The Hawks returned to Launceston against the Gold Coast Suns and ran out 53 point winners in what can only be described as a sloppy game of football.
Here’s The Mongrel’s good, bad, and plenty of ugly.
He is still the front-runner for the All-Australian small forward despite a couple of lean weeks in the lead up to this game (no, not the bye week… though I don’t actually know what he got up to on his week off).
Breust was the most dangerous forward on the park today, and though he should have ended the game with four or perhaps five goals, his 21 touches, eight marks and three tackles were enough to give the Suns’ defenders nightmares.
Breust will have to be playing at a high level if the Hawks are to a) make the eight, and b) do more than just make up the numbers.
This bloke is as unsung as they come in the AFL. The Hawthorn midfield boasts names like O’Meara and Mitchell, and those guys garner the headlines, but the grunt work is more often than not performed by Shiels to little or no fanfare.
He was the best player on the ground to half time, and you could argue his case for the three votes for the game as a whole. Similar to a lot of his teammates, he had trouble controlling the trajectory of his disposals at Launceston, going at just 61% efficiency for the game, but while players like O’Meara and Isaac Smith were unable to get going in the first half, Shiels put his head over it and stood up for the Hawks.
Yes, it was “only” Gold Coast, but the Hawks have been excellent at this ground for several years. Though they don’t play pretty football here, they win, win and win. And that’s exactly what they did today as they restricted Gold Coast to only five behinds over the second and third quarters.
While the Suns screwed around with the ball and ruined every opportunity afforded them, the Hawks added six goals and 12 behinds to put the game out of reach.
One of the few Suns that was able to hold his head high after the game.
Harbrow was under siege down back at times, but was able to provide valuable run and carry for the Suns. He finished with 23 disposals and travelled at 91% efficiency for the game. Harbrow alternated between Breust, Gunston and Taylor Duryea throughout the game, and I am sure that if Stewie Dew could have another couple like him, he’d jump at the chance.
Jaeger O’Meara’s defensive work
I thought O’Meara was a little quiet early on, but worked into the game well after half time, and he did it not by running and receiving – he did it by putting his nose to the grindstone (which would hurt, right?) and getting in and doing the dirty work.
O’Meara finished with 10 tackles to lead the game, and added 24 touches at 88% efficiency. He also had five clearances to be amongst the Hawks’ best against his old mob.
The return of Peter Wright
If the Suns could take one positive out of the game, it would be that Peter Wright looked like he belonged at the elite level (though his shot at goal early in the third quarter looked like it belonged in the local under 14 team).
He competed well in the air and worked hard up the ground and back. His continued improvement would ease the burden on Tom Lynch, but part of me wonders whether he is in the side as Gold Coast and Stewie Dew start wondering how their forward set up will look beyond 2018?
Kicking for goal
This was just a disaster. Guys like Luke Breust were missing from 20 metres out. Just looking at my notes, some of the misses were terrible. Henderson missed from 30 out, Wright missed from 20 out, and Lynch missed from not much further out. As a spectacle, this was disgusting.
Both sides combined for 31 behinds and only 18 goals. You’d have to pay me a fair amount of coin to get me to sit here and watch a game like that again. Word of warning – if you’re waiting for a review on a game similar to this in the future, chances are I’ve stopped watching, and it ain’t coming.
Shaun Burgoyne's hamstring injury
Second hamstring for Burger this year, and though it didn’t appear serious, this is alarm bells for the Hawks. Any hamstring for a player of his age could mean curtains. I don’t think this’ll be the case for Burger, but it is definitely a larger concern than anyone else on the field injuring themselves.
Burgoyne has been a warrior for the Hawks but this injury is a bit of a sign that he can’t go on forever. He was good early today, and as always, was one of the few players that continued to be clean at ground level.
Hawthorn will miss him while he’s out again. He had two direct goal assists today, and had seven score involvements.
The poor standard of this game
This category could’ve been filled with dozens of individual instances or performances from players, but we’re going to settle on lumping all the rubbish into one.
This game was horrible. Seriously, if you took someone to watch Aussie Rules for the first time, and this was the game you chose, you’d be apologising for months, if not years. We’ve already spoken about the kicking for goal, but the field kicking, the inability to find targets by hand, the fumbles and the overall… wow, I really wanna swear for the first time as part of a review – the overall crapiness of this game had to be seen to be hated.
