Monday, May 8, 2017

View from the Outer, Round 7, Melbourne versus Hawthorn

Prologue:

I have followed Hawthorn since coming here from Derry, Ireland in 1971.

When I witnessed some Hawk fans booing Hawk legend Jordan Lewis on Saturday, it was one of the few times I have felt ashamed to be associated with the Hawthorn family. Granted, it was only a few ingrate knuckleheads, but it gives our fan base such a bad name.

View from the Outer

In the wake of a 7 goal to 2 third-quarter blitz by the Demons, all expected Hawthorn to fold like a deck of cards like they have throughout the 2017 season thus far. Defying this seeming inevitability to record a 3 point victory was defining for the under siege Hawks, from both a present and future standpoint.

The heart-warming aspect was Hawthorn's 'generation next' playing such a pivotal role in the victory. Three standouts from the game include Tim O'Brien, Blake Hardwick and Ryan Burton, who each showcased their calibre in the pressure cooker last quarter, standing firm in the face of a Demons onslaught to remain so cool and composed.

Their efforts were conjoined by some of the legends reminding us all of just how great they are.

Luke Hodge and Shaun Burgoyne were instrumental with some telling efforts in the last. The under fire Jarryd Roughead had his best game of the season quietening his growing detractors who perhaps fail to realise that a guy who has missed 18 months of footy might take a while to reacclimatise to its demands. Another stand out was Ben McEvoy, whose last three weeks have been immense. Not only has he dominated in the ruck, but he has also been deadly dangerous floating forward and has also added some much-needed leadership to the team.

Away from the heroes on the ground, this victory was as much about Alastair Clarkson's coaching mastery.

This was evident from the decisions made at the selection table, where the dropping of Kaiden Brand might have rankled many (myself included) but proved to be the right decision with Ryan Burton proving to be an upgrade in the 2nd key defensive role. Burton offers a cultured balance in possession to offset James Frawley's frailties with ball in hand, making the defence more cohesive while also facilitating our defensive rebound.

It was obvious Hawthorn’s coaching panel viewed Melbourne as still being a 'flaky' entity with a heavy emphasis on tackling pressure which exposed their soft centres. The rabid nature of the Hawks led to many insipidly meek turnovers by the Demons in a dominant first half where they found it impossible to break through Hawthorn’s unyielding defensive zones.

In the third, when they did assume dominance, some subtle moves by Alastair Clarkson at the 3 quarter break stemmed the bleeding which allowed us to take a standing 8 count and regain composure, rather than feeling a knockout blow.

Some of these moves included:

• Tom Mitchell sitting on Jack Viney in the last quarter after the Demons skipper had ripped us apart during the third term, which had set the Dees alight. It didn't fully cut Viney out of the game but quelled his effect enough to allow us to regain some ascendancy in the midfield. A factor accentuated by playing Shaun Burgoyne in the guts throughout the last quarter whose presence was definitive;

• Sending Josh Gibson to play a role behind the Hawk defence which prevented Melbourne from getting the easy goals out the back. This frustrated and stymied the Melbourne runners when they broke through our zone and allowed the under siege Hawk defence to regain control;

• Luke Hodge being sent to mark Jayden Hunt after the young Demon kicked two goals after been switched to half forward after half time. Hodge shut down Hunt's immediate influence along with quelling the immense effect he was having on others.

I cannot end this week’s match analysis without expressing my heartfelt thanks to Jordan Lewis for the immense part he played in our recent success. He is a brilliant player and leader on the field and a player who, in time, is likely to receive an invitation to be part of Hawthorn’s Hall of Fame.

5 comments:

  1. Awesome read as usual. Totally agree with you regarding treatment of Jordan Lewis, a true champion of the club.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words James

      the team really turned a corner on Sunday

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  2. Also agree on Jordon Lewis, an outstanding player and individual who was a key leader in our successful years.

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    1. Great pressence in an outstanding team, Lewis

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  3. A well written article. It is time for some people to grow and accept the these players are playing football as their career. Lewis moving to Melbourne was all about his career - and it appears it has been a good move for him, and Melbourne. Lewis bled brown and gold for us for many years, and I agree that one day he will be invited back to be reborn in Hawthorn's Hall of fame - most deserved.
    In between I expect him to be a thorn in our side, no less than Shaun Burgoyne has done to Port Adelaide, in his years with us.
    Lewis did not deserve the boos - but maybe that is part of the larrikinism of some football followers.

    Lastly I would also like to mention the insightful recognition of the manner and methods in which the side held on in this match, where before, this year, we have collapsed. Hopefully it is the corner we have been praying we would turn this season, to march us back to where we believe we belong.

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