gunston, Kade Stewart F: James Sicily, Jarryd Roughead, Paul Puopolo R: Ben McEvoy, Jaeger O'Meara, Liam Shiels INT: Ty Vickery, Will Langford, Blake Hardwick, Daniel Howe In: Kade Stewart, Jaeger O'Meara, Ty Vickery, Daniel Howe, Dallas Willsmore Out: Josh Gibson, Billy Hartung, Tim O'Brien, Ricky Henderson, Cyril Rioli ( managed ) Outs: The key omission is Cyril Rioli whom I have listed as 'managed.' It seems very apparent that he is carrying an injury, reducing his defensive abilities with nothing to be gained by playing him. Gone are his predatory and relentless defensive acts, replaced by many phases in games where he chooses to walk, as if disinterested. If there is no injury, he needs to be delivered the biggest rocket and told very clearly that his efforts are in no way acceptable. A similar message needs to be delivered to the likes of Luke Bruest, Jack Gunston, Liam Shiels, Ben Stratton and Isaac Smith Josh Gibson should be dropped as he is a very exploitable liability, but it is highly unlikely that Clarko will make this decision. Of the other three axings, the duo of Tim O'Brien and Billy Hartung go out. After many chances they showed again last week that they are in no way competent at AFL level. Ricky Henderson is omitted because his lack of skills and decision making abilities was exposed last week. Ins: Jaeger O'Meara comes back in to try to revive our shambolic midfield. I would also include Ty Vickery, a move that will outrage most of the Hawks' faithful, who were already booing him on joining the club and he hasn't helped by having such a slow start to his Hawthorn career. I made this move mostly due to his potential to add some structure to the forward line along with adding support in the ruck. The other option I pondered on was including Marc Pittonet instead of Vickery. The young ruckman was very good at Box Hill last week and offered the team a big tap-orientated ruck option that the team had been lacking. It would be a huge risk to include him in the AFL team and allow him to learn on the job, but I have taken the more conservative approach, which is to let him further develop his skills at Box Hill. I took a similar stance in resisting including Jono O'Rourke. As a midfielder that has both inside and outside potential, he could add so much to the team, but after returning from a serious hamstring injury he needs some further conditioning at Box Hill. The rationales for the last three inclusions are as follows: Kade Stewart- he is a tough little bugger with a considerable desire for the contest; Dallas Willsmore- silken left foot skills and good goal sense. Able to play anywhere, including as a rebounding half back, a big wingman, or as a dangerous half forward; Daniel Howe- Class and composure with fine skills, which is so lacking in the current 22. It will be interesting to see which players the Hawks select this week to take on the Eagles, who may include champion of the game and former Hawk Sam Mitchell.

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