Alternate Worlds – Fremantle v Hawthorn from two completely different views
Two Mongrels donned the colours of opposing teams to look at this game with one eye. Nicholas Sluggett put on his purple pants, hit First Avenue and tuned up that cool looking guitar as part of the purple reign, whilst Jason Irvine… well, he was stuck wearing brown and gold… and not just due to a bathroom accident.
Both Mongrels watched the game closely and here are their takeaways.
WHO WAS THE MATCH WINNER?
I thought about this and I had to go with Fyfe. There were definitely other players threatening for this, but Fyfe was just too irresistible not to pick. Outside of his zero goals and six behinds (a lot of which were quick snap shots under intense pressure), you could make the case he played the perfect all-round game.
He did his usual thing accumulating the footy, winning clearances and taking strong marks. But he also worked hard to block for teammates like Serrong and Brayshaw, around stoppages. He was desperate on the defensive side and even got his hands onto a couple smothers which were very telling in changing the momentum of play.
Honestly, and I might be going a left-field option here, but I really thought Travis Colyer stepped up when he needed to and inspired Fremantle to power ahead and ice the game. He was big and impacted important moments with his sharp ground-ball gathers, speed and burst through the middle of the field and kicked a couple of goals also. He found space, whether that was to run with ball in hand or when he wanted a kick his way inside the forward 50.
Colyer was directly involved in a Michael Frederick goal in the third term when he pounced on a loose ball at the defensive half-back area which was intercepted by a teammate. Colyer took the ball and went up the middle of the ground, finding Matt Tabener with a booming kick who eventually kicked to the space of Frederick in a one-on-one battle with Changkouth Jiath.
He also set up one of Freo’s many goals from the first quarter that had the Dockers in gear at the time. He had a minimal amount of clangers and was good with his disposal, leading Fremantle inside 50.
Of course, the usual suspects of Nat Fyfe for Fremantle, along with Sean Darcy were most helpful for the Dockers in getting the win. Fyfe collected 31 disposals – 14 contested – but let himself down on the scoreboard. Sean Darcy’s tap work did well against Ben McEvoy and Jonathon Ceglar but he was more dangerous forward, clunking five contested marks and kicking three goals.
Chad Wingard was involved in a number of plays forward for Hawthorn, often being the target in the middle and always looked like going forward with a sense of urgency, however three goals from Dylan Moore made the Hawks look damaging.
WHERE DID WE WIN/LOSE THE GAME?
We won this game with our attacking flair. Freo needs to bottle that first quarter where players were streaming through the guts and linking up by hand and overlapping their Hawthorn counterparts. Our defenders were playing the ball on its merits and attacking it.
The final touch, though, was the ball use going inside 50. It was near perfect in the first quarter, dipped a bit in the second, but returned in the second half. The other part was our marking. It looked like a perfect day for footy and our big guys made it look that way. The ball just stuck.
Hawthorn allowed themselves to be under pressure too much, which forced mistakes and costly turnovers. And that led to Fremantle goals. There was constant overrunning of the ball, players losing their footing and their position showed they were disorganised and caught out, especially evident when playing behind their opponents or losing contested marking contests.
At times, Hawthorn’s disposal was shaky with missed targets (overuse, kicking over heads, kicking along the ground, kicking into opponents on the mark) which the Dockers were able to counter with ease. Skill errors such as missed tackles and not responding to Fremantle’s quick transition saw them chasing.
Hawthorn was also beaten around the stoppages at crucial moments throughout the match. In the fourth quarter, when Hawthorn was 16 points down and needed to get first use, the Hawks lost the centre clearance count 7-1 – and that one came within the final minute. Neither of the rucks had a truly dominant game which allowed for it to be an even game clearance-wise, with the Dockers getting in first and being rewarded when the ball was knocked out.
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?
Put a target behind the goals for Fyfe. God dammit.
But seriously, I’m not sure what I would’ve done differently. The midfield matchups were changed to suit the momentum and who was getting on top. The defenders and forwards at each end looked steady and on top despite the periods where the Hawks clawed back the score line.
Hawthorn looked to move laterally more than anything, they should’ve looked forward more than they did. While the inboard kicks and plays were useful at times, it wasn’t all the time and you had small, running types like Wingard and Jarman Impey being the guys to be responsible for the crossover.
Big men like McEvoy and Ceglar are more than able to take a big contested mark up the line but seemed like that wasn’t what the Hawks had in mind. The Hawks were more willing to play the kick-to-kick game, with plenty of uncontested marks and possessions, whereas Fremantle was looking to take the game on and run, which when the Hawks made a mistake from a wayward kick or wrong direction, the Dockers were ready, becoming a method of scoring they were most utilising.
MOST UNDERRATED PERFORMANCE
I know he won’t be underrated by Freo fans, but David Mundy was just about best on ground in this game. He was clean, he had poise and can’t remember him wasting a single possession. I’d say he is enjoying a renaissance in his career, but it feels like it’s been going for about three years. Every time Freo plays you see Mundy there doing his thing. He is more than part of the furniture; this guy is starting to grow mold he’s been there that long. But still, there he is doing his thing while the likes of Fyfe ad Brayshaw take the heat, and others like Serrong and Cerra continue to develop.
The other performance I thought that will go unsung is Reece Conca. He did a magnificent job in curtailing the presence of Luke Breust. Breust was barely sighted for the entirety of this game. He only had the eight disposals and only two of those were part of scoring chains, meaning he was largely ineffective even when he got his brief moments. Conca gets top marks for shutting down an ageing but still dangerously crafty small forward.
