2018 In a Nutshell
15 wins 9 losses (4th)
The return to the top 4 of the Hawks in 2018 was a surprise to many. After tailing off in 2017, 2018 was expected to another year of building. Instead, Hawthorn found themselves back where they were accustomed to being. Even though the year finished in a disappointing manner with a straight sets exit, things were looking up. Right?
2019 Playing List
1. Harry Morrison, 2. Jarryd Roughead, 3. Tom Mitchell, 4. Jarman Impey, 5. James Worpel, 6. James Sicily, 7. Ben McEvoy, 8. Mitchell Lewis, 9. Shaun Burgoyne, 10. Jaeger O’Meara, 11. Connor Nash, 12. James Frawley, 13. Connor Glass, 14. Grant Birchall, 15. Blake Hardwick, 16. Isaac Smith, 17. Daniel Howe, 18. Jonathon Ceglar, 19. Jack Gunston, 20. Chad Wingard, 21. Tom Scully, 22. Luke Breust, 23. Tim O’Brien, 24. Ben Stratton, 25. Ryan Schoenmakers, 26. Liam Shiels, 27. Mark Pittonet, 28. Paul Puopolo, 29, Changkouth Jiath (Rookie), 30. Kaiden Brand, 31. Ricky Henderson, 32. David Mirra, 33. Mathew Walker, 34. Jacob Koschitzke, 35. Jack Scrimshaw, 36. Dylan Moore, 37. Dylan Ross, 38. Darren Minchington, 39. Tim Mohr (Rookie), 40. Harrison Jones (Rookie), 41. Oliver Hanrahan (Rookie), 42. Teia Miles, 44. Damon Greaves (Rookie), 35. William Golds (Rookie), 46. James Cousins, 47. Ned Reeves (Rookie)
Jack Scrimshaw (Gold Coast), Tom Scully (GWS Giants), Chad Wingard (Port Adelaide), Jacob Koschitzke (Murray Bushrangers), Mathew Walker (GWS Academy)
Ryan Burton, Taylor Duryea, Kurt Heatherley, Kieran Lovell, Jonathan O’Rourke, Brendan Whitecross, Dallas Willsmore, Cyril Rioli, Ty Vickery
Five Fearless Predictions
The Hawks roster has names, but is really *just* solid.
Tom Mitchell went down in the pre-season, and suddenly the oldest roster in the game is looking surprisingly patchy. Now to compete, everyone has to take a step up in responsibility and output for this to work.
I think a better way to describe the Hawks roster is solid. There’s still vestiges of the best team in the history of the AFL. Shaun Burogyne is still a pleasure to watch, the last of the group of players that seemed incapable of making an error. Bruest and Gunston (both All-Australian in 2018) are at the back end of their primes and being asked to provide more and more up front with Jarryd Roughhead and Paul Puopolo’s output reducing – Roughhead has averaged a little over. Frawley looked old in 2018, and suddenly Stratton is the captain instead of the dude with the loveable mop.
There’s young talent starting to establish itself; I’m particularly fond of the work that Blake Hardwick and James Sicily are doing at the back. James Worpel is the second coming according to most Hawks fans. He might need to be for this team to be a genuine contender. Jack Scrimshaw seems as likely to live up to the hype as he is to be out of the league by the end of the year.
There’s too many risky players to juggle.
Keeping this ageing brilliance relevant has been a challenge. Risks have been taken on people that other teams couldn’t keep on the park. Chad Wingard and Tom Scully should just change their middle names to ‘if healthy’. The Hawks have successfully turned Jaeger O’Meara into a quality and more importantly, healthy, player. It’s already being reported that Scully will be fit in the first month of the season. If this troika can play the majority of the season it will be a minor miracle. Then there’s Liam Shiels – I forget what he’s hurt right now but i’m sure it will be something soon.
While Hawks fans will want to use the experience of Jaegar as an example of what is possible with Wingard, Scully and Scrimshaw (less in terms of injury and more in terms of fulfilling promise), it’s one thing to call the flip of a coin correctly once. It’s another to nail it 4 times in a row. And the Hawks need all four to compete.
The midfield isn’t good enough without Mitchell.
Here’s the central part of the case for the Hawks missing the finals. Tom Mitchell is out. It’s not often that the Brownlow winner misses the majority of the next season. Mitchell was of huge importance to pretty much everything Hawthorn did in 2018. He had more than 21 per cent of their clearances in 2018, and O’Meara was next with just under 12. It’s a big output to cover. They’re relying on the ageing brilliance of years passed, and the talent of players that barely played in 2018 to fill the gap. Is that midfield, which is rated by Champion Data as basically average across the park outside Mitchell, going to fill the gap? It seems very hopeful.
This will be the last runaround for Jarryd Roughhead.
Roughhead is a legend. A champion of the game, and a top bloke by all accounts. I don’t want him to go. But his output has been decreasing with every passing year. I hope he goes out on his terms. I also hope Silk doesn’t follow. I just want to watch him play forever. Is that too much to ask? .
So the Hawks won’t play finals in 2019
While I actually think the Hawks are probably capable of finishing anywhere from about sixth to 12th, we’re not here to make friends and say Hawks might be a finals team. Let’s take a stand. Even with an improving youth movement, Mitchell’s injury, and the falling off that is occurring at the older end of the roster is too much to handle. Combine this with a much harder draw than 2018 – they double up against the Eagles, Tigers and Magpies – and suddenly the challenge is feeling very steep.
But then again Alistair Clarkson is a genius so if you’re shocked when they finish fifth this season you’ll be the only one.