The Hawks were challenged in the third quarter, and played messy footy, but put the foot down again late in the last quarter to drop the Blues by 72 points.

Here’s The Mongrel’s good, bad and ugly


Tom Mitchell

Time to adjust the Brownlow market again?

He had 46 disposals, nine marks and nine tackles to agonizingly close to an elusive AFL Quadruple Double, and ran his backside off all day. With Ed Curnow going to Isaac Smith, Mitchell was allowed free reign through the middle of the ground, and he relished it.

He had 16 contested touches and snuck forward to have four shots at goal today as well. As misinformed people claim he has little influence, anyone watching could see that he was the most influential player on the ground by a long way.

Mitchell had six clearances and drove the hawks inside 50 four times. His ability to get to the fall of the ball and be in the right place at the right time is uncanny. He finished with 12 score involvements and a direct goal assist to cap an excellent day at the office.

Paul Puopolo

He was the most desperate player on the ground all day long, and it was great to see him get reward for effort in the last quarter.

Poppy can be either up or down, and the difference between his best and worst is huge. Today we saw him at his best. As the Hawks floundered in the third quarter, Puopolo made it his mission to drag the Hawks back to a dominant position. He ran hard to beat Silvagno to the ball and snap around the corner, only to have it reversed on review, and was involved with Gunston’s snap against the flow as well.

As the Hawks looked to have put the cue in the rack in the third, Puopolo’s desperation forced them to pull the bloody thing back out and keep playing. With Cyril gone, his importance has increased, and tackles like the one he laid on Wietering in the last quarter are the kind of acts the Hawks need if they’re going to be part of September.

He finished the game with four goals, and if not for Breust, we’d be celebrating his efforts as the best forward on the park. Maybe he was, even with Breust in the mix.

The value of Puopolo was immense today. I’ve been really disappointed when Hawthorn supporters have brought up his name as a potential trade option “while he still has value”. What you’re getting from him as your small forward is far more than you’ll ever get in return for him on the market, and he applies the kind of pressure you want to be an example for others at the club.

James Worpel

So Worpel moved into the middle to pick up the slack left by Jaeger O’Meara’s absence… and he made the most of the opportunity.

He is a bit of a favourite amongst Hawk supporters, and he did nothing to sour their opinion of him, compiling a game consisting of 32 disposals and four tackles. What was most impressive is that he travelled at 88% efficiency despite having 14 of his disposals of the contested variety.

Worpel was pick 45 in last year’s draft, and would be the clubhouse leader this week for a Rising Star nomination. Watching him today, demonstrating great vision, clean hands, and excellent awareness, you might think that there are several teams that may rue allowing Worpel to slip so far down the draft order.

I loved his second and third efforts today, and his ability to hit a target in close, under pressure was refreshing from a young fella.

Howe on Cripps, post-punch

Daniel Howe is an underrated stopper, particularly given his size. He can match it against the stronger players, and hold his own in one-on-one contests, and he had to today against the contested disposal juggernaut known as Patrick Cripps.

Though Cripps would break the shackles in the second half, Howe was all over him in the first half, holding Cripps to just nine touches. Cripps would go on to rack up 21 second half touches, but in the early going, when the game was there to be won, Howe placed the pressure on Cripps around the stoppages and severely limited his impact.

You have to be careful not to be persuaded by stats. You can look at this game on paper and think Cripps was his usual dominant self. He led the game in contested touches and was equal leader in clearances. This wasn’t the case. He got his touches well and truly after the game was out of reach, and that was due to the hard work (and right cross) of Daniel Howe.


A tale of two forwards

Not sure whether I was the only one who noticed this, but the different treatment of the key forwards today was glaring.

As Charlie Curnow received two free kicks in the forward half of the ground, several people were rolling their eyes. The free kicks were there… kind of, if you like those kind of ticky-touch free kicks, but as the ball went up the other end, the free kicks were nowhere to be seen when Jarryd Roughead was presenting at the ball.

In the space of a few minutes in the third quarter, he got a blatant push in the back as he lead towards the ball and then was dragged down in another marking contest. In both cases, the umpire put the whistle away. I found myself wondering whether those free kicks would’ve been paid to Curnow had he been in a similar situation at the other end?

Rough is a champion of the game, and he has earned the respect of his peers over the journey. When an opponent chops his arm, or puts hands in his back in marking contests, he doesn’t flail about and appeal – he plays the game, and when you don’t penalise players for infringing like they did against him, two things happen. One is that the defenders will continue to do it, and two is that Roughead may start flopping, as that seems to be the way to get the attention of the umpires.

When you have soft free kicks paid at one end, and let slide at the other, it creates uncertainty amongst the players. No one playing knows what’s going on, so how are supporters supposed to know?

Roughead and Curnow both finished with one goal apiece today. Rough’s came in play, from a mark. Curnow’s came from a free kick. That was the tale of the day for them two. One was looked after – the other wasn’t.

The no-talk Blues

I’ll go on record and state that I have not watched every Carlton game this season – I’m not a masochist. However, the ones I have watched… does Liam Jones ever talk to his teammates when he is going for a mark?

For that matter, do Carlton defenders talk to each other at all on the park? The amount of times I’ve seen teammates collide in Blues games this season has been alarming. Kade Simpson was involved in two collisions today – one with Jacob Wietering, and one with Jones that saw Jones have to head to the bench and take no further part in the game.

But Jones didn’t want to be outdone. He also had a collision at half back with Nick Graham as the ball went forward and Puopolo goaled.

I’m not really sure whether this is a matter of players not talking, or simply not listening, but it’s a problem. One of many for the Blues, and I’m not sure it’s on the top of their list to rectify.


Third quarter misses.

Here’s a list of names that should have kicked a goal in the third quarter.

