Sports

Hawthorn mid season report

The state of play at Hawthorn.

The state of play at Hawthorn.Credit:The Age

THUMBS UP

Several Hawks have taken their games to the next level. The obvious improver has been youngster James Worpel, Sam Mitchells protégé doing more than just earning his stripes in the absence of Tom Mitchell. But add to the list more experienced players who have also improved, including James Sicily and former Crow Ricky Henderson, who may go down as one of the best value recruits ever. Henderson, a former delisted free agent, is number one for disposals at the club so far this season, averaging 27 per game while Jaeger OMeara is leading the way for clearances. Since coming into the system, Luke Breust has kicked 45 goals or more in five of his eight seasons so far and with 20 after 11 games this year, hes on track to be around the mark again. Sicily would have been an All-Australian last year had he not got injured late. Hes averaging nine marks per game and only four players in the competition have kicked the ball more times than him in 2019. Three of Hawthorns five wins have come against top eight sides, including a superb unpacking of Greater Western Sydney at the MCG. Theyre proving they can still match it with the best.

THUMBS DOWN

The “Hawthorn way” that was so often spoken about during their period of dominance has been seen far more sporadically in 2019. Their best is good but theyve also lost to Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs. Having said that, the Hawks have been unlucky with injury and they no longer have depth in their squad to cover them. Starting with the reigning Brownlow medallist in Mitchell going down during the pre-season, the Hawks have also had to deal without the likes of Shaun Burgoyne, Isaac Smith, Liam Shiels, Ben McEvoy and Chad Wingard for periods this season. The recruiting of Wingard will continue to be scrutinised the more time he spends on the injury list and the less time he spends on the field. The former Port Adelaide star has looked sore and underdone at times, but there have been flashes of the brilliance we all know hes capable of. And despite the strong season from OMeara, the absence of Mitchell is very evident in the numbers; the Hawks are ranked 16th for clearances this year and 18th for clearance differential. Theyre getting belted out of the middle.

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WHO'S JUMPED UP

After 11 games in his first season at senior level, Worpel has played all 11 so far in 2019. Assistant coach Sam Mitchell told him on their walk of Kokoda that he wanted him to wear his number five guernsey, and Worpel hasnt disappointed. In his first game wearing the new number, he put in a performance Mitchell wouldve been proud of; collecting 27 disposals and kicking two goals as the Hawks upset the Crows in round one at the Adelaide Oval. He hasnt looked back since, failing to gather 25 touches just once in his next ten games. Worpel told The Age earlier in the yeaRead More – Source

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