The only way you’d sit down and watch this game with someone now is it you really hated them and wanted to punish them. The Suns are horrible, but if that is the standard Hawthorn are going to play too as well, they may as well book a holiday for the second week of the finals, because they’ll be gone after one game.
Perhaps it’s Launceston? I can’t recall seeing a good game there. Is it not conducive to good footy there?
Irrespective of the conditions, the ground, the part of the country it is played, what we witnessed today was simply put, a terrible game of footy.
This was not a game of highlights. When I do these reports I can usually find dozens of things to highlight. I am struggling in regard to this game. It was scrappy, it was messy and it was devoid of genuine highlights for the most part.
Does Tim O’Brien’s last quarter wallpaper over the fact that he hardly got near it in the first half. His best piece of play prior to the last quarter was a very nice tackle on Jack Martin in the second quarter.
Great start for Tom Lynch, and he looked to have the number of either Sicily or Frawley (they were alternating on him) whenever he went near it. If I’m being completely honest, I think Sicily was pretty lax on him early and deserved to be punished on the scoreboard. He did not have body contact with Lynch as the Gold Coast forward leapt at the ball in flight, and allowed him a free run at it a couple of times. He recovered well later in the game, but if you’re responsible for a guy like Lynch, you’ve got to be “on”.
Wanna talk about wasting time and allowing packs to form? One boundary umpire took 20 seconds to retrieve the ball and throw it in during the first quarter. Had any player on the field wanted to, they could’ve been at that stoppage. Gotta be quick, whether the players are ready or not. This wasn’t the ump’s fault, I should point out. The ball went over the fence and it just took forever to come back.
The Hawthorn defensive pressure inside 50 was horrible in the first. Gold Coast just walked the ball out with no one chasing, or even applying any kind of pressure on several occasions.
I thought Alex Sexton was good in the first. Then he went completely missing for the next two quarters. If anyone knows who was marking him after quarter time, I’d love to know. Whoever it was did a great defensive role.
Three goals is a pretty good return for a bloke hobbling round on one leg, huh? Not a bad effort from Jack Gunston despite obviously struggling all day with a calf issue. A mate of mine struggled with a calf issue once - the calf's mother didn't like his advances, hey Joe Ganino? Yeah... weirdo.
Great delivery for Burgoyne to Gunston on the quarter time siren. It gave the Hawks a sniff they probably didn’t deserve after one.
Roughead is no longer a pack mark option, is he? It must be why Hawthorn are persisting with O’Brien. Liam Shiels put one to the top of the square early in the second – no Hawks contested.
A lot of weapons in the Breust arsenal when he gets it at ground level. His ability to grab it cleanly and change direction is elite.
Pretty tough call against David Swallow against Burgoyne in the second quarter. It was there, but was incidental and resulted in a goal. Even tougher was Isaac Smith calling him Andrew Swallow pre-game.
Very lazy kick across half back from Sicily probably should’ve cost Hawthorn, but the troops arrived and they managed to clear.
Great mark to Duryea right before the half time siren, but that miss… ugh!
Disappointed that Lachie Weller didn’t work as hard as Luke Breust early in the second quarter. It cost a goal. Breust ran hard from the middle back to half forward to take an impressive mark, but he got there to be able to jump at the ball freely simply because he worked harder than Weller. Weller probably should’ve been goal-side of Breust to start.
Ryan Burton joined in the terrible disposal club with two abysmal efforts in 20 seconds. The first completely missed Isaac Smith across half back, but he was able to receive from Smith under pressure and take off. His next kick inside 50 was horrible as well – nowhere near anyone.
Terrible miss by Lynch after taking a good one-grab mark against two defenders. This poor goal kicking was catching, today.
It took some poise from O’Meara to settle things down as he received from Burgoyne and goaled late in the second.
Sexton’s goal, strolling into the goal square after taking the advantage from a free kick against Burton (to Holman) was the first fourth quarter goal for Gold Coast in four weeks. Pretty sure everyone knew that, as the commentators didn’t shut up about it all game.
Isaac Smith finally got off the leash in the last quarter and kicked a trademark running goal from 45. Maybe it was the game, or my negativity, but I expected him to keep with the tradition of the day and completely miss it.
Best kick of the day came from Shiels to Roughead late in the last quarter. Chiselling pass down low that afforded the defender no hope of spoiling at all.
And mercifully, that’s it from The Mongrel and this game. If you like what you’re getting from us more than we liked what we got from this game, give us a Like on Facebook or a Follow on Twitter and we’ll forget this game ever happened. Enjoy the four points, Hawks supporters.