Three out of the past four premierships, including the famous three-peat, and now the Hawthorn Hawks are 0-4 with their backs against the ropes to start season 2017. Some Hawks fans commiserate, some hold the faith while some have thrown in the towel for this season and have turned their sights to the dominating Melbourne Storm in the NRL. Although a thumping loss against the struggling Gold Coast Suns, followed by a whack from the Cats may suggest otherwise, it’s certainly not time to worry for Hawks fans.
Still a good list
Three key players moving clubs at the end of last year triggered some alarm bells, but the list of inclusions were promising, and there are certainly teams sitting much worse-off in terms of talent and list management. Young-gun Tom Mitchell comes from Sydney, and will take some time to gel into a game-plan which has been so dominant for so long, but one thing is for sure, this kid can play. Tyrone Vickery is a much talked about key-position player who gets criticised for every step he takes, but is a mega-talent who will be as dangerous as any forward in the game once the delivery improves and his teammates learn the way he plays.Young-gun Jaeger O'Meara is a goldmine waiting to take off, and with time this will come.
Coaching Talent never in question
Coach Alastair Clarkson is a mastermind and has shown for years that he has a bag of tricks that no other coach does. In fact, five current AFL coaches have moved onto senior roles from working under the genius himself. Brendon Bolton (Carlton), reigning premiership coach Luke Beveridge (Western Bulldogs), the currently undefeated Adam Simpson (West Coast Eagles) and Damien Hardwick (Richmond) as well as the man behind the dominance at Greater Western Sydney, Leon Cameron. With such talent in the coaches box, and superstar Luke Hodge leading the charge it becomes easier to take a breath and understand that rather than a new Hawks team who have taken a turn for the worst, this may just be a form slump from the champion team, and that they should improve, rapidly.
It will take time, but the cavalry will arrive
The support troops can hold their own with the best of them, too. Paul Puopolo is nearly the best small forward in the game, while fan-favourite Luke Bruest is an electric goal sneak with elite skills. Josh Gibson rates right up with Alex Rance as one of the most influential defenders in the game, alongside champion veteran Shaun Burgoyne who still has the ability to completely dominate a game. The tall timber up forward are more than capable of holding their own, also. Captain Jarryd Roughead and Sharpshooter Jack Gunston are two of the most accurate kicks in the game, and become lethal when the forward delivery is at its usual elite level.
An overall view shows that this side, despite losing two of its superstars, Jordan Lewis (Melbourne) and Sam Mitchell (West Coast), is still more than capable of playing finals football, and competing come September time. A tough game against West Coast could possibly send the Hawks to 0-5, their worst start in more than 10 years, but its not all bad with the five games following all winnable, and it’s from there that their season has a chance to balance out. If Hawthorn can get to the bye rounds with an even record or slightly better, all this talk of doom and gloom will disappear, and the sights will be set on the road to the finals, a time of the year which the Hawks are sensationally familiar with.
All-in-all, its certainly not a time to panic for Hawks fans so early, in a season which is predicted to be one of the most evenly matched in some time.
Can the Hawks bounce back and make amends quickly? Share your thoughts below.