Are Hawthorn pretenders or premiership contenders?

Nadia Roar Rookie

By Nadia, Nadia is a Roar Rookie New author!

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    Sitting fourth on the ladder and boasting a percentage of 121.4 per cent, the question must now be asked: Can the Hawks surprise with another spectacular finals campaign only three years since their premiership three-peat?

    Few predicted at the beginning of the seasonthat the Hawks could challenge for a spot in this year’s finals. However, with only two rounds remaining in the home-and-away season Hawthorn have become a genuine top-four threat.

    Saturday’s blockbuster saw Hawthorn hold off a spirited Geelong comeback. The nailbiting contest between the two rivals ended with the Hawks taking home another four points.

    In his post-match press conference coach Alastair Clarkson commented that the game had a “finals-type atmosphere”.

    He went on to say, “that was a dress rehearsal for what might come. When that comes we’re not really sure because we’re still building as a club.”

    So are the Hawks really a chance to challenge for the flag?

    Jarryd Roughead Hawthorn Hawks AFL 2017

    (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

    Firstly, this will depend on whether they can maintain their top-eight form and ideally their position in the top four. With Collingwood and Sydney breathing down their necks, the Hawks must beat both St Kilda and Sydney, the latter of which is fighting tooth-and-nail for a spot in finals themselves.

    Earlier this season Hawthorn embarrassed the underperforming Saints, winning 89 to 54. The Swans, however, are a different kettle of fish. The two teams have developed a fierce rivalry in recent years, with Sydney defeating the Hawks by eight points in their most recent Beyond Blue encounter.

    Making finals in the 2018 season remains as difficult a task for Hawthorn as it does for all the teams currently stuck in the ladder logjam. However, assuming that Clarkson can outcoach his colleagues in the remaining rounds, there is no doubt that the Hawks can make a real dint in September.

    Hawthorn have already demonstrated their ability against some of this season’s biggest contenders. What seemed like a regulation win against the Pies in the season opener can be seen in hindsight as a genuine humbling of Nathan Buckley’s best 22.

    In Round 4 Hawthorn put Melbourne to the sword with a 67-point thumping, and more recently they were able to expose the cracks in Port Adelaide’s brand of footy.

    Of course the ultimate success for any team this September will involve taking on the competition’s most in-form team, Richmond. If Hawthorn are able to maintain their current position, it will all but certainly set up a mouthwatering first-round finals clash against the Tigers at the MCG.

    One of Richmond’s biggest strengths is their ability to win games at the MCG. This home-ground advantage is what puts them ahead of both GWS and West Coast in grand final discussions.

    The Hawks are no strangers to the home of footy and have won seven of their nine games at the ‘G this season. Richmond’s 13-point win over Hawthorn in Round 3 has been Richmond’s second-smallest margin in their 19 consecutive victories at the ground.

    While the football world remains determined that the flag is Richmond’s for the taking, it would be foolish to dismiss the experience and class of Alastair Clarkson and his men.

    Only time will tell what more this club can achieve, but with 14 premiership players still on their list and several strong recruits, including this year’s Brownlow favourite, Hawthorn may just be a chance to pinch the flag from under everyone’s noses.

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    The Crowd Says (55)

    • Roar Pro

      August 13th 2018 @ 6:31am
      The Doc said | August 13th 2018 @ 6:31am | ! Report

      Nice read. I think r real threat for the flag. The apply strong pressure, have good defensive systems, are clean by hand and foot and can work their way through a zone with short kicks. Throws in finals experience and mcg not being a factor and hawks need to be in the premiership conversation

    • August 13th 2018 @ 7:00am
      Chris said | August 13th 2018 @ 7:00am | ! Report

      Nadia Gheybi “What seemed like a regulation win against the Pies in the season opener can be seen in hindsight as a genuine humbling of Nathan Buckley’s best 22.” That is nothing short of nonsense coming from someone who knows very little about the game. First and foremost, Bucjkley´s charges lost their first two games and everyone was talking about when he would get the chop. Secondly, the personnel/line-up has changed remarkably since the first two rounds. I doubt whether you paid much attention to these”minute details” when you made that comment. If Collingwood or Hawthorn can slash the Eagles’ wings by winning at the Optus Stadium in the Qualifying Final then it’s game on! The winner would avoid Richmond till the Grand Final and then it would be a case of who does the business on the day! But, just between you and me, I am quite sure the Tigers will get knocked out before the Grand Final. I think the Preliminary Final will be their Swan Song.

      • August 13th 2018 @ 7:55am
        AR said | August 13th 2018 @ 7:55am | ! Report

        Attacks the author personally for a loose comment, and then follows up with “ am quite sure the Tigers will get knocked out before the Grand Final“…with no explanation as to why.

        Anyway, I’m not sure HFC can win it, but they are surely the last team everyone wants to play in finals.

        • Roar Guru

          August 13th 2018 @ 9:30am
          Mango Jack said | August 13th 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

          Agree with that AR.

          • August 13th 2018 @ 11:42am
            Dan, Concord said | August 13th 2018 @ 11:42am | ! Report

            Chris to say her comment is nonsense is ridiculous. 1st off the team that the Pies put out there was probably close to their best 22. Also at the time of the game pundits were divided as to who would win. For whatever reason Buckley didn’t have the Pies purring like he did later in the season. It was a fairly comfortable win in the end for the Hawks.
            Nadia good read. Injury front will play a huge factor in a season that is incredibly even

        • August 13th 2018 @ 12:34pm
          Slane said | August 13th 2018 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

          I’m a Tigers supporter and I’m hoping the Hawks finish 4th. Would love to see Hardwick vs Clarkson in the finals. With all those wins Richmond managed to snag over the Hawks during the Hawthorn era of dominance I was always wondering if we couldn’t go ‘all the way’ if we’d just managed to square up against the Hawks in a final.

