Well, you guys know what to expect from me by now. If you’re a Pies fan, you’re going to want to read the ‘Good’ section and if you’re a Hawks supporter, the ‘Bad’ and ‘Ugly’ sections are going to be either something you completely agree with, or rail against.
This was a ten goal win, at least. The final score says that the Pies won by 32 points, but this was an ass kicking in every single way.
The Collingwood midfield were winners. The forward line were winners. The defence were winners and the coaching box were winners.
And do you know what that makes Hawthorn?
You don’t have to be a Rhodes Scholar to work it out.
There is plenty to get through with this one. Let’s jump into The Mongrel’s good, bad and ugly.
THE ALL-AUSTRALIAN CENTRE HALF BACK?
So, we’re all submitting our All-Australian teams following this round for our first combined Mongrel Rolling All-Australian team. After tonight, I am not sure many of my fellow writers here could possibly leave Darcy Moore out of the mix.
There are some high quality defenders in the league at the moment, and some have jumped out of the box over the last couple of seasons, but Darcy Moore has had his opportunities cruelly ripped away from him due to a litany of hamstring injuries.
Moore has made every post a winner in 2020 and would have to be on the tip of the tongues of the All-Australian selectors.
Tonight he got a hold of Jack Gunston early, and though the Hawks did their forwards absolutely no favours with their lack of anything resembling good delivery, any time Gunston did look likely, Moore would arrive on the scene and screw things up for the Hawks. His nine intercept possessions were the most on the ground, but it was also Moore’s second efforts that made him stand out.
He had 21 disposals for the night as he, Brayden Maynard and Matt Scharenberg controlled the defensive 50.
I mentioned Maynard quickly above, but more needs to be spoken about regarding him.
He has taken on the big jobs over the last few weeks, with Toby Greene and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti being opposed to him. It has been a challenging time for Maynard, with these highly skilled players being able to get off the chain at points and a lesser defender would start second guessing himself.
Make no mistake, over those contests he had moments where he was beaten, but he still managed to hurt the opposition in other ways. Tonight, he was able to get the upper hand on Chad Wingard and still continue to win plenty of the footy himself.
Maynard had 20 touches and provided the important run and carry for the Pies (he had 523 metres gained) whilst Wingard appeared frustrated by the Hawks’ inability to find him with the footy. At half time, Maynard was the clear winner and Wingard was moved into the centre to attempt to get him into the game. At that stage, he’d had just three touches.
BALL MOVEMENT AND SWATTING THE FLIES
What a contrast between the teams. Hawthorn picked up cheap, dinky little possessions, each half-effective handball increasing the pressure on the recipient. On the other hand, the Pies moved the ball quickly, effectively, and most importantly, forward with purpose.
The Magpies punished Hawthorn’s sloppy ball movement and made them pay on the turnover, with Brody Mihocek being the main beneficiary.
Even the younger brigade of Will Kelly and Atu Bosenavulagi looked like they belonged.
The Pies made the Hawks look second-rate and after dropping a game to the Bombers bounced back with an air of confidence with their disposal. Sometimes you can get a real feel for a game in the first few minutes of the contest and this was one of them – the Pies were all over the Hawks, pressured them at every turn and swatted them away when the Hawks tried to apply pressure in return.
Speaking of the pressure, from the moment the Pies gang tackled Tom Mitchell, split his head open and sent Will Kelly on his way to kick his first goal in footy, the Pies looked up for the fight.
Travis Varcoe smashed Liam Shiels with a hip and shoulder and left him lying in a heap on the turf and the Hawks offered a meek push and shove at points but when the ball was there to be won, and bodies were there to be knocked over, it was the Pies that were harder and tougher at the contest. They were better for longer and if we were looking at physical contests around the ground, as an overview I reckon the Pies would have won two of every three they were involved in.
And sometimes it felt like more.
