Well this is turning into quite the mid season slump isn’t it? This was actually quite similar to the North Melbourne game. The boys were consistent across four quarters but once again they were four pretty shit quarters. I thought after we got out to an eighteen point lead in the last quarter that we’d done enough but there was still plenty of football to go and the Hawks reeled it in a the blink of an eye and then went past and managed to hold on. So the patch we were eyeing greedily before the bye, Fremantle, Melbourne, North and Hawthorn – four certain wins – ended up one and three. Now we head over to Perth to play the Eagles who are on a roll and whose injury list is shorter than a six legged greyhound named Mach 5.
We’ve had a few upsets over the Eagles over the years but this is going to take something special – has anyone got Andrew Tranquilli’s number?
After that we head over to Sydney to play GWS and then Richmond. The only respite we’ve got is Gold Coast and they’re looking pretty scary after getting within under a hundred points of the Tigers so even that’s no certainty. The injury list seems to be getting longer so there’s no silver lining there either. This is where I miss Neil Balme as Football Operations Manager. He’d do the Blackmore’s injury report and even if bubonic plague had gone through the Westpac Centre and he’d be all cheery and like “yeah, they’ll all have a test but they should be OK. There’s not a lot to come back. I fear they will rush in Taylor Adams early. Greenwood will help, Goldsack would be nice too but he hasn’t played all year. On the up side, Isaac Quaynor was good first up but he’s going to have his work cut out.
The elephant in the room is the big yank. If you remember there was similar talk about whether we’d take him into finals last year and his finals performance was solid highlighted by the Preliminary Final against Richmond. I think we look better with him in the side, he can mark and gives Grundy a rest. It’s also hard to pin the forward line woes on him when there are only 35 inside 50s for the game and many of those were shallow entries. The other issue Cox has is the ball being put on his head. Watch the Richmond game last year. He wasn’t standing tall taking grabs in stationary packs, he was leading toward the ball. Sicily showed he can be moved under a ball delivered poorly and that’s just because he doesn’t have the grounding in football. It’s not a basketball or soccer thing.
To me the real elephant in the room is the under performing midfield. Beams hasn’t been well. Whilst I feel for him and his mental health issues, he’s not Robinson Crusoe – mind are getting worse by the week. The mids are getting leather poisoning but the disposal is inconsistent and rushed. There’s no penetration, just death by a thousand cuts and there’s not even any death. It’s like having a midfield made up entirely of Matt Priddis. Something I thought I’d never say about Pendles and Sidey (I’m looking at you Adam Treloar).
Something’s got to give and it doesn’t look like happening this week. The chances are we will keep handing the ball back to McGovern, Barrass and Hurn as if Stevo had boxed a trifecta for the most intercept marks. I’m optimistic though. We can copy Port Adelaide’s game plan and just shank the ball along the ground or to shit places inside 50 and we won’t even have to refine that game plan, we are doing it already.
Verdict: Pies by one point. Because the only thing better than beating the Eagles by 100 points is beating them by 1.
AFL ROUND 16
HAWTHORN 1.5 3.8 4.9 9.13 (67)
COLLINGWOOD 4.0 5.4 6.7 9.9 (63)
Hawthorn: Breust 2, Hanrahan 2, Lewis 2, Hardwick, Worpel, McEvoy
Collingwood: De Goey 2, Hoskin-Elliott 2, Mihocek, Treloar, Cox, Daicos, Sier
Hawthorn: Sicily, Smith, Impey, Lewis, Hardwick, Worpel
Collingwood: Crisp, Treloar, Sidebottom, De Goey, Moore, Phillips
Umpires: Meredith, Findlay, Fleer
Official crowd: 66,407 at the MCG