Despite a barnstorming game by Matthew Pavlich, the Hawks played their old voodoo tricks on the Dockers.
Mitchell Cleary will be taking a break from round reviews for a while to catch up with school work – he is only in year 10 folks, give the lad a break, he’s been a trooper! – so I’ll be doing these wraps for a while. I’ll break them up into smaller chunks though, so you won’t have to wait to discuss each match.
Okay, so this one is just about Hawthorn’s 22-point victory over Fremantle at Subiaco. How many more games like this are we going to see before someone picks out exactly why it is that Hawthorn’s opponents seem to choke in front of goal, especially in the third quarter? The primary example was the 2008 grand final of course, but it also happened to the Eagles this year, and the yips even got to Brendan Fevola a fortnight ago. Well, maybe it’s drawing a long bow to say Fev missed that kick because he was playing Hawthorn, but there’s a definite trend in many of Hawthorn’s close wins that the opposition can’t seem to find anyone who can kick accurately inside forward 50. To the extent that a Hawk fan is allowed to make a claim about such matters, I would contend that apart from luck, some acknowledgment should be made of the Hawk defenders having enough structure to be able to force a lot of shots from difficult angles. Brent Guerra, for instance, had a pretty poor night on Friday but at least he got himself into the right positions to block some of the more dangerous forward channels. Luke Hodge and Campbell Brown have also put in sterling work in this area on otherwise anonymous days.
Apart from that, what this does prove yet again is that Fremantle doesn’t have a forward line worth spitting on without Pav. Ideally, Freo would have Ryan Crowley and Rhys Palmer running through the midfield so that Pavlich wouldn’t have to trot through the guts like a Clydesdale. Injury has robbed the Dockers of that luxury, so Pav’s mighty game was wasted. Pavlich should really be playing full forward, no question, as he may have toned his musculature down but he’s still got the frame of a gorilla. He was let down by his team mates who couldn’t buy a goal: Luke McPharlin, Michael Johnson and Paul Duffield were among the miscreants – notably all backmen. Ryan Murphy kicked two but didn’t offer much from only five kicks. The Dockers need more options, which means that the injured Hayden Ballantyne and Michael Walters will be rushed in as soon as they are fit (no, I don’t know when), and will become fantasy favourites, along with Chris Mayne.
Also on the Dockers, the midfield match ups were interesting. Paul Hasleby was soundly beaten by Ben McGlynn for most of the match, which not only made Purple Hase owners angry, but also made Travis Tuck owners’ blood boil. McGlynn has most definitely stolen most of his midfield TOG from Tuck, making the latter a non-entity for fantasy purposes in the current structure. Tuck should be sold. Now. Go on, hack into VirtualSports’ servers and trade him out at this very minute. As for Hasleby, he showed in the Swans game that he can suffer under a hard tag, but this was not a particularly hard one since McGlynn was getting a lot of the ball. Then again, so did Brett Kirk in the first half of the Sydney game when he was squashing Hasleby. Hase tends to get lost in games if he can’t link up with Aaron Sandilands at stoppages. His status as a fantasy keeper is most definitely under question. Those who sold him two weeks ago will be feeling a little better about all those lost points during rounds six and se7en now.
Elsewhere in the midfield match ups… Garrick Ibbotson was set up to play much the same role he did last week against Chris Judd, in lining up on Jordan Lewis and trying to exploit him the other way, though it didn’t work as well with Ibbo not having nearly as good a night. Brad Sewell tackled Pav like a madman and looked early as if he was a chance to break the tackle record of 15 in a single game, held by multiple players including Max Rooke and Luke Ball. Byron Schammer seemed to be on Cyril Rioli in many contests, though I’m not sure it was a genuine match up – Schammer’s SC score suggests he had the better of it though I think those who watched the game would suggest Rioli’s smaller number of touches were more influential. Though admittedly that could just be a Hawk fan licking his lips at the deliciousness of it all.
On the rookies: Stephen Hill and Matthew DeBoer bad; Nick Suban and Garry Moss (who were matched up on each other) average; Brendan Whitecross, Beau Dowler and especially Greg Broughton good. Dowler and Whitecross got more halfback rebound work with no Hodge, while Broughton had an excellent first half but was asked to play roles in the second half and stopped to virtually nothing in the stats sheet.
I don’t think I’ll write nearly as much as this for every game, but I owe you guys a bit more blogging so we’ll see how much I can pump out. 😉