Hawthorn 5-6 8th
This side must frustrate fans like no other. They apparently have talent oozing from pores all over, but looks can be deceiving. There are a heck of a lot of question marks on this team and its list. Yes they have more than their fair share of injuries but that has just exposed their depth issues. A lot has been made of their 1-6 start but if that is broken down in sections, perhaps it doesn't read as bad. They flogged Melbourne, and the margin should have been greater and they took it upto Geelong and the Dogs before running out of legs in the last quarter. Eade even went so far to say that the Hawk game was the hardest physical game for the Dogs this year. No coincidence both those teams lost the following week.
Then came a flogging by Collingwood and that was the beginning of the true rot. Another game they ran out of legs against North and also Essendon, which was the low point, because they simply didn't try, and the turning point. Whilst they lost to West Coast, they improved significantly on the Essendon game and since then have won 4 in a row. The worrying thing is that only 1 of those wins was a 4 quarter performance where they blew away Carlton. Every other game they got across the line, although against Sydney and Port they were in control fro the majority and were deserving winners.
Cooinciding with their streak of 4 was the inclusion of Burgoyne who has injected class, and Skipper, who has given the young ruckman Renouf a valuable chop out as well as providing some good effort around the ground.
They have winnable games against Adelaide in Tassie and Essendon sans Hille (important for the Hawks as ruck is a big weakness). Win those and suddenly the Hawks have 6 on the trott and have a positive win loss heading into their break. Can they actually make the 8? Yes, and if they do they will deserve it. First things first they have to win 7 of their next 11 (but every team with 5 wins is in exactly the same boat there). And after the break they have a 4 game run that could break their season; Dogs, Cats, Lions and Saints. If they are still alive, it gets theoretically easier with current peer games against Port and the Swans, but they are both away games. Just to top things off, their last two are against top 4 teams, Freo and the Pies. So yeah, like I said if they get in they'll deserve it.
They'll also need Buddy and Bateman to stop getting reported, no more injuries to key players and Roughead to find some form. The jury is still out, but perhaps Hawk supporters still have a little hope, after all someone has to make the 8 and their may be a couple of spots on offer. They'll finish between 7th and 10th is my guess.