I’ve long believed that hard work beats talent, and I reckon that Brody Mihocek is evidence of that. I know that can come across as a backhanded compliment, particularly if you’re looking for something disparaging to hang your hat on, but believe me – I admire the hell out of a player that works his ass off to make something of himself after being overlooked for a long time.
Mihocek fits the bill perfectly and I have long though that whilst the Pies have this versatile forward line with interchangeable parts like Stephenson, Elliott, Hoskin-Elliott, Thomas and de Goey, none of them can slot in and play the role Mihocek does.
He leads hard, throws himself into the contest, always tries to keep his feet in contests and when he gets the opportunity to convert, he does it.
Four goals in this game saw him as the most effective forward on the ground, and given the amount of talent out there – the natural sort of talent that usually shines with or without genuine hard work, the way Mihocek powered his way to the right spots and established himself as the go-to man for the Pies up forward should be commended.
I know he has one horrid game in last year’s finals hanging over his head, but you can never accuse Mihocek of not trying. He busts his backside for Collingwood and when he gets rewards the way he did in this game, I celebrate alongside him.
THE ECSTACY AND AGONY OF THE DEBUTANTS
How great was it to see Will Kelly streak forward and slam home his first goal in footy with his first kick. I loved the fact that Wayne Carey put Brian Taylor on the spot on commentary and asked him how many people were in the first kick/first goal club and it was obvious that BT had no idea.
Anyway, Kelly had his moment of triumph and it was glorious but late in the game, an awkward fall in a marking contest looked as though it may have broken his arm. It was later revealed that a dislocated elbow was more likely the outcome which is a huge relief.
Atu Bisenavulagi was impressive, and looked right at home as he slipped in and out of Magpie handball chains down the wing. He even had the chance to take a couple of bounces and deliver one long inside 50 in the third quarter, but I reckon Adam Treloar, who was running 15 metres inboard and screaming for the footy as they ran toward 50 will have a little word in Atu’s ear at some stage over the next little bit.
Atu’s kick to the top of the square was okay, but Treloar on the run from 40-45 out… that was the better option.
NOT A BAD DAY
Even in the midst of a disgusting outing as a club, the Hawks could take one good thing out of the evening – the debut of Will Day.
Playing at half back in place of Jack Scrimshaw, day seemed to be relatively at home, which is amazing considering how terrible the Hawks were for the majority of the game. His 16 touches across the half back line were a good return in a debut that he will like to forget given the result.
The final debutant was Josh Morris who didn’t have much of a say in proceedings, but should the Hawks continue down this path in terms of performance, could see quite a few more games in the near future to build on.
THE RUNNING MACHINE
Geez I hope this bloke’s hamstrings hold up this season. He is electrifying.
Adam Treloar burnt off every Hawthorn bloke that tried to run with him in this game. He runs, collects the footy, runs some more and then, just to top things off, he runs even more.
I’m sure he’ll have some critics for wasting the ball occasionally, and I am sure those blokes sitting on their couch have a great insight into what it’s like to run longer and harder than any bloke on the ground and still manage to pick up 35 touches in the process, but if you’re asking me, Adam Treloar ripped this game apart.
There were quite a few players in this match-up that pride themselves on their running ability, but none have the elite combination of working until the point of exhaustion and collecting as much footy as him. Tom Scully? Please… Isaac Smith? He tops out at about 25-26 touches. Ricky Henderson? Stick a fork in him – he’s done.
Treloar is the kind of player that any team in the league would accept with open arms. He is an inside 50-delivering, clearance gathering, ball dominant bull, and he will be hard to stop this season as he goes at top pace for every second he is on the park.
ELLIOTT INTO THE GUTS
How was this for an option for the Pies! No de Goey pinch-hitting in the guts? No Sidebottom taking his turn in there? No problem – the Pies will just throw this career-forward into the mix and watch him go to work.
Elliott looked to relish the opportunity to get off the chain and run around without someone tailing him every time he took a step. He registered five clearances before leaving the ground with an injury in the third quarter but those couple of quarters were more than enough for him to demonstrate that he is highly capable of filling the void in the future if required.