      • August 13th 2018 @ 9:13am
        Jacques of lilydale said | August 13th 2018 @ 9:13am | ! Report

        After watching Hawthorn put Geelong to the sword for 2 quarters, should have been 3 quarters as they wasted their numerous opportunities in the first. I think they would love to be playing Collingwood or Melbourne or Geelong for that matter in the first week of the finals. Playing the tiges may be an even money bet, there’s no doubt if they bring their A game to any final they will be a serious threat.

        • Roar Guru

          August 13th 2018 @ 11:18am
          Dalgety Carrington said | August 13th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

          Jeez, if that was the net result putting them to the sword for 2 or 3 quarters, then I’d be a bit worried as Geelong reeled the Hawks in quite dramatically in half a quarter.

        • Roar Guru

          August 13th 2018 @ 5:06pm
          Peter the Scribe said | August 13th 2018 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

          Hawks don’t have Cyril any more. it was Cyril who used to kill the Pies. I’d be really confident of the Pies playing the Hawks in the finals as think we would do you for pace. For the Pies I would be worried about playing either WCE away or the Cats at the G, every other side I would like our chances with a reasonable team to choose from. (no more new injuries and the possibility of Treloar and Goldsack to come back)

      • Roar Guru

        August 13th 2018 @ 11:02am
        Peter the Scribe said | August 13th 2018 @ 11:02am | ! Report

        Agree, round one results are really not even worth noting by round 22. Both sides completely different.

    • Roar Rookie

      August 13th 2018 @ 7:55am
      Paul Dao said | August 13th 2018 @ 7:55am | ! Report

      Good article Nadia, hopefully with Roughead, McEvoy, Sicily and Birchall back it will help the team challenge. They will be massive ins

    • Roar Guru

      August 13th 2018 @ 8:09am
      Peter the Scribe said | August 13th 2018 @ 8:09am | ! Report

      Should be genuine but how can a side who has lost twice to Brisbane in a season win the flag?

      • August 13th 2018 @ 10:12am
        Hawker said | August 13th 2018 @ 10:12am | ! Report

        So ? Richmond were flogged by a terrible St Kilda last year and won the flag in a canter,.

        • Roar Guru

          August 13th 2018 @ 11:04am
          Peter the Scribe said | August 13th 2018 @ 11:04am | ! Report

          Once I can excuse Hawker, twice?

          • Roar Guru

            August 13th 2018 @ 5:00pm
            Peppsy said | August 13th 2018 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

            Brisbane are an under performing mid table team, who’re coached by Clarkson’s right hand man, and have Hawthorn’s general tutoring their backline. A better Hawk killer could hardly be imagined.

            • Roar Guru

              August 13th 2018 @ 5:07pm
              DingoGray said | August 13th 2018 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

              “under performing mid table team’- for me is a Essendon, Adelaide …..Not Brisbane…..

              I do however agree with the hawk killer line. The Lions had some serious hawk intell

            • Roar Guru

              August 13th 2018 @ 5:08pm
              Peter the Scribe said | August 13th 2018 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

              That same “underperforming” team who smashed Hawthorn by 56 points got belted two weeks later by North by 9 goals.

              • August 13th 2018 @ 8:00pm
                Birdman said | August 13th 2018 @ 8:00pm | ! Report

                if only it was that simple PTS.

                a few sides have beaten the Tiges this year away from the ‘G but that doesn’t make them flag favs.

      • August 13th 2018 @ 11:48am
        Alchemist said | August 13th 2018 @ 11:48am | ! Report

        And in 2010 the all conquering magpies had a draw and a 1pt win against Melbourne at their absolute worst. Eagles lost to fitzroy a lot in the early 90s. Carlton lost to st kilda and Sydney in 95, both were cellar dwellers. Happens all the time champ.

        • Roar Guru

          August 13th 2018 @ 12:15pm
          Peter the Scribe said | August 13th 2018 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

          A fair reference with the Demons in 2010 Alchemist though one point and a draw are quite different to the Hawthorn losses of 33 and 56 points respectively to a bottom side.

          • August 13th 2018 @ 1:30pm
            RobE said | August 13th 2018 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

            Lucky then that they don’t play Brisbane in the finals. Sitting 4th in spite of that, thinking you are forgetting the Fagan/ Hodge factor.

    • August 13th 2018 @ 10:11am
      Hawker said | August 13th 2018 @ 10:11am | ! Report

      I thought we were a borderline finals chance coming into the season but who knows we might sneak a top 4 spot and anything can happen from there.

    • August 13th 2018 @ 11:09am
      Brian said | August 13th 2018 @ 11:09am | ! Report

      Making the 8 been a great effort given the flags and lack of opportunities to draft high. Indeed with Roughie and Birchall injured and Rioli retired Saturday was probably Hawthorn first game in 10 years without a member of the 2008 premiership side.

      Hopefully Sicily, McEvoy, Roughead and Birchall all come back before September. Competition is so tight on a given day anyone can win if they have their best 22.

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