Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hand up who wants to play in the finals?

This week the Hawks went in with a massive 8 changes, all rests, and to 7 of their best 10 players and one, Bailey, who is the best in their position. Obviously it was an exercise in preservation of key players but also a way to test those players that are on the cusp, both in the current 22 and those playing in the VFL. So how did the the test of those pressing their case go?

Bateman - Sadly, the once great gut runner looks old and slow and no longer seems to have the tank to just keep finding space by running opponents into the ground. He was just so-so today, not terrible but not what you would expect of a seasoned vet. He is confined to the break in case of emergency case. I suspect he may well retire (if he isn't in contract) at the end of the season, he just doesn't seem to be upto today's type of game (unless he's battling injury).

Ellis - He wasn't too bad, not brilliant by any stretch but did some nice things and showed a bit of leadership and direction at times. Seems to be a link man, but won half his footy as contested ball and got in the clearances. He's a chance to hold his spot.

Ladson - He's not a bad player Ladson, but he disappears too often and when he tries to assert himself physically he seems to stuff up. Gave Zac Smith 2 goals from poor frees. On today's performance he doesn't deserve a best 22 spot.

Johnson - The former Dees ruckman, and current Hawk rookie, was just being played to rest Bailey. They can't seriously be looking at him in any capacity other than as last ruck standing. His tap work is ok, but he is useless around the ground.

Lisle - Just doesn't have AFL touch as a forward. I didn't mind him earlier in the year in defence, but as a forward he doesn't seem to have the instinct nor confidence. He's definitely not best 22.

Stratton - Looked a bit scratchy in his first game back from a serious injury, and to be fair that was expected. Still, at times he showed why he has been a key component to the defence and will be better for the run. I suspect the Hawks might go for him if he pulls up ok as he can play tall if needed against a variable Cats forwardline.

Cheney - Started as the sub and really didn't grasp his chance. Like Lisle he was better in other games, and he should have been able to stand up against the Gold Coast, but a couple of times was a rabbit caught in headlights.

Note: Mitchell was the other inclusion but he's a dead cert to play finals.

Of those that were in the team last week that could be cut:

Savage - Really poor game, just didn't find the footy. This was a great chance to shine, but he didn't grasp the opportunity. He'll be dropped methinks.

Osbourne - I liked his effort today, good forward pressure and a couple of goals. The Hawks forward line looks better when he's in form.

Bruce - He can't kick, but somehow, he was fantastic today. Hard running and willed himself into the contest. I suspect the Hawks team he played with today reminded him of his Melbourne days, so he felt confident. On today's performance, he can't be dropped.

Schoenmakers - Continues to make mistakes, but also does some very sound defending. He is touch and go, but maybe Stratton will replace him.

So in the end the ins next will be:
Hodge, Lewis, Sewell, Rioli, Franklin, Bailey, Brichall, Burgoyne
Savage, Cheney, Johnson, Lisle Ladson, Bateman, Ellis, and...well I don't know..Stratton or Shiels???

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