All good things must come to an end. Yes…even you Hawthorn
By Daniel Emilio Amato
The Hawthorn Football Club, are now for the first time in almost two decades, one of the laughing stocks of the AFL. Think back to just five years ago when they defeated the West Coast Eagles by eight goals in the 2015 Grand Final, completing their three-peat… it seemed nothing could ever bring them down. They would be at the top forever.
Since then however, they have seen the moving on or retirements of some of their greatest players and premiership heroes; Bradley Hill, Brian Lake, Cyril Rioli, David Hale, Luke Hodge, Jarryd Roughead, Jordan Lewis Sam Mitchell and several others. Since their third consecutive premiership, they have missed the finals three of the last four seasons and are now sitting third bottom with just four wins, their lowest tally since Alastair Clarkson’s first season at the helm in 2005. A prime of example of ‘all good things must come to an end.’
After a promising 3-1 start to this abnormal 2020 season, Alastair Clarkson seemed to be getting the very best out of this average Hawthorn side, but since then the club has conjured just one win from its previous eleven attempts and now sit 16th and just one win ahead of wooden spoon contenders North Melbourne and Adelaide.
Nothing seems to have worked for the Hawks this season, their midfield doesn’t gel at all. With Tom Mitchell still gathering possessions, but not having much impact on the result, James Worpel and Jaegar O’Meara not necessarily declining, but not advancing their games to any great lengths and a forward line that seems to be missing the presence of Jarryd Roughead, with the major goal kicker being Jack Gunston with 27, the next highest being Chad Wingard with only 18. The Hawks as a unit are 12th or lower per game for scores disposals, tackles, inside 50s, clearances and marks… so they struggle to get the ball and when they use it, rarely does it result in sufficient scoring.
It seems the club tried to re-emulate what they did a decade ago, by recruiting mature-age talent from other clubs. Ben McEvoy, Brian Lake, David Hale Shaun Burgoyne, Jack Gunston, Josh Gibson and the like all played major parts in their premiership success. As a football club you don’t always get it right, but what have the acquisitions of Chad Wingard, Jaegar O’Meara, Jarman Impey, Jonathon Patton and Tom Scully to advance their premiership credentials? While Impey has been solid, and the injury factor with Patton can be a valid excuse, the second attempt at recycling players has failed thus far. Alastair Clarkson seems to be frustrated at his team’s inability to remain competitive for long enough, taking shots at the opposition game plans in his press conferences. They were certainly good enough to defeat your club, Clarko?
No one can deny Hawthorn’s legacy, the dynasty of 2011-2016 was an incredible chapter in this remarkable club’s history… but those days are over now. With Ben Stratton and Paul Puopolo adding to the retirements, it seems this club will need to stay at the bottom for a few seasons before it can realistically return to where it belives it should be.
As the saying goes; “All good things must come to an end.” You can’t expect to be at the top forever, Hawthorn need to focus their attention to the draft and utilising their number three (currently) draft pick to bring in a young man, develop him into a superstar and focus on 2022-2025. The next few seasons, unless Clarkson has one last miracle up his sleeve, may be tough for Hawthorn fans used to the upmost success.
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