The sun was shining in Tasmania as the rampaging Crows faced the hapless Hawks. Could the Crows continue their red-hot start to the season or would the Hawks be willing to potentially sacrifice Harley Reid and take the four points? With off-field subplots (draft picks and ladder positions) and building for the future of both teams at stake, who would secure victory on the Apple Isle? Let’s find out.
And no, I’m not talking about the Queen hit or the waistband on Stewart Dew’s pants … the Crows found themselves under an immense amount of Hawk pressure. The tackle numbers for the Hawks were through the roof across the game, not allowing the Crows to use their run and carry and spread from stoppages to its fullest effect.
This was a significant improvement for the young Hawks who have found themselves in games early and then have faded after half-time. Today however, they managed to maintain the tackle pressure across the better part of four quarters.
163 tackles for the game is a huge number. Both teams brought the heat, and this allowed for a highly competitive match that became about who was able to capitalise on their momentum and opportunities.
Taking Your Chances
On numerous occasions in 2023 already we’ve seen teams lose games because of inaccuracy. At times, the Crows looked like they may kick themselves out of the game; especially in the last quarter. Through the first 19 minutes of the final quarter, the Crows were kicking the ball at 42% efficiency. Not only that, they were missing some gettable chances at goal. The Crows also generated a number of forward half turnovers, but were unable to significantly capitalise on the scoreboard, unlike the Hawks who, while having far fewer forward half turnovers, were able to pierce the Crows’ defence more readily in this way.
While the Hawks had less of the ball, fewer clearances, and fewer inside 50’s, by taking their chances they remained in the game for long parts – and looked to likely have won the game deep into the final quarter. However, it was at this point that Darcy Fogarty reigned supreme. From a tight angle, deep in the pocket the Fog put the Crows in front with barely a minute to spare. He is coming of age in season 2023 and is starting to fulfil the potential many have spoken of since his debut.
Who Does the Result Say More About?
This is a really good question. Some of our writers are Hawks fans, and they were quite happy with the honourable loss – in fact, they wanted that more than a win. The Hawks have been in winnable positions over the last two weeks, but have 0 points to show for it. Is it tanking? Or is it simply a young side not sure how to protect a lead in the dying stages? I’ll go with that on this occasion. They will only learn and grow from these results and it will set them in good stead for the future.
For the Crows though, while they were inaccurate and should have possibly won by more – they didn’t. If they are going to be a serious contender and threat in 2023, they should be winning these games well, not allowing their less seasoned and less capable opponents dictate terms and force them to fight so hard. Yes, they fought back and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat – which is always a positive – but the Crows need to be able to find more people to share the load in their victories; especially away from home.
The Hawks will continue to grow and develop as a team. They will also learn resilience under pressure from this. It’s an honourable loss, but also a missed opportunity to galvanise the team. For the Crows, they find themselves in the top four, and winning form is good form. They need to find ways to put the game to bed earlier when they have dominance. Like some other sides, they can find it harder going away from their home state. Their next step is finding the same form away from home.
From the Viewing Gallery
Conor Nash had close to the best game of his career. He was brutal around the stoppages and played a significant role in clearing from stoppages. He also landed one of the best tackles you will ever see!
Lachlan Sholl has shown plenty of potential in recent years. In 2023, with the continuity of games and role, we are starting to see consistency in his game and increased output. With his running ability and elite kicking, he will increasingly become a weapon for the Crows.
Much is made about stats in the AFL world. We see articles about the number of possessions, clearances, etc, yet some things that aren’t often listed are knock on’s. Changkuoth Jiath (CJ) had a little moment of brilliance as the ball came towards him. Instead of taking possession, he deftly deflected the ball into the path of Tyler Brockman who goaled as a result. It’s the little moments that make a difference sometimes.
Unfortunately for Hawks ruckman Max Lynch, he has suffered yet another concussion. We wish him well in his recovery and for his future – whatever it may look like that is best for his wellbeing.
Max Michalanney still doesn’t get his flowers. Yes, he has had a Rising Star nomination, but there isn’t enough discussion about him. While others are collecting big numbers, he is nullifying some of the best forwards in the business. Playing his position as a first-year player isn’t easy and is often thankless externally, but yet again, he has shown why I have him locked in our Rolling All-Australian team, as he kept Luke Breust goalless – and also curtailed Chad Wingard at times.
Rory Sloane wound the clock back against the Hawks. The former skipper reminded everybody of not just his football ability, but his on-field leadership. He was immense in the trenches and when the game was on the line.
As the Crows narrowly avoided a potentially embarrassing loss, and landed themselves in the top four for the moment, they look ahead to a mouth-watering contest with Collingwood in the twilight spot next Sunday at Adelaide Oval. The Hawks on the other hand are at Superhero Stadium Saturday twilight against the resurgent Dogs.
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