Did we all get carried away about Round One?
There are two games every year that the result seems to count more than any other. One is the Grand Final which is the most important of any season, the other is a team’s first game of the season which is decidedly less important. Despite this, each and every year we all fall victim to the trap that is the Round One hyperbole. With a 12 week wait for Round Two, it was even more pronounced this year.
While it is undisputed fact that Hawthorn Coach Alastair Clarkson is bonafide coaching genius, did we all get a tad overexcited by his team’s Round One victory over the Lions? As impressive as they were, did they a truly deserve to be on the fourth line of premiership betting when the ball was bounced to start Round Two?
Conversely we understand that one bad half of footy is not reason alone to put a line through their chances. However, when their season was alive last year they produced a 5 & 9 record. A remarkable run of six wins from their last eight helped them to a respectable 11 & 11. However, much like Rounds 1 & 2 this year, which form line is the true reflection?
Regardless, they have work to do to truly deserve the level of praise they received after beating the Lions. Lucky (?) for them, the next three weeks gives them the perfect opportunity to earn it. After matches against Richmond, GWS and North, we should have clearer picture of where they truly sit.
After tight first Half, Hawthorn leave Geelong early to beat the rush
Despite fears that Hawthorn might not know where they were headed on Friday night, they made their way to GMHBA Stadium for their clash with the Cats. This rivalry has produced some of the most memorable games of modern times and looked set to do so once again with the teams separated by just one goal at the long break.
While Hawks fans lamented a lopsided free-kick count, an insipid third quarter that was at the heart of the defeat. Comprehensively belted in the battle of the ball, the Hawks appeared unprepared to match it with the Cats. Second to the ball, they lost the contested possession count by 29 in the term and watched the home team blow the game open with six goals to one.
It wasn’t much better in the final term, with Hawthorn failing to score as Geelong added a further four goals. The Cats finally running out 61-point winners with Joel Selwood, Rhys Stanley and Brandon Parfitt playing starring roles. Patrick Dangerfield in his 250th game was also among the best as was the seemingly ageless Gary Ablett. For the Hawks Tom Mitchell, Jack Gunston and Shaun Burgoyne did their best in a beaten cause. Burgoyne likely to have a nervous weekend with MRO certain to scrutinise his tackle on Dangerfield.
What the Coaches said.
Alastair Clarkson was understandably scathing of his players in his post-match, labelling his midfield ‘fourth-rate’. Their lack of effort of more concern to him than the dimensions of the ground. “We ran out of space and because we ran out of space, we ended up not running anywhere near to the intensity or the effort of the Geelong side,” he told the press.
In contrast, Chris Scott was full of praise for his team in heading his half time message to outrun their opposition. “In terms of the key messages, we thought if we were to get an advantage, it would be with a big spread through there,” he explained. “Those guys to a man, they were pretty even our midfield group, but they got control in the third quarter,” he effused.
It’s another blockbuster for the Hawks next week as they look to bounce back against the Tigers at the MCG on Thursday night. The Cats get to put their feet up until Saturday when they host Carlton at their GMHBA fortress.
GEELONG 5.2 7.5 13.6 17.6 (108)
HAWTHORN 4.1 6.4 7.5 7.5 (47)
Geelong: Miers 3, Ablett 2, Dahlhaus 2, Stanley 2, Atkins 2, Menegola 2, Selwood, Dangerfield, Duncan, Rohan
Hawthorn: Gunston 2, Hanrahan, Burgyone, Breust, Patton, O’Brien
Geelong: Selwood, Parfitt, Stanley, Ablett, Stewart, Dangerfield
Hawthorn: Mitchell, Gunston, Smith, Frost