15/04/2024

Hawthorn show plenty of promise in their first preseason game. Image: @HawthornFC/ Twitter

Though needing to polish up on their ball use ahead of Round One, the Hawks have plenty of positives coming out of their first practice game.

Though not the cleanest performance from the Hawks, Sam Mitchell will come away from his side’s first season preseason hit-out against Collingwood in Morwell on Friday afternoon with plenty of optimism.

A new look Hawks side which featured 13 first and second-year players, would end up drawing in the end with the Magpies in their six-period practice hit out, with Sam Mitchell and Hawks fans alike getting their first glimpse of the younger looking Hawks outfit, with the majority of its list getting a run.

Dylan Moore got the Hawks off to a fast start, kicking the opening goal of the contest inside the opening two minutes of the first period. Though it would be all Collingwood after, with Collingwood kicking nine of the next 10 goals.

Down by over 70 points at one stage during the third period, the Hawks would come into the game in the second half. Storming home in the final three periods to draw the game 19.27 (141) to Collingwood’s 22.9 (141).

Having adopted a faster game style under new coach Mitchell over the summer, the Hawks played a more daring brand football against the Pies. And though the Hawks were able to string a couple of good passages of play, and control the game at times, their poor disposal efficiency will be a major talking point heading into their season opener against North Melbourne.

The Hawks’ poor disposal efficiency around the ground would also translate into being poor in front of goal. The Hawks would finish the game with a 41 percent conversion rate, kicking 19 goals from 46 scoring shots.

Looking scrappy going forward, Hawks key forward, Hawks key forwards Jacob Koschitzke and Mitchell Lewis hit the scoreboard with the duo kicking scoring a goal apiece, while Jackson Callow came on in the second half and score two majors. Moore also finished the day with two goals.

The Hawks would have their fair share of goal scorers in the high-scoring affair with Ben McEvoy, Emerson Jeka, Harry Morrison, James Worpel, Ned Long, Ned Reeves, and Seamus Mitchell also hitting the scoreboard.

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In addition to their poor goal kicking and field kicking, another area of concern on the day was the Hawks struggling to influence the game around stoppages and at the centre bounces. Rucks McEvoy, Max Lynch, and Reeves had their fair share of time in the ruck, all of whom were monstered by Brodie Grundy and the rest of the Collingwood ruck contingent.

Though Hawks coach Mitchell will take some consolation that McEvoy and Reeves were able to nab a goal when rested up forward.

Midfielders Lachlan Bramble and Jai Newcombe, both in their second season at the Hawks had impressive performances on the wing. Worpel was solid in the middle, being the most damaging Hawthorn player around stoppages and in the centre clearances, in addition to his clever goal in the third period.

Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O’Meara would have quieter days, despite both of them spending the majority of their time in the midfield where they do most of their damage, neither were able to have their usual impacts while they were on the ground.

It would be a mixed bag from the Hawks young brigade, with Hawks first-year player and pick seven in last year’s draft Josh Ward having an uneventful first hit out at AFL hit out, playing just the first three periods and tasked to run with Steele Sidebottom. Though Ward wouldn’t find too much of the footy, he battled well with Sidebottom who didn’t have too much of an impact.

Fellow first-year player Connor MacDonald would be more involved, also playing just the opening couple of periods of the match. MacDonald showed signs of promise with his speed and decision-making and did himself no harm in his push for an early-season debut.

Long would come on in the fourth period and was solid, rotating through the midfield and the forward line, having several scoring opportunities in the fourth term.

Former Western Bulldog forward Fergus Greene came on in the second half, kicking the final two goals of the game, including a late goal to tie the scores. Following an impressive season with Box Hill last year, and currently training with the Hawks, he pushed his case in securing a list spot.

Hawthorn would escape the day with no injuries, with Changkuoth Jiath, Jarman Impey, Josh Morris not taking part as the trio recover from injury while Luke Breust was rested.

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