2019 in a Nutshell
In 2019 there was a Brownlow sized hole in the midfield. Paul Puopolo, Jack Gunston and Luke Bruest could no longer cover the crack in the Hawthorn forward line. And the defence, which when the Hawks had at their best had always felt a little like a child seat in a Ferrari (functional, but maybe not quite fitting) suddenly had to step up.
In the season preview we though the Hawks would be watching the final from the outside and ninth feels like a fitting position to end. They won games they should have lost, lost many they should have won, and ended up smack bang where everyone thought they would. It was depressingly predictable.
Winning six of the last eight would put many in the mindset that 2020 is trending up. Many of false dawn has been predicted from late season victories against sides looking over their opposition’s shoulder deep into September.
2020 Playing List
|1 Harry Morrison||17 Daniel Howe||33 Mathew Walker|
|2 Mitchell Lewis||18 Jonathon Ceglar||34 Jacob Koschitzke|
|3 Tom Mitchell (VC)||19 Jack Gunston||35 Josh Morris|
|4 Jarman Impey||20 Chad Wingard||36 Dylan Moore|
|5 James Worpel||21 Tom Scully||37 Jackson Ross|
|6 James Sicily||22 Luke Breust||38 Darren Minchington|
|7 Ben McEvoy||23 Tim O’Brien||39 Emerson Jeka|
|8 Sam Frost||24 Ben Stratton (C)||40 Harrison Jones|
|9 Shaun Burgoyne||25 Jonathon Patton||41 Oliver Hanrahan|
|10 Jaeger O’Meara (VC)||26 Liam Shiels||42 Harry Pepper (B)|
|11 Conor Nash||27 Michael Hartley||44 Damon Greaves|
|12 James Frawley||28 Paul Puopolo||45 Will Golds|
|13 Conor Glass||29 Changkuoth Jiath||46 James Cousins|
|14 Jack Scrimshaw||30 Will Day||47 Ned Reeves|
|15 Blake Hardwick||31 Ricky Henderson||Keegan Brooksby|
|16 Isaac Smith||32 Finn Maginness|
|INS:||Michael Hartley (Essendon), Harry Pepper (Gippsland Power), Keegan Brooksby (West Coast), Will Day (West Adelaide), Finn Maginness (Sandringham Dragons), Josh Morris (Woodville-West Torrens), Emerson Jeka (Western Jets).|
|OUTS:||Grant Birchall, Will Langford, Jarryd Roughead, Kaiden Brand, Teia Miles, David Mirra, Tim Mohr, Ryan Schoenmakers.|
Three games at the MCG in the first four rounds offers the opportunity of a strong start for the Hawks in 2020. Just two games against top eight teams from 2019 is a pretty handy leg up for a team that only missed the finals themselves by one game.
Five Fearless Predictions
Patton will be worth his price tag.
Given he cost the Hawks a fourth round draft pick on face value this isn’t really that big a call but what we mean to say is that this is his new ceiling and he wont reach the heights predicted when drafted number one in 2011. Before he’d even made his AFL debut he spent considerable time on the sideline due to knee injuries, nine years and two knee reconstructions later he is reporting for duty at Hawthorn. Don’t get us wrong he will play some good footy in brown and gold but sadly, his best is already behind him.
Third times the charm for Minchington
Delisted by St Kilda at the end of 2018 and unable to earn a place in Hawthorn’s best 22 in 2019, Darren Minchington’s AFL career appeared over when he wasn’t offered a contract for the 2020 season. Yet a season ending injury to Will Golds has gifted the talented 26-year-old a third chance at the big time. A committed and talented player with a nose for goal we are predicting that he will make the most of his unlikely reprieve and will earn another contract for 2021 and beyond.
Hawk mids to prosper with Mitchell back.
While Hawks fans will be happy to see Tom Mitchell back in brown and gold this year, they won’t be anywhere near as glad as his midfield teammates. The ball winning exploits of the 2018 Browlow Medallist is sure to offer some much welcomed freedom to his colleagues around the ball. Expect the likes of Jaeger O’Meara, James Worpel and Chad Wingard to prosper the most with opposition attention diverted towards thwarting Mitchell.
Frost to Fire
194cm Key Defenders don’t grow on trees, which makes the Hawks acquisition of Sam Frost a happy bonus in last years trade period. The 26-year-old played every game for the Demons in 2019 but did not appear to be part of the club’s long term plans giving the Hawks the chance to swoop. Despite being picked up for the equivalent of a mars bar and a can of coke, Frost looks set to benefit greatly from the structures on offer under Alastair Clarkson. Look for him to be a valuable contributor in 2020.
End of the Road for Premiership Heroes.
Hawks supporters have had to say goodbye to a number of exemplary servants in recent years and 2020 will be no different. Despite defying father time to continue displaying his silky skills, it is likely that this season will be our last opportunity to celebrate Shaun Burgoyne. This might also be the case for a few others entering their twilight years. The likes of Isaac Smith, Paul Puopolo, Ricky Henderson and James Frawley will need big seasons if they are to extend their careers beyond 2020.
Where will they finish?
Undeterred by the Hawks making us look silly in the past suggesting this, we are once again predicting the end of the Hawks golden age. While Tom Mitchell will be a welcome addition, this squad looks a far cry from the teams that dominated the competition last decade. Hawthorn will finish between 10th and 15th.