Mitch Lewis for the Hawks, in his fifth year is still an underrated player in a stacked Hawthorn lineup. Today, he had his highest-disposal tally since late in 2019 with 14 touches, but when he had the ball, he used it well, turning it over just once. Playing predominantly forward, Lewis still was involved in many of Hawthorn’s scores and competed well in the air, clunking five contested marks of his eight marks overall. Lewis kicked the Hawks fourth goal in a row, during their blitz in the second term, popping up and being an attacking presence deep inside the 50 to crumb and goal to give the Hawks some life.
THE MOMENT THAT MATTERED MOST?
In my opinion, it was about halfway through the last quarter. The ball was kicked long down the line to a contest by Serrong who had snatched an errant handpass from Ben McEvoy. A two-on-two and Frost looked like he had his name written all over it. Then, for some unknown reason, he simply pulled out.
Now the commentators tried to say a teammate may have called him out of it, but no teammate was in any sort of position to make such a call. What is more likely is Taberner may have called him out of it, and then took the uncontested mark and delivered long to the big man in Darcy. He marked 35-metres out directly in front and kicked the goal. It sealed the match and made me have to rewind the coverage to make sure Anthony Hudson hadn’t sworn on live TV.
Probably the Frederick goal in the third quarter was the moment where Fremantle punished Hawthorn – it was the eighth time for nine goals to that point that Hawthorn had given up via a turnover. The Hawks won a free kick for a deliberate out of bounds and looked inbound to go forward but the kick in went over the head of Jaeger O’Meara, and Fremantle was there to mop up through Colyer, Tabener and eventually Frederick. It got the Dockers up and about and confirmed the pressure the Hawks were under which Fremantle picked up on, finishing the game with that continuing.
WHICH PLAYERS LET US DOWN THE MOST?
This probably had to be Nathan Wilson. He was just found wanting in a couple of contests and particularly with some of his skill errors. This is particularly egregious as he is meant to be the silky half back who Fremantle relies on to be a distributor. Only 11 disposals, all of them kicks, with four turnovers and a disposal efficiency of only 36%.
Ryan was also quiet by his usual standards and Acres threatened to tear this game apart but just couldn’t make it stick.
Luke Bruest was well held by the tag of Reece Conca, collecting just eight disposals for the afternoon, seven of which came in the third quarter (when Conca went to Mitchell) – there were two quarters where Bruest didn’t touch the pill. To be fair to him, of those eight touches, seven were contested, proving that he was hunting the ball and wanting to make an impact. Trying to play up the ground didn’t work for Bruest either, even though he got a few possessions in the middle part of the ground.
Tim O’Brien flew all day but couldn’t make much of a dent in the game. He looked damaging and led into space for the inside 50 kick but he couldn’t stick the mark which was disappointing for the forward. O’Brien got on the end of one in the fourth quarter, but should’ve made a bigger impact earlier on too.
PLAYER FROM THE OPPOSITION I ADMIRED MOST IN THIS GAME?
It has to be Jiath. Held the dam wall up as best he could in the first quarter. Jiath seems to have quickly become the linchpin of the Hawks defense. Standing tall as a key defender and providing arguably some of their best attacking run and launching intercepting the footy at will. The best thing though is he never loses his cool or drops his head, or gives a teammate a dirty stare, even when they have absolutely sold him into trouble or put the ball behind him. I mean c’mon, life is hard enough as a Hawks defender these days. Yes, it is safe to say I’m a big Jiath fan.
I also want to tip my hat to Jarman Impey. I know it is a double up, but I thought he also deserved a mention. He fought incredibly hard and some great contests in the Fremantle forward 50.
Heath Chapman played a brilliant game, backing up a good game he had in Round 2 against the Blues where he racked up 18 touches. He collected the same amount against the Hawks, splitting his time between the wing and backline. He was always clean and crisp with his disposal and remained calm under pressure. He intercepted many balls deep in defence, including stopping a sure Hawthorn goal midway through the fourth, picking up a wonky skidding ball and keeping a level-head as he handballed to Brennan Cox that started a rebound out of the defensive end.
He kicked his first goal in the AFL, setting up 50m out initially but a leg trip off the ball from Jack Scrimshaw on Fyfe was sighted and Chapman was told to go to the top of the square, where he made no mistake.
A solid win to leave us sitting two wins and two losses for the season and outside the eight on percentage. The next few weeks are very interesting. A trip over to Adelaide to play the Crows in what should be considered a genuine 50/50 clash. We follow that up with a Saturday night ANZAC Eve match against North Melbourne.
If we go one win and one loss, that leaves us on an even ledger heading into a massive derby against the Eagles which I’m thinking we’re a big chance for an upset in. I can’t wait to see how this team continues to play.
Overall, undisciplined skill errors from the Hawks brought them undone in this matchup. The Dockers really should’ve iced the game sooner with costly misses but Hawthorn didn’t respond to the loose ball as quickly as Fremantle did. The way Hawthorn moved the ball wasn’t working, and they lacked tall targets forward that impacted the game the same way as Fremantle’s did. The Hawks needed to pull the trigger more and trust what was up forward.
There were occasions where Hawthorn was lucky to get some goals, the most prominent being a 50m penalty awarded to Michael Hartley at a kick-in which turned into a downfield free that saw him kick a goal from 50m out the out end to where he started. But while there were more than a few roving, crumbing goals from the Hawks, squandered just as many chances which hurt when they could’ve got back within the game to what they were.
Many of the Hawthorn midfielders found plenty of the ball and used it well but didn’t seem to impact the contest on the ground level. Fremantle’s midfielders were better reading the ball and getting the clearances with the Hawks on the back foot which didn’t bode well. The Hawks have the ability to run and carry and at stoppages, have enough firepower to get the clearances but were beaten against the Dockers.