SICILY’S SECOND HALF
I was told that I am too harsh on James Sicily during the game. It came at the point just after Sicily tried to soccer the footy on the outer wing, had it clean bowl him and the Pies went inside 50 as a result. It was a lazy action and coupled with the two “throw it on your boot and hope” turnovers late in the first quarter, Sicily appeared to be phoning in his performance.
At half time, he had 14 touches and eight marks. He also had very little impact on the game as his disposals were either safe, down the line options or long kicks to contests. He is better than that and has the ability to hit targets with his kicking.
His second half was much better, and credit where credit’s due – he was rock-solid in defence for the Hawks. His second half stats paled in comparison to his first half, but each of them was more meaningful and he looked like he started giving a shit. If I am going to whack him when he plays poorly, I have to give him a bit of credit when he turns it around.
I’d actually try him on the wing. More freedom and the ability to go long over the zone inside 50 would be a weapon. Not sure he has the tank, or the will to run all day.
Isaac Quaynor looks like a player now. He hits the ball hard and his change of direction found several Hawks flat-footed at times in this game. Really looked like he had the capacity to tear through the middle and kick a goal a couple of times.
I thought we might see Jack Crisp slot bac into a role like this one, but the Pies may have really found one in Quaynor. His dash reminds me of a cross between Heater Shaw and Heretier Lumumba, and if the Pies get that sort of effort from him ongoing, there will be a regular place dashing off half back for quite a while.
WHERE TO BEGIN?
The score, perhaps?
Three goals in a game of footy is the sort of thing that gets coaches sacked. Seriously, if this wasn’t Alastair Clarkson coaching Hawthorn, I reckon who it was would be under scrutiny after this performance.
Remember the game against GWS last season? It was the Snow Game. Leon Cameron was ridiculed about his coaching and the team was lambasted about their willingness to play in poor conditions. In that game, the Giants kicked four goals.
The ridicule was justified then, and it should be now. The Hawks were atrocious and whilst you can give a lot of credit to the coaching of Nathan Buckley and the application of his tactics by the players, how much of this comes down to Hawthorn just not being up to it? How much of it comes down to a style of play that was so poor and directionless that it gave the forwards zero chance to have any impact? How much of this loss goes on Clarko?
It was interesting to hear Clarkson in the post-match press conference. He spoke about packing up and leaving Melbourne in two days. He spoke about playing GWS on their home deck and having to front up against the Pies with a five day break, but what I really wanted to hear was how the team fell down on the day.
I don’t care whether they are termed reasons or excuses – the fact that Hawthorn had a five day break should not impact their complete inability to score for almost the entire game.
How many thought it was a knee? Seeing him sitting on the bench, sobbing, it was an easy thing to think.
It seems it was merely a hamstring bu tg given his recent history with injury it’s obvious that he’s at his wit’s end. His interaction with the club official was interesting. I counted three “fuck off” instructions as they walked the boundary.
I don’t think there are many who wouldn’t wish Patton a speedy recovery. They said a week or two last night but realistically it’ll be more like four weeks. If anyone deserves a clear run at it for the remainder of the season, it’s Patton. He’s had enough injuries for three entire careers.
Righto, there are a few names that need to be spoken about as we break down how poor Hawthorn were.
Paul Puopolo – I am a fan, first and foremost. I think what he has brought to this club over the journey has been worth its weight in brown and gold. But can he still bring it? Can he bring the forward pressure, the opportunism and the sneaky goals? If the Hawks are going to contend, which on tonight’s performance seems a long way off, Puopolo could provide something in a final. If they’re a middle of the road team, his time is up and focus should go on the kids.
Tom O’Brien – Yeah, I know I called him Tom. It’s almost correct, right? Just like he almost takes marks and almost kicks goals. I actually think he could be a nice lead up third tall. Just not in this side. I have never seen a bloke get his hands to so many marks… then the ball just seems to pop out somehow. That missed goal in the second quarter – Bruce McAvaney was right – it is indicative of his career.
