Hawks pull off almighty upset
Hawthorn have pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season on Friday night by blowing out finals-bound Sydney by a stunning 38-point margin at the SCG.
In what was by far their best performance of the year, the Hawks, whose only two wins of the year prior to this game were by a combined total of just four points, hit the ground running from the opening bounce and were rarely challenged by the Swans for the remainder of the game.
Hawthorn defied its standing as the 17th ranked team in the AFL for contested possessions to lead that category by a huge margin of 13 in the first quarter (47-34), before ultimately monstering the Swans 164-139 by the time the final siren sounded.
Their superior pressure, ability to control the ball with more than double Sydney’s marks (25-10) and a convincing lead in disposals (101-78), also helped the Hawks grab a six-point quarter-time advantage.
The game continued to be played on Hawthorn’s terms in the second quarter and they exploited the Swans’ lack of zip with high-energy play to skip out to a 30-point lead after booting five of the first six goals of the period.
And after a largely uneventful third period, the general tone of the match resumed as the Hawks exposed a disorganised, listless Sydney backline to pile on five of the last six goals to ensure the emphatic result.
The shock result denied the Swans the chance to enter the top four this round and puts a serious dent in their hopes for a double chance.
The game came at a cost for both sides with Sydney and Hawthorn losing Will Hayward (concussion) and Harry Morrison (hamstring) respectively in the second quarter due to injury, while the Swans’ Sam Wicks could come under scrutiny from the match review officer for a head-high hit on Will Day in the third quarter.
O’Meara courage seals the deal
The game-winning play came nine minutes into the final quarter when Jaeger O’Meara took a courageous, contested mark against Tom McCartin on the half-forward flank. McCartin came off second best and was left lying on the ground for many seconds, which allowed O’Meara to capitalise and spring back to his feet. The former Sun sent a long kick forward which cleared the pack and the crumbs were collected by Liam Shiels who sprinted to the goal square to put Hawthorn up by 28 points.
Instant record for newcomer Newcombe
Jai Newcombe wasn’t on an AFL list nine days ago, but after being picked up in the mid-season draft by the Hawks, he made a swift transition to senior footy this week and he didn’t disappoint on debut, laying a whopping 14 tackles – an VFL/AFL record for a first-gamer. He also registered 12 touches (seven contested) and four clearances).
Frost ices Franklin, Mitchell has a big one
Apart from one brain fade in the third quarter, which saw him give away a silly 50m penalty to Wicks to turn a 50-50 chance at goal into a certainty from the goal square, Sam Frost played one of the best games of his career, limiting Lance Franklin to just nine disposals and one goal. Tom Mitchell was also key to the Hawks’ win with 34 touches (16 contested), seven tackles and a goal.
Jumpin’ Jiath inspires Hawks
Changkuoth Jiath got his game off to a great start when he pinged the one and only Lance Franklin for holding the ball on centre wing early in the first quarter – a moment he will be able to tell his grandkids about. And it was a moment which set the tone for the exciting Hawthorn defender as he played one of the best games of his burgeoning career, giving his side plenty of dash from defence with 28 touches (nine contested) and 10 intercepts.
Phillips kicks goal of the night
Tom Phillips kicked one of the goals of the night at the 18-minute mark of the second quarter when he gathered the spillage and quickly curled it around from a very tight angle next to the behind post to give the Hawks an 18-point lead. It was a just result, too, because moments earlier Dane Rampe was inexplicably not penalised for holding the ball despite seemingly being stripped of the ball by a perfect Dylan Moore tackle. Six minutes later, Luke Breust kicked an equally impressive goal from a similarly sharp angle 45m out.
SWANS 3.2 5.3 6.4 7.9 (51)
HAWKS 4.2 9.3 10.4 14.5 (89)
LERNER’S BEST Swans: Mills, Lloyd, Parker, Rampe, Amartey. Hawks: Mitchell, Jiath, Frost, Ceglar, Hardwick, Newcombe, O’Meara.
GOALS Swans: Amartey 2, Hayward, Franklin, Heeney, Florent, Wicks. Hawks: Koschitzke 2, Moore 2, Phillips 2, Breust 2, Ceglar, Morrison, Mitchell, Wingard, McEvoy, Shiels.
INJURIES Swans: Hayward (concussion). Hawks: Morrison (hamstring).
LATE CHANGE Ned Reeves (ankle) was replaced in Hawthorn’s selected side by Jonathon Ceglar.
UMPIRES Stephens, Chamberlain, Fleer
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
3 T.Mitchell (Haw)
2 C.Jiath (Haw)
1 S.Frost (Haw)
Originally published as Hawks pull off almighty upset