Hawthorn v Melbourne - The Good, Bad and Ugly

On a wet and miserable day at the MCG, questions were answered about a team some have tipped to make top four, and another team looking to climb back into contention.

If you wanted answers, you got them, but depending on your allegiance, they may not have been the answers you were looking for.

In the wet, the Hawks smashed the Demons, causing many to question whether Melbourne have the ticker to be a top four team, let alone win a flag.

Here’s The Mongrel’s good, bad and ugly of the Hawks’ 67 point win.

 

THE GOOD

Liam Shiels

Often unsung, Shiels was the standout for the Hawks, collecting 31 touches and laying 14 tackles – both game-high amounts.

Shiels is good in any conditions, but the wet weather suits his game, and he made the most of it as the Hawks’ regular powerhouse, Tom Mitchell had a quieter outing.

His perfect pass to Tim O’Brien in the third quarter was classic Shiels – always doing the work to set someone else up. O’Brien was running back toward goal in a genuine two on two contest, but Shiels almost demanded he come back toward the ball. The moment O’Brien started to make the move, Shiels hit him perfectly.

Its the little things Shiels does that often go unnoticed. As Jack Gunston ran the boundary to bomb a superb 50 metre goal, who was the player that made the ground and provided the Hawthorn-standard; the block of the player on the mark? Yep, Liam Shiels.

If Tom Mitchell is the regular architect of the Hawthorn midfield, Liam Shiels is a pretty fine draftsman.

Dave Mirra

With James Frawley not 100%, Mirra went deep into defence and took on Jesse Hogan – the man who led all players with ten disposals at quarter time.

Mirra was excellent, reading the play as he played a key role in repelling many Demon attacks. When Petracca went with a long bomb to lift the Dees, Mirra was there, chest marking in the goal square.

He’s waited a long time, but it was worth it. On debut, he tallied 18 disposals and looked calm under pressure, except for the nervous spilled chest mark in the first quarter. Hawk supporters will forgive that one, given the rest of his game. 

Luke Breust on the way to the 50-100 Club

Did you know that no player has ever kicked 50 goals and made 100 tackles in a single season? You did? Well done, you. So far this season we have Luke Breust sitting on 11 goals and 20 tackles; easily on track to become the first ever member of this club.

His 19 disposals and 4 goals were the perfect game for a forward of his nature in the conditions. He is so clean with the ball and his refusal to lose his footing puts the pressure on defenders whilst making his teammates better. After a year he’d like to forget in 2017, Breust looks as though he is ready to return to the form of the Hawthorn premiership campaigns.

Nathan Jones on Tom Mitchell

When a bloke is averaging over 45 touches per game and you hold him to 24, you could be forgiven for being pleased with yourself. Nathan Jones was the man that put a stop to Mitchell’s run of excellence with close checking and solid tactics at stoppages.

As explained by Jimmy Bartel on commentary, Jones was negating Mitchell’s influence by bodying him in close proximity to the ruck contest. As a result, Mitchell was flat-footed at the stoppages and unable to be on the move to receive.

Jones was also integral in Melbourne’s early-game success, setting up the forward thrust in which Jesse Hogan goaled from 45 metres, and hitting a beautiful in-board kick to Clayton Oliver under pressure.

Going into this contest, if you told Simon Goodwin that Tom Mitchell would be restricted to 24 touches, he’d take it, even if it meant that Jones had to sacrifice his own game to do it.

Jaeger O’Meara continues to impress.

If you had any questions as to whether O’Meara’s body was going to stand up, have a look atv the footage below and watch him burn off three Melbourne players en route to the Hawks’ first goal of the second half.

O’Meara was a bit of a beast today, and is fast becoming the player the Gold Coast hoped he’d be when they drafted him, and Hawthorn hoped he’d be when they acquired him. His 26 disposals against the Demons were of high quality, and his work in close was as good defensively as it was offensively. He finished with 9 tackles, including a stretch in the final quarter where he had three in the one passage of play.

Whilst Mitchell has garnered all the headlines, O’Meara put on a show of his own today.

 

THE BAD

Same time. Same place. Same result.

You couldn’t have scripted it better other than to have had it at the end of the game.

Max Gawn did everything right up until the ball hit his foot. The hard work was taking the mark. 20-25 metres out, Gawn got rid of Big Boy McEvoy and clunked a mark. He went back, put his head over the ball, just like he’d done three weeks ago against Geelong to win the game.

He got the same result. Some smart video editor will put them together side beside. The kicks were almost identical. Absolutely bloody horrible, both of them.

