Ultimately, this was a preseason game with the main objective to avoid injuries, but here are the observations;
-The Hawks structured by sitting deep in defence with no zone off man in a more traditional 6 on 6 marking set up.
-In transition, they relied on a Pagan Paddock set up into attack with the big forwards leading up high and the smalls flowing through in transition to try to get out the back and in behind on the goal.
-The forward press was prominent with many flooding into the forward 50 to create second-chance goals from the contested stoppages.
-They were consistently killed out of the middle and were shoddy in the around the ground clearance work. Marcus Bontempelli for the Scrays was a class above all in this regard.
-The lack of outside run was once more prominent. They tried to dissect more by hand to bypass the lack of real pace which was divergent from the chipping around and uncontested style of previous glories.
– There was an attempt to maintain a ‘narrow’ field by trying to limit the outside aspect of the game but they often got trapped in the Scrays forward press out of defence and out the back in transition. A real gut runner with pace in Jason Johannisson was prominent with his blitzing two way running in exploiting this aspect.
The individual player summations;
Ben Stratton,- I am being anal but his new hairstyle reminded me of the early 00’s before Clarko when our players were more known for attempting to look good on the ground. I love Stratton but he seems to have brought more into hype in recent times.
Tim O’Brien,- In defence and found out a few times early. He was persisted with during the 2nd half and looked better but taking him away from the leading forward and 2nd ruck role from last year was a curious move. This can be dismissed as maybe tinkering to add strings to players bows as often is the case in scratch games
Shaun Burgoyne– Silk is fine wine who gets better with age. His footy IQ and reading of the play is comparable to any in the modern era
Blake Hardwick– Hardwick was solid in his characteristic small back role.
James Sicily,-He was very clever at times but not as decisive due to not being afforded the free role. It stood out the Scrays playing attacking options on him and going through them. It brought back memories of teams making Gibson accountable and putting work into him. The Scrays didn’t really get fully into Sicily with niggle but this will come in the more serious games.
Ryan Burton-Burton was smart in the contest both in the marking duels and at the fall of the ball on the ground against all forwards.
Isaac Smith– Played more inside, primarily in the square for ball-ups. His coverage of the ground is elite but didn’t really impress.
Liam Shiels-Useful as he always is, but never quite having enough impact that the team needs him to have to reinforce the threat in their midfield.
Ricky Henderson-Non descript
Luke Breust– He was better in the contest and it stood out that his work rate was back. This was sadly lacking in 2017 with him standing out for his many cheapies out the back.
Ryan Schoenmakers– He was great in contests, but not able enough in marking duels where he often had a perfect position but couldn’t seal the deal. It was interesting that he had forays as a second ruck.
Jarman Impey– Great pace but the final product was often lacking but overall a fine first outing
Paul Puopolo– Didn’t offer much and must be in doubt for a place in the team for round 1.
Jarryd Roughead-Played as a high forward zoning back in transition with bursts in mids in the first half. In the second operated deeper forward and looked good in offering a big option.
Jack Gunston-He was so in the James Hird role just drifting free all over.
Ben McEvoy– It was obvious the coaching panel view him as a crucial part of the upcoming season and looked after him in this match.
Tom Mitchell-He was prolific as always.
Jaeger O’Meara– Good early coverage and resting as a lead up forward and looked much freer in his movements to cover the ground. Great promise for a return to prominence in 2018 and beyond
Marc Pittonet– Lumbering, and it is obvious he is a fair way off
Brendan Whitecross- Played in the guts early and after plugged gaps. He was honest as always but adds to the debate over the many fringe players at the club
Daniel Howe. Very solid and stood out for a passage in the second where he showed the plums to switch back into the centre passage when deep in defence and executed perfectly.
Taylor Duryea– Returned to the backline, and like Whitecross was honest but gave little credence to being a certainty in the 22 for Round 1
Oliver Hanrahan-Good goal in the 2nd and involved himself well in the play
David Mirra– A brief foray in the last.
Harry Morrison– Like Mirra, played in the last when the heat was out of the game.