Isaac Smith. Matthew Kennedy. Harry McKay. Harry McKay again. Paul Puopolo. Charlie Curnow. Jarryd Roughead. Tom Mitchell.

There were plenty of goals kicked (seven, in fact) but the misses… ugh. Combined, the teams kicked 11 behinds for the quarter, and really, many of them were very gettable. Harry McKay’s efforts were woeful. One of his shots was close to the worst set shot of the year. It made Stephen Kernahan’s helicopter punts look like Malcolm Blight torpedoes.

If I didn’t know any better, I swear the Blues looked like they didn’t want to hit the scoreboard. The Hawks’ 7.3 last quarter made their accuracy look a little more respectable, but bad kicking is bad footy, and in the third, they played some really bad footy.

Howe on Cripps – the punch.

I wrote above about how Daniel Howe was able to negate the influence of Cripps, but his early punch to the jaw will undoubtedly see him spend a couple of weeks on the sidelines.

Cripps was spotted on the ground at a throw in at half forward early in the game. The replay showed he and his antagonist for the day in a push and shove before Howe clocked him in the jaw with a right cross.

I do think Howe was trying to rough Cripps up. I don’t think he intended to punch him right in the face… maybe the upper chest.

But he did it – punched him right in the jaw, and he deserves a couple of weeks on the sidelines to think about it.

Just on that, Cripps went down a little too easily from that shot, for mine. Didn’t get a free kick, which was amazing, but if I’m a Carlton supporter, I want him up and in Howe’s face, maybe giving him a bit of his own medicine. Not laying on the ground after a bit of a clip, but that’s just me. I want my stars to have a bit of mongrel in them. 


Cam Polson is a bit of poise away from being a really good player. He can get his hands on it, but the number of times this season I’ve seen him get his hands on it, only to do nothing with it, has been a little shocking. I don’t mean that he hacks the ball and it goes to the opposition. I mean that he just runs into a tackle, or tries to do a little too much and the ball spills free – he literally does nothing with it.

Of course there was that one version of Warnie’ s Gatting ball the Polson managed to replicate…

Resisted the urge to put Luke Breust and Jack Gunston in the ‘good’ category today. They did what was expected of them. Gunston, in particular, made really good decisions when the Hawks needed him to. He had 10 score involvements and one direct goal assist.

Breust is still on target for the as yet unachieved 50/100 mark. 50 goals and 100 tackles in a season has never been achieved before, and is the holy grail stat for small forwards. With five games left, Breust sits at 41 goals and 79 tackles. You think he can get there?

Great job again by Ed Curnow in a negating role. Isaac Smith may have met his aerobic match in Ed. Both blokes can run all day. Smith had the chance to hurt Ed on the scoreboard, but his 0.2 return makes Curnow’s job look all the better.

Saw some good signs from Jacob Wietering today, but he really knows how to screw something up. His kick to himself, slip and then out on the full effort saw Ricky Henderson punish the Blues. You know you’re not going well when you kick it to yourself and fail to hit the target.

Carlton’s inability to defend rebounds is a huge concern. Again, they have plenty of concerns, but the ease in which the Hawks went coast to coast in the first half would set off alarm bells for any coach.

What a shame we didn’t have either of James Sicily and Jed Lamb out there today to renew acquaintances. I had been looking forward to it all year. I heard that Lamb believes Sicily intentionally broke his own wrist just to avoid him!

Just kidding.

Great to see Tom Mitchell doing the tough stuff like backing into the oncoming Levi Casboult to spoil.

Interesting to hear the commentators talking up Silvagni as a defender. I still don’t think he does anything really well. A bit too much of a plodder at the moment. He is one of the few players who can collect the ball, look like he has time and space, and then get caught with it. He’s the anti-Pendlebury.

Nice stats for Marc Murphy today. 35 touches. Zero influence.

Great effort by Roughead to back into the marking contest and bring the ball to ground in the second quarter. It allowed Breust to kick his third after a great series of handballs from Mitchell, Worpel and Henderson.

Ricky Henderson is becoming very important to Hawthorn. His running ability and delivery of the footy has been a very pleasant surprise this season. He is sitting right to 20 touches per game, and chipped in with a nice goal today.

Ryan Burton really hasn’t had the second year Hawthorn were expecting, but he is showing signs. His closing speed to get a fist in against Charlie Curnow would’ve warmed the hearts of a few Hawks supporters today.

Geez Cripps was completely set up to be caught holding the ball by Lobbe in the last quarter. Not really sure it was Lobbe’s fault. Cripps ran past calling for it and ran smack-bang into his old mate, Daniel Howe.

It must be tempting to throw Cripps forward on a more regular basis. His isolation on Frawley and his great one-hand mark was a genuine highlight.

I’m interested to hear what Carlton supporters think of Matt Kennedy. I really fluctuate in my opinion of him. He looks like a genuine bash and crash kind of player, but seems to lack finesse at times. Put it this way – do you think he will be in contention for a top three midfield spot when you’re next contending for a flag?

Hawk fans, did Jonathon O’Rourke do enough for you today?

I suppose for Hawthorn, this was as an unconvincing convincing win as you’re going to get. Does that make sense? You won by 12 goals, but there is no doubt in my mind that the third quarter fade out would’ve infuriated Clarkson. You had Carlton down a ton at half time, and there must have been thoughts of a 100-point thrashing floating around. The Hawks reverted to playing like millionaires in the third, and it almost cost them a place in the eight.

For the Blues… you’ve got Gold Coast next week. It’s winnable, but I think you’ll lose. You just have a real stench of mediocrity about the team at the moment. They are going through the motions to get to the end of the year. Not much’ll be taken from this year. The rebuild continues…


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