16/04/2024

Hawthorn persisted, but they didn't get the result (Source: @HawthornFC)

After a 15 point loss, Hawthorn coach Alistair Clarkson reflects on his team's persistence after rapid first quarter fire from Fremantle.

After a 15 point loss, Hawthorn coach Alistair Clarkson reflects on his team’s persistence after rapid first quarter fire from Fremantle.

Clarkson’s men wrestled to get the game back on their terms after a 34 point deficit heading into quarter time. Although they ended up losing, their second quarter effort pleased the coach after spirits waned in the first quarter.

“The dam wall opened, and we just lost our spirit for a period of time. We regathered ourselves at quarter time and got ourselves back in the game by half time,” he said.

“There were some encouraging things over the course of the game for our side – the fact that we did get ourselves back into the contest and gave ourselves a chance.

“We played a lot better brand in the second quarter and scored five goals to one in that quarter to get ourselves back into the contest at least.”

In the end, it was untidy ball usage that cost Hawthorn. Despite having 84 more disposals than Fremantle, Hawthorn’s impact with said disposals was few and far between. The Dockers recorded 62 inside 50s to the Hawks 45, and 21 marks inside 50 to their 10.

“Freo went inside 50 and got easy goals. We had to work so hard for our goals,” Clarkson said.

“We had a lot of possession of the footy, for not as many inside 50s. We just couldn’t capitalise on the chances we had.

“That says the method of your ball movement isn’t as strong as it could be. Sometimes it’s just a little bit of hesitation and uncertainty and over time, we’ll get better.”

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Clarkson noted in particular the shortage of centre clearance wins which gave Fremantle the edge and tipped momentum in their favour. Fremantle won the contest 18 times to 10.

“They got significant important territory from centre bounce wins. By the end of the game they’d won the centre bounce clearance rate,” he said.

“That’s going to put any defence under enormous pressure when you’re losing the count by that much.”

One man who helped the Hawks in the second quarter was Brownlow Medallist Tom Mitchell, who accumulated 20 possessions and stunned the Dockers.

“He won a lot of the footy in the middle in the second quarter, so that certainly helps,” Clarkson said.

The headlining battle of the day was James Worpel versus Andrew Brayshaw – the Hawk prevailing and extinguishing the Docker’s fire. Brayshaw was limited to a subpar 15 disposals, only really getting off the leash in the final quarter. He received plenty of plaudits from his coach for his performance.

“By a margin, we thought Worps [Worpel] did a good job,” Clarkson said.

“He was really strong for us until three quarter time when we were three or four goals behind and we needed to try win ourselves the game.”

The figurative war was lost for Hawthorn when Fremantle’s star-studded midfield successfully stood up and covered for Brayshaw.

“They’ve got other good players – Nat Fyfe, [David] Mundy, [Caleb] Serong. That’s what a good midfield does,” Clarkson said.

“You take one out, then the other guys step up. We gave ourselves a chance in that part of the ground, but our polish just wasn’t quite as strong as the Fremantle side.”

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