Sydney Olympic Stadium, Homebush, Sydney Australia
Is premiership window closing for the Swans?
Coach Longmire’s biggest defeat since tenure
Are Hawks heading for historic 3 peat?
Doesn’t get any easier for Sydney as they face West Coast away next week
Wow, is all one can say after witnessing a totally dominant Hawthorn performance against the Sydney Swans. Be it a sunny, home based grand final or a cold winter’s night in Sydney on the road, the Hawthorn Football Club utterly shamed the Sydney Swans yet again in a masterclass of the modern game.
The victory was won in circumstances that were anything but “unsociable” as was the mugging that was delivered in last’s years grand final. Instead Hawthorn’s game plan was like watching a boa constrictor slowly coil itself around it’s prey and squeeze the life out of it. Sydney had no answers to the Hawks constant on-ball harassment and full forward press that gave Sydney little option to move. It was a complete a victory as one would witness from the machine known as Hawthorn.
There were ominous signs early as the Hawks piled on six goals to the Swans measly two behinds in the first quarter. Their pressure was constant and they cashed in scoring wise at every opportunity. Hawthorn forced Sydney into errors and it was the likes of Jack Gunston, Jarryd Roughead and David Hale who bagged the goals.
Celebrating his 100th AFL game, Isaac Smith continued Hawthorn’s great start by kicking the second quarter’s first goal. The Swans desperately needed someone to step up and who better than the “Bondi Billionaire” in Lance Franklin. Franklin kicked his team’s first goal and it seemed to electrify the Swans fans and lift his team mates, which in turn helped him boot another two unanswered goals, one of which was his 700th career goal. Jarrad McVeigh slotted through another and the game was well and truly alive.
Yet the comeback was short lived.Firstly key Sydney forward Kurt Tippett suffered a nasty hand injury and had to leave the field and then Hawthorn managed to score two quick goals before the half time break via Angus Litherland and Cyril Rioli. Those two goals snuffed out any hopes that Sydney may have had as they entered the sheds at half time, behind by 30 points.
The third and final quarters could best be described as a rout, with Hawthorn booting fourteen goals to Sydney’s 3 and it was an absolute shellacking from the Hawks. On paper the stats were quite even, and in many cases Sydney were ahead, but as they say in the classics the numbers sometimes do not tell the full story. The figures attained during the game gave a perfect example:
Swans ahead in disposals 398 – 391. Hawks more kicks 221 – 202. Swans ahead in handballs 196 – 160. Swans ahead in clearances 38 – 36. Stoppages 24-22 in favor of the Hawks, centre clearances 16 -12 for Sydney, inside 50m 52-51 for Hawthorn. Contested possessions 148 – 132 in favor of Sydney. 71 – 65 tackles in favor of the Swans. Hit outs 49-39 for Hawthorn.
One wonders just how far this current crop of Sydney players can now go. Is their premiership window closing? Adam Goodes was one of Sydney’s best but he is nearly done playing wise, Jarrad McVeigh and Ted Richards cannot be the game savers as they have been in the past. Kieren Jack isn’t in the best of form at present and somebody needs to stand up and take on the work-rate. Sydney have seven games remaining some winnable and some not so predictable. West Coast (away), Adelaide (SCG), Geelong (away), Collingwood (SCG), Greater Western Sydney Giants (Sydney Showgrounds) , St-Kilda (away) and Gold Coast (SCG). The games against Collingwood, Geelong and cross-town rivals the Greater Western Sydney Giants will certainly be no gimme games. This seven game section will really test Sydney’s mettle.
With an unseasonably cold Sydney winter, it’s imperative their core playing staff see through this tough period. Mental toughness has been a challenge for the club over the past couple of seasons and they will really have to work hard on the training track and put wins on the board before anyone can confidently say they are serious premiership contenders. The magnitude of the loss was a total shock and the worst coach John Longmire has experienced since he took over the reigns from Paul Roos. If there is any solace it can be found in the numbers, where they did get a hold of the football but usage was absolutely abysmal. Teen sensation Isaac Heeney is also sorely missed, as he brought a spark around the midfield earlier in the season and had the ability to slot goals. His return cant come quick enough.
As to the Hawks, sure in the past couple of weeks they have posted significant wins over Fremantle and now Sydney, but it’s July and September and seven games exists before any consideration of another flag.West Coast (home) and Richmond (MCG) look like the only real serious threats to their ladder positioning. Again staying in physical shape is the key. There are no signs of lack of hunger or desire with this group. Hawthorn have a serious craving for those gold cups and gold and brown ticker tape showers delivered at the MCG on the final game of the year. Their current jersey has the gold embossed AFL logo signifying they are the current AFL title holders and remain clearly the gold standard in 2015 AFL football.
SYDNEY SWANS 0.2 4.5 6.12 7.15 (57)
HAWTHORN 6.1 9.5 16.7 23.8 (146)
Sydney Swans: Franklin 3, McVeigh, Parker, K. Jack, Kennedy
Hawthorn: Roughead 5, Gunston 4, Rioli 3, Breust 2, McEvoy 2, Hale, Smith, Litherland, Schoenmakers, Shiels, Puopolo, Suckling
Sydney Swans: Franklin, Goodes, Parker. Special mention: Toby Nankervis,
Why Toby? For effort, application and mood after the game, which was one of utter desolation. We spotted Toby leaving well after the game had ended and wished him the best. He wasn’t at all happy with the result. In the past we’ve witnessed players from several clubs after a loss. Laughing, joking as if nothing had happened. This young man was clearly hurting and smarting and that’s want you want to see in a player who’s been involved in a game like the Hawthorn drubbing. It Mattered. Kudos to Nana.
Hawthorn: Hodge, Lewis, Mitchell
Sydney Swans: Craig Bird (calf/achilles), Tippett (hand)
Hawthorn: Bradley Hill (corked calf) replaced in selected side by Angus Litherland
Sydney Swans: Zak Jones replaced Craig Bird in the second quarter
Hawthorn: Billy Hartung replaced David Hale in the last quarter
Reports: Ted Richards for striking Sam Mitchell in the first quarter
Umpires: Stevic, Hosking, Pannell
Official crowd: 37,369 at Sydney Olympic Park Stadium, Homebush
Hawthorn attack / defensive formation snaps