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Haw+Melb 2011

Hawthorn

Brief Summary:  On the verge of the top 4.  14 wins and 5th; one good ruckman away from an almost certain top 4 finish.  (actual at end of season = 18 wins and 3rd  before the finals)

 

More Detail:   The Hawks thrashed the Tigers round 1 of the 2010 NAB Cup and looked every inch a flag contender.  But injuries from then on derailed their next month or two and they found themselves at 1 and 6 after 7 rounds.  From there on, the better players began returning and Clarkson admitted that they had to make changes to their game plan which served them so well in 2008.  Their year end badly when they had to fly to Perth and lost players on the day to injury.

Better things await them in 2011.  Their draw is better with no consecutive 6 day breaks (compared to 2 such events in 2010).  The teams they play twice in 2011 compared to 2010 are the Suns and Dockers (compared to Swans, Dons and Pies in 2010).  The other teams they play twice in 2011 they also played twice in 2010, so the above gives the true benefit of the draw. 

The loss of Brown, Petersen and Skipper are almost offset by the arrival of Bruce Cheney and Hale.  Skipper missed round 1 – 7 last year and the Hawks record was 11 wins and 4 losses for the 15 games he played!!!  Hale may be able to play deep forward but he is not a star big man.  The Hawks appear to be building a team like many of their premiership teams – potent forwards, good midfields and ruckmen that were more competitive than brilliant.  Take Jolly from the Pies (or Cox or Sandilands from the west) and you have a great looking team!

The real bonus for the Hawks is the improvement coming from so many players.  This means that they are likely to improve in 2011.  The one problem facing them now is that, although injuries decreased for the last part of 2010, a lot of players have missed a bit of the pre season:  Bailey, Bateman, Ellis, Hale, Hodge and Lewis.  At least none are long term.  And like the Dons who won a flag “before time” in 1993, they are just about ready to regroup and realise their potential.

 

Definitely missing round 1 (from best 22):  none

May miss round 1 or be underdone (from best 22)            Hodge Sewell, Bateman, Ladson,  Ellis and Renouf.

 

Look for improvement from:           Roughead (going well until injured), Shiels (correct)

Don’t expect too much from:           Bailey – he is back playing but has missed 2 years with knee problems.  He may need more time to come good (incorrect – his form was a bonus for the Hawks)

Likely to get a game R1:       Savage and Suckling are in the mix; Schneider, too, if he gets off the rookie list.

 

Keys for the club:      To be able to get by in the ruck.  Renouf and Bailey have missed some of the pre season while Lowden is still developing.  Hale and rookie Johnson are fringe players.  The other key is for the emerging players to be able to sustain the effort for a full year.  If so, they can grab a top 4 spot.

Important Rounds:   Rounds 6 – 9.  Following their bye in round 5, the Hawks have a tough 4 weeks:  Port (away), Saints, Swans (away), Dogs.  Their results in these weeks will help shape their season

 

Post Season Review (added 04 Jan 2012)

This is one case where the experts out-analysed me.  Most experts had them slotted in about 3rd and that is where they duly finished.  My main concern was the big man department.  While this was a mixed bag in 2011, the overall result was positive.  Buddy starred once more while Hale and Bailey were surprise positives for the club.  Losing Roughead, Gilham and Stratton (the latter coming back just before the finals) probably cost them a grand final berth.  Big improvers for the year were Birchall, Gibson and Suckling while Puopolo Savage and Smith had great debut seasons.

 

 

Melbourne

Brief Summary:  A year of consolidation.  10 wins and 12th with finals possible in 2012.  (actual at end of season = 8 wins and 13th)

 

More Detail:   With the departure of James (once was Junior) McDonald, Bruce and other lesser contributors in 2010, the Dees now boast the second youngest average age in the comp – ahead only of the young Suns. This seems to indicate that the best is yet to come.  Remembering that they won the spoon in 2008 and 2009, a result of somewhat the same as last year is not so bad, provided that the long term trend is upward.  And it appears to be so!  The long term confidence probably led to replacing old players exiting with youngsters.  The club has been boosted by the clearing of debt and 2011 should be a year to watch the talent begin to develop.  The Scully rumours should not be a major distraction and almost every club is likely to face this issue to some degree in 2011.  The negatives for this year are a slight concern about the patchy NAB form.  And also the back up in the ruck for Jamar.  Campbell can play but is injured and has been out of the AFL for a while.  Young prospects Fitzpatrick (injured) and Gawn (just back to playing after major injuries) may not help much in the early season.  Promoted Rookie Spencer is just a battler.

 

Definitely missing round 1 (from best 22):              Frawley, McKenzie, Morton  

May miss round 1 or be underdone (from best 22):          Petterd, Scully, Trengove, Wonaeamirri,

 

Look for improvement from:           Grimes (incorrect, but injured), Gysberts (correct), Jetta (incorrect), Maric (incorrect)

 

Don’t expect too much from:           Wonaeamirri – he has great potential but had an interrupted pre season (correct)

Likely to get a game R1:       Gysberts, Tapscott

 

Keys for the club:      Keeping Jamar fit and in top form until the bye in round 5 (after which he may get some much needed help).   Being able to get medium term injured players Frawley, Morton and McKenzie back on track and firing.  And also to get full seasons out of the significant players who missed large chunks of 2010:  Grimes, Gysberts, Jurrah, Petterd, Tapscott.  Also they need to generate enough success or promise to keep the members positive.

Important Rounds:   Rounds 12 – 15 have the Dees with 3 consecutive 6 day breaks.  It begine with the Pies on a Monday, followed by Freo, Tigers and Dogs.  The middle two are very winnable but it is a test for a young side under the pressure of short breaks.

Post Season Review (added 04 Jan 2012)

The analysis was pretty good in this instance.  Some experts had them slightly higher (verge of the 8), but they probably traded out too much experience for the finals to be a realistic chance in 2011.  Add to that the injuries to Bail, Davey, Grimes, Gysberts and Tapscott – and you end up with 8 wins.  There also appeared to be disunity at the club.  Note: Promising ruckman Max Gawn is injured again and likely to miss 2012.  Howe and McKenzie look to be top players while Trengove justified his selection at number 2 in the draft.