The Roar
The Roar

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Stop the fight! The Hawthorn express has hit full steam

Expert
19th July, 2015
128
2684 Reads

What we all witnessed on Saturday night at ANZ Stadium simply rubber-stamped what we saw in Tasmania the week before.

While some wanted to put it down to an aberration as the Hawks blasted the Dockers, surely it would now be a bit too coincidental to consider back-to-back aberrations against two of the AFL’s premiership heavyweights.

The fact is that Hawthorn is currently head and shoulders – and perhaps even chest and stomach – above all other teams in the competition.

A few weeks ago the Dockers and Swans were really being spoken about as potential grand finalists – against one another.

But the freight train that the Hawks have become is stopping for nobody. Right now, the Dockers and Swans may still be grand final candidates, but they would only be in the supporting cast on grand final day.

At times on Saturday it was like watching men against boys. It reminded me of watching the GWS Giants in their infancy playing against the good teams.

The Hawks were often toying with the Swans just as teams would do against the young Giants, but Hawthorn on Saturday made some very good players look well below par.

That the Hawks are now even money to win the flag this far out from finals, shows their dominance.

Some may now say the only potential obstacle is the West Coast Eagles. The two teams will meet in Perth in Round 19, but on what I’ve seen in the past two weeks, it could possibly be another one-sided contest.

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I know grand finals aren’t played in July, and that injuries would be a huge leveller. I know that some teams have gone off come September, and that other sides have dominated during the regular season but lost form in the finals.

However, if they stay fit and healthy, it would take a massive improvement from any of their main rivals to be able to match it with the Hawks on the first Saturday in October.

But where does this leave the Swans apart from being seriously concussed?

Nobody wearing red and white at ANZ Stadium could believe what they were seeing.

These demolitions didn’t happen this century. These sized losses were back when the Swans were the laughing stock of the city – and the AFL.

23.8 (146) to 7.15 (57). That’s 89 points. Forget about it being the worst loss in John Longmire’s coaching career, it’s the worst loss this century for the club.

Looking back, the Swans’ worst losses throughout the 2000s have been: 2014 – 63 points to Hawthorn in the grand final, 2013 – 54 points to Hawthorn in the qualifying final, 2012 – 34 points to Geelong, 2011 – 46 points to Hawthorn yet again, 2010 – 73 points to Melbourne, and 2009 – 61 points to Carlton.

Back in 2008 the worst loss was 45 against Collingwood, 2007 – 38 points again to Collingwood, 2006 – 39 to Adelaide, in their 2005 premiership season, their worst loss was 39 points to fellow grand finalists West Coast.

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In 2004 – 72 points to Port Adelaide, 2003 – 44-point loss to Brisbane, 2002 – 69 to the Western Bulldogs, 2001 – 55 points in the opening week of the finals, again to Hawthorn, and in 2000 it was a 58-point loss to the Dogs again.

In 1999 the Hawks belted them by 85, and finally in 1998 we find a worse loss than Saturday’s, when in Round 10 they were beaten 24.10 (154) to 8.5 (53) by the Saints at the SCG.

But let’s not stop there. It was the biggest score kicked against them since Round 9, 2002 when the Bulldogs kicked 24.15 159.

The Swans have not been accustomed to conceding so many points. In fact Saturday night was the first time this season they have conceded 100 points or more.

In the previous five seasons they have been miserly too, although there is a bit of a constant.

In 2010 it happened five times: Melbourne 142, Geelong 126 and 125, Fremantle 100, and the Bulldogs 101.

In 2011, four times: Hawthorn (106 and 122 in a semi-final), Carlton 100, and Essendon 100.

In 2012 three times: St Kilda 111, Geelong 112 and Hawthorn 102.

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In 2013 it took place five times: Geelong 124, Collingwood 100, and against Hawthorn three times (119, 112 and 105 in the finals).

Last year, just twice and guess who both times? Hawthorn 104 in Round 18 and 137 in the grand final.

And, in all 20 of those games where their opposition has kicked 100+, the Swans have lost.

As for their clashes with the Hawks, well Hawthorn have kicked over 100 against the Swans in nine of the past 13 matches, and won all nine. The Swans have won the other four.

Already there are screams that the Swans defence is now too old, and too slow, with mainstays Heath Grundy and Ted Richards 29 and 32 respectively.

Sorry but I can’t buy it. Prior to that thumping on Saturday this year’s Swans were the best defensively for almost 90 years, surrendering just 67.6 points per game.

Even with the thrashing, they now still only average 72.9 points against per game.

Even though this club used to regularly squeeze the life out of other teams, there has only been one time since they arrived in Sydney when they were better defensively – and that was last season when they conceded 70.4 points per game.

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Did they have an off night? Possibly, but the Hawks are just being bullies now and not allowing team to play to their potential.

I still believe the Swans are among the best teams in the competition, but sadly for their fans, and fans of other teams, it’s evident they are all playing for second at the moment.