Hawthorn got how many second half frees?
Hawthorn became the first team since 2015 to complete a half of football without earning a free kick. While their opponents were ‘perfect’, the Hawks gave away 14 in the same time. We understand that free kicks are meant only to punish breaches of the rule and therefore aren’t required to be even, but zero free kicks in a half? Really?
How the Game was Won
The Hawks jumped out of the blocks early and kicked the first three goals of the match. While the Power would chase them down before half time, rather than fall away, they would redouble their efforts and remain in the contest until its final minutes.
While they were no doubt aided by the Power’s wastefulness in front of goal, their own efficiency inside 50 was just as important. Much better able to find targets up forward, they took seven i50 marks to four, their entries resulted in a goal nearly 25% of the time. This was a marked improvement on the season average for the club (20%) and the competition (21%).
In the end, with the sum of these parts being a match in the balance with two minutes to play, it took a moment of brilliance to settle this contest. Despite being outpointed by Ben McEvoy in the ruck contest, Scott Lycett won the most remarkable of hitouts to advantage in the forward pocket that delivered Zak Butters an unfettered path to goal.
What the Coaches Said
Ken Hinkley admitted that the Power’s inaccuracy in front of goal was emblematic of a difficult week. “We’ve had a challenging week and we continued that challenge with 9.14,” Hinkley said of his side’s inaccuracy after the match. We gave ourselves an opportunity to potentially lose the game but again… we’re not playing our best footy, that’s clear and obvious to everyone but we’re finding a way to get through.”
“If you’re asking me if we’re playing our best footy at the moment, we’re not playing our best footy at the moment. Some parts of our game are not where they need to be. I thought some of our hunt and pressure was a little bit off and to Hawthorn’s credit they were coming after us a little bit.”
“We needed to make sure we were doing the challenging. That’s our DNA, that’s the way we play. We’re nothing if we don’t pressure and that’s what I want our team to be. I want our team to pressure, then we turn the ball over to be able to play exciting footy.”
Alastair Clarkson admitted disappointment at the result but was proud of his teams effort. “I’m sure Kenny (Hinkley) and the Port crew would breathe a sigh of relief that they got out of a game that threatened to be a risky one for them,” he said. “We’re disappointed we couldn’t play four quarters and Port to their credit, they’re a good side and when the game was on the line in the last quarter they were far too good for us, got their hands on the ball and kept it in their front half.”
“I can’t remember the last time a Hawthorn side had six changes and they’re pretty important players to our structure — Smith who was already out, Frawley, Gunston, O’Meara, Sicily … Port have some out too,” he said. “But all in one whack, I thought the guys who came in acquitted themselves really well. “For our fans back home they would have seen Cousins and Howe play their first games for the year, Hartley played his first game for the year, and Frosty was terrific on Dixon tonight usually that role would go to Frawley. McEvoy in the ruck was really competitive and gave our guys a chance, Mitchell tackled really strongly and shared the ball with his teammates, so there is lots to be positive about.
“But we’re in the game to win and we’re disappointed we didn’t get there, but there’s enough to suggest a win will be just around the corner if we continue with that sort of endeavour.”
PORT ADELAIDE 2.3 6.5 7.10 9.14 (68)
HAWTHORN 4.1 5.2 8.4 9.4 (58)
Port Adelaide: Dixon 2, Butters 2, Ebert, Gray, Amon, Woodcock, Georgiades
Hawthorn: Wingard 2, Burgoyne 2, O’Brien, McEvoy, Breust, Hanrahan, Impey
Port Adelaide: Boak, Rockliff, Lycett, Powell-Pepper, Gray, Clurey
Hawthorn: Mitchell, Worpel, Frost, Cousins, Scrimshaw, Breust
Port Adelaide: Nil