Wednesday, May 17, 2017

My Hawthorn Team for the Collingwood clash

On face value, a spate of injuries to key men represents a devastating blow for the Hawks. The reality is that it offers a chance to gain a clearer view of the state of its list by running the rule over a few on the fringes along with trying youngsters to see if they are capable and worth persisting with.
A Saturday night clash against fellow struggler Collingwood is the ideal setting and it is hoped this is represented at the selection table. It will be hugely frustrating if they turn to the same names that have had many chances over a few very deserving kids. My Team B: Blake Hardwick, Kurt Heatherley, Josh Gibson HB: Daniel Howe, Ryan Burton, Luke Hodge C: Isaac Smith, Tom Mitchell, Billy Hartung HF: Luke Breust, Tim O’Brien, Jack Gunston F: Paul Puopolo, Jarryd Roughead, Kade Stewart R: Ben McEvoy, Liam Shiels, Shaun Burgoyne INT: Ty Vickery, James Cousins, Will Langford, Ricky Henderson In: Vickery, Stewart, Heatherley, Cousins ( Willsmore, if Cousins is not upgraded), Out: Rioli, Frawley, Stratton (all inj.), Fitzpatrick Team Rationale The first change I’d make is to bring in Ty Vickery to replace Jack Fitzpatrick. This may seem a tad unfair on Fitzpatrick after only one game however his place in the team upset the balance both in the ruck and forward. When playing forward, Fitzpatrick seemed lost in the intricacies of the zone and his role within it. Fans will instantly point to Vickery as having similar issues, but the main difference is he has proven himself at AFL level as an experienced forward whereas Fitzpatrick is a ruckman, who sometimes plays forward. If he is selected I hope our fans get behind Vickery rather than displaying the unfortunate and irrational bagging that has been consistently directed at him since joining Hawthorn. It takes a while for a recruit to get used to a new club, team mates and structures which a fair few of our supporters fail to fully grasp. Kade Stewart fills Cyril Rioli’s role forward along with adding some support to the midfield. It was very tempting to include Dallas Willsmore, who has been killing it at Box Hill, but Stewart represents a better fit for the current needs of the team. In the back line, James Frawley and Ben Stratton’s injuries leave a huge void both from an ability and experience viewpoint. Kaiden Brand and Kurt Heatherley were the choices for Frawley’s key back role, with Heatherley preferred. The young Kiwi reminds me a lot of Dustin Fletcher from Essendon, similarly gangly and quick as well as armed with the go-go gadget arms. One can only hope Heatherley’s likeness to Fletcher translates into a similarly stellar AFL career. Replacing Stratton’s versatility against all types of forwards is tough but it affords the club the chance to see if Daniel Howe can represent a similar versatile option when played in defence. The Club needs to upgrade James Cousins from the rookie list and reward him for his consistently excellent form in the midfield for Box Hill. Hopefully he can add some depth to a midfield that has an unhealthy reliance on too few. If Cousins remain on the rookie list, I would include Dallas Willsmore as a high half forward/wingman. Dare I mention Josh Gibson and my weekly diatribe over how he should be replaced, or should I concede that Alastair Clarkson rubber stamps his place in the team regardless of his performances? The latter seems to be the case, but if not, Brendan Whitecross would assume his role across half back.

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