Jaeger O’Meara – Too inconsistent. Looks like a million bucks and has been playing like a dollar fifty.
Ricky Henderson – Has fallen off a cliff. Playing like a bloke that wanted to give it one more shot last year, did it and now has the cue in the rack.
Tom Scully – Runs a lot. Doesn’t touch the footy.
Ben Stratton – Last season as captain, surely.
I don’t know where the Hawks can go from here. I guess GWS kicked four goals late in 2019 and still made the Grand Final. Strange things happen, but really, can you see this Hawthorn team contending this season?
I can’t. They looked bloody ordinary.
DID MASON COX DO ENOUGH?
Without being in the good graces of the umpires, I think we’d be questioning Mason Cox’s role in this Collingwood team again. He had five disposals for the night and three of them came via free kicks. Of those two free kicks, I reckon one of them was definitely there. The other two were iffy.
Would you have him in the side to play the Cats? I expect them to give a fair bit more than the Hawks did and unless he can walk away with more than ZERO marks, I don’t think you’re getting bang for your buck with him.
WHAT IS TOM SCULLY?
He’s not tagging. He’s not winning the footy. He’s not doing much of anything except unrewarded running. The problem is, if all you’re doing is unrewarded running… you’re never getting any bloody reward, are you?
The Hawks need to find a role for him, and fast. Sitting in Treloar’s hip pocket would have been a good option in this game – at least he may have found himself where the footy was now and again.
IS JON PATTON DONE?
I thought he was cooked when I saw the vision of him crying on the bench. I thought it was another ACL. Given it’s a hammy, you have to wonder just how much he can put himself through before he throws in the towel. Those were the tears of a frustrated man.
I’m guessing we’ve all had moments where our bodies have let us down. For blokes like Joe Ganino, it’s usually about 20 seconds after he gets started.
Patton though… he has a three year deal and plenty of time to get this right. I guess it just hurts for it all to go so wrong, so often.
DID WE JUST SEE THE MASTER COACH OUTCOACHED?
Hell yes we did.
Bucks has long been taught a thing or two by Clarkson, but tonight the Collingwood coach put a couple of very trying weeks behind him and executed a gameplan that left the Hawks looking reactive and inept at times. Clarko tried a few things, but Collingwood were able to counter just about everything Hawthorn threw at them.
Wingard to the middle? Ineffective. McEvoy forward? Meh… Moves to get Isaac Smith open and running? No problem, Bucks had runners of his own.
When one team can conjure just three goals in 100-odd minutes of footy they have been completely and utterly outcoached.
The Hawks soccered the footy off the deck in this game more than I have seen them try in a long while. With the way Collingwood were structured, it played right into their hands.
Anyone else notice how reluctant the umpires were to pay a 50 metres penalty? At one point, Tom Mitchell marked about 80 out from goal. Brayden Maynard came in late, wrapped him up, walked about five steps over the mark and stood there.
The umpire yelled “Brayden two metres two metres.” Maynard didn’t move but instead of pinging him, the ump yelled “Play on” and Mitchell kicked long and pointlessly inside 50. I wonder whether they’ve been instructed to be more lenient in another rule tweak?
Speaking of Mitchell, his 33 touches were a welcome sign that he is improving. 21 touches in the second half indicated that the trend of him going a little quiet after half time seems to have been halted.
Understated game for the Collingwood captain with 21 touches but there were still moments where Scott Pendlebury looked like the only bloke on the park with time. Such a joy to watch.
Had my eye on Rupert Wills since last year. I love the all-or-nothing style of play he employs. I reckon he knows he’s a fringe player and every game he leaves it all out on the field.
And that’ll do. A powerful performance by the Pies, and had they felt like it and been willing to allow the game to open up, I reckon they could have really cut the Hawks to shreds. Not that they didn’t – I mean on the scoreboard particularly in the last quarter. The game against the Cats next week will be a belter.
The Hawks get the Dees and this will be interesting. I think I’m gonna tip the Dees.
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