Cam Read wrote for The Mongrel at the time that the Dees are mentally weak. Their performance against the Hawks, and Gawn’s efforts when confronted by his own demons, did nothing to dispel his theory.

Pop goes a hammy

It was fitting that it was a lunging tackle that saw Poppy injure his hamstring. It epitomised the Hawks’ game.

His walk to the boundary line was a long, painful one, and having done my share of hamstrings, the way he was hobbling didn’t look good.

The Hawks will now be without their two best pressure forwards as they head into the next few weeks. Puopolo’s presence around the ball, as well as being a surprising target on the lead, will be greatly missed by Hawthorn.

 

THE UGLY

The Demons playing like millionaires

Melbourne had the start they wanted against the Hawks, aside from a Luke Breust snap that gave the Hawks the first. The Demons kicked the next four goals, including three to Dean Kent, who looked to have the Hawks’ number.

But at the first break, the Dees led by only two goals. I felt the Hawks were lucky to be that close. Hogan was tearing the Hawks to shreds and looked every bit the match winner. Kent was on fire, Brayshaw was getting plenty of it, and Mitchell was struggling under attention from Jones.

The game was ripe for the picking for the Demons, but when the going gets tough, the Dees stopped. The Hawks slowed things down, were harder and lower in contests and used the Hawthorn special – the little tap on and kick on to a teammate in better position, to frustrate Melbourne, and force them into errors. Aided by the wet ball, the Hawks pressured the Dees, and the Dees wilted.

It was a soft performance. When does Jack Viney get back?

Cyril hurt again

I got the same feeling when Rioli got hurt that I did when Buddy Franklin clutched his shoulder against the Bulldogs – football is better with him in the game.

How long Rioli sits out after hurting his knee is up in the air, but watching his pressure is one of the highlights of the game. Hope he gets better soon.

 

OTHER BITS

Is it completely disrespectful to say that I think Frawley going off hurt helped the Hawks? He’s a bit of a plodder these days, and when Kent marked 35 metres  out for his second goal, Frawley was trailing a good ten metres behind him.

Tim O’Brien gets a lot of flack by Hawk supporters, and much of it is due to being beaten in a contest. When he gets a clear run at it, O’Brien sticks marks, but when there is a legitimate one on one, he rarely wins. Unfortunately for Hawthorn, opposition coaches know this.

When Christian Salem marked and goaled inside 50 in the first quarter, you could be forgiven for thinking the Hawks were in big trouble. There were loose men everywhere in the Melbourne forward line.

Ben Stratton hardly put a foot wrong all game. The Hawks missed him terribly last year.

Credit Luke Breust’s second goal to Cyril Rioli working hard to crashing Jake Lever in a marking contest. The ball spilled, and Breust swooped.

Thomas Bugg will be rueing some very get-able shots at goal. None moreso than his shot in the second quarter, which started with a Jake Lever intercept mark.

The Dees inability to have someone staying at home as a permanent defender cost them several times, with the ball slipping through hands, or skidding past contests. Isaac Smith and Puopolo both scored goals with the ball sneaking out the back. Poor coaching, or players not following instructions? What do you think?

Impey had his best game as a Hawk. His mark with the flight of the ball is the sort of thing Hawk fans would love seeing.

Kent may have kicked three, but he gave one back with a dumb 50 metre penalty against Roughead. The mark was 60 metres out when Kent decided to knock the ball out of Rough’s hands. Dumb, dumb dumb…

What was up with the deliberate out of bounds calls against Hawthorn? The absolute howlers given the slippery conditions.

Best play from the Demons since the first quarter saw Gawn hit Salem with a perfect tap in the third quarter. He pumped it long where Bugg marked 30 out. He did not convert.

A three or four minute period toward the end of the third saw the Demons start pressing again – they needed to. It was snuffed out when Gawn hacked one in the general direction of the goals. When I say general direction, I mean towards that end, as the ball sailed out on the full. Challenge over.

Nice two on one win from Christian Salem to get the free kick in the last quarter. Follows up with a nice pass to Neal-Bullen who goaled. The Dees only goal after quarter time.

Great to see Roughy tackling hard. Jake Lever’s attempted fend couldn’t stop the big fella. Holding the ball was the result.

Nice one on one win from Bayley Fritsch against Isaac Smith on the wing. These are the kinds of contests Smith won against Geelong two weeks ago that helped the Hawks over the line. Fritsch refused to be pushed off the ball as easily as the Cats were.

Mitchell played a role in the last Hawks’ goal, farming it out to Impey who went long. The ball spilled past the contest to a wide open Breust, who slammed home his fourth, capping a ripping day for him.

 

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