Hawthorn welcomed St Kilda back to Tasmania, and sent them packing with a 35 point win. The Saints drew to within a point in the third quarter but the Hawks kicked eight of the last ten goals.
Here’s The Mongrel’s good, bad and ugly.
The Hawk goal kickers
Luke Breust was at it early, then it was time for Isaac Smith, and finally, Jack Gunston got in on the action.
The Hawk spread of goal kickers was impressive tonight. Whether it was Gunston from the boundary, Smith from outside 50, or Breust running out the back, the Saints could not contain all the options.
Those three combined for ten between them, whilst the Saints could not manage a multiple goal scorer. Breust now has 19 goals for the season, and looks to be certainty to top the 50-goal mark this year if he can stay healthy. He also had another five tackles, which makes me happy. Check out this article to see why.
Big Boy McEvoy
I loved the game from McEvoy tonight. He had 22 touches, and was important in the middle and around the ground.
Like a fine wine, McEvoy seems to be getting better with age. Actually, I have no idea whether that’s true or not – I don’t drink wine, but I do know they get more valuable, and Big Boy is very valuable right now to the Hawks.
This’ll be harsh… on his teammates. He is the ONLY Saint who actually looks like he knows what he’s doing out there. He has been very effective and poised every time I’ve seen him this year, and this time was no exception.
His run, and delivery (92% efficiency) gave the Saints plenty of drive when they challenged. While a lot of the St Kilda boys seem content to get 20 touches and consider that the pass mark for their performance, a player like Webster actually puts in. It’s a shame he doesn’t have a lot of mates like him.
The Hawk kids
Morrison, Worpel, Howe… the Hawks have found some more players, and the competition should beware.
Morrison had his best game in brown and gold, and capped it with a nice, 50 metre goal. Howe was very good all night, and gathered plenty of contested ball in the middle, whilst Worpel looked like a man who had played 50 games, not playing in his first.
They’ll have their ups and downs, and may spend some time in the VFL, but tonight, the kids were good for the Hawks.
The former Crow has found a home at Hawthorn, and is looking very comfortable in his role right now.
He compiled 27 touches and was consistently in the mix right through the game. He suffered a bit of nasty knock in a marking contest against Ben Long, but rebounded well to have an influence on the game.
Career high goals, 24 touches and some hard running saw Smith probably rated as the hawks’ best.
There are only a few players who can run as hard for as long as Smith does every week. While he can flash in and out of games, he was a very stabilising influence on the hawks tonight.
He played the role of leader, and played it well. Future captain.
If Hawthorn had one player who just could not get into the game, it was Impey. Maybe he doesn’t like Tassie?
Impey dropped two overhead contests tonight with the potential to have significant effect on the game. The first dropped mark saw the Hawks turn it over and the Saints go coast to coast to finally get their first goal of the game.
The second would’ve resulted in a shot at goal for Impey.
He tackled well, but these were un-Impey-like errors. We’ll put this down to an anomaly.
The Saints’ gameplan
Do they have one? I can’t work it out. Yeah, I’ll readily admit that I am not an expert, but they just seem… messy. It can stem from pressure, but going forward, St Kilda just looks a little clueless. Scoring only 56 points per game will do nothing to dispel that.
Inaccuracy can make it seem a lot worse than it is, and a lot of times players being “adaptable” and moving positions is beneficial to a team, but I get the feeling that the Saints are trying to play chess when they’re better off playing checkers. Give players a position, give them a system and allow them to be comfortable in their roles.
In my role at my workplace, the most destabilising thing anyone can do is start talking about “preparing for change”. I reckon St Kilda is like my work, only they’re constantly changing, or constantly expecting it. Stability is vastly underrated.
Jack Billings misses
This is becoming a real issue, and will have t start creeping into his psyche.
Last season, Billings kicked 23 goals and 36 behinds. If he converts better, he gives All-Australian selection a shake. He averaged 23 touches per game.
This season, Billings is averaging around 20 touches per game, and has kicked 4 goals and 11 behinds.
He’s getting the ball, but he needs to convert. His goal came from a searching 50 metre bomb. His misses from closer, in-play kicks. It’s the sort of thing that’ll make Alan Richardson even greyer.
Advantage from a marking contest?
I’m happy to be corrected on this, but in the third quarter, Paddy McCartin was paid a mark inside 50. I think the whistle may have been a little premature, and as the ball was picked up by a Saint, play on was called.
Last time I checked, you can’t take advantage from a mark. Was the umpire confused, or just realised he blew the whistle too early and was making a correction? Either way, not good.
Tim Membrey’s miss
Running into an open goal. No one in between you and the goal line. There’s a chaser, but he’s not gonna get you. You are running flat-chat, but this is standard, bread and butter stuff even for a kid.
How did Tim Membrey miss that goal? Does he think he’s Malcolm Blight> A little homage to the game’s most recent Legend elevation?
It was a shocking miss at a point the Saints needed a goal desperately. More than that, it creates a feeling that “Hey, maybe this isn’t our night…”
Luckily for him, he was afforded another opportunity moments later, and was able to convert.
I didn’t find a spot for Tom Mitchell in my ‘good’ category, even though when you look at the stats, he was amazing again. You don’t just happen by 45 touches. That said, tonight moreso than his other big games, he seemed to hack it forward a bit, and not hit up targets. Still an excellent game, but I just think he was one of Hawthorn’s best and not THE best.
O’Meara had a really solid last quarter when the game was there to be won, but really went missing in the second and third quarter. He had eight touches at quarter time and at the start of the last, he was sitting on 11. It coincided with St Kilda’s comeback, which gives an indication as to who you should put work into if you want to slow the Hawks down. He finished with 10 touches in the fourth, so you can rule out injury, thankfully.
Interesting to see Seb Ross start forward. Jack Steven may be the grunt of St Kilda, but Ross is the class. He had 21, but the Saints missed his drive out of the middle.
Really like the look of Blake Acres. Strong body, well balanced and uses it well. Needs to get more of it – part of the Saints’ “I got 20 touches – I did my job” club.
Hawks should’ve been up by more than they were at quarter time. Allowed the Saints a bit of a sniff.
Not sure Tim O’Brien’s future at Hawthorn is as a forward. I can see Clarkson moving him to half back eventually. Just doesn’t do enough as a forward.
Great contest by Ben Long on Ricky Henderson. Took the mark and caused some damage in the process.
At half time, five of the bottom six in disposals were Saints. Hickey, Weller, Membrey, McCartin and Coffield were joined by Jarman Impey from Hawthorn.
Roughead didn’t have a great one, but he brought It to ground in the third quarter, in a three on one contest which allowed Breust to run onto it and handball to Smith for a goal. Very valuable contest.
Hawks started bombing inside fifty as the pressure was on in the third. This allowed Jake Carlisle to start having an influence.
Junk time from five minutes into the quarter. Misses from Gresham and Ross could’ve tightened things up. Instead, Gunston marks at 50 and crunches a goal. He then fed Howe for his long snap and it was game over
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