Jamie Kloeden reporting for AFANA from Adelaide, South Australia
After a narrow loss in one of the games of the season in Round Two against Geelong, Hawthorn were looking to get back on the winners list against the unbeaten and confident Adelaide Crows in Round 3. The next four quarters showed just why the Hawks remain one of the favorites for the Premiership title this year.
Alastair Clarkson’s side had luck against them even before the first bounce. Number one ruckman Brock McCauley was ruled out with a stomach virus, putting hope into the hearts of Crows' fans that the in-form Sam Jacobs could dominate the tap outs and supply the likes of Scott Thompson, Nathan van Berlo and Patrick Dangerfield with first opportunity at the football at every bounce. A solid start by Hawthorn saw them take an early lead that got out to 19 points at one stage but a dominant performance up forward by Kurt Tippett with two goals ensured the Crows were still in the game and they went into quarter time trailing by just six points. Following the break however, Tippett lost his radar around goals and along with fellow key forward Taylor Walker let several easy chances slip, allowing the Hawks to kick away to a 23 point lead at half time.
Hawthorn’s game style of maintaining possession with precise kicking continued to expose weaknesses in Adelaide's defensive game and they began to take control of the game early in the second half. With Luke Hodge still nursing an injury, Jordan Lewis was acting captain and he led the Hawks from the front with important touches through the midfield. After seeing Tippett dominate early, Josh Gibson upped his defensive game and turned himself into a brick wall across half back. Dangerfield was playing his best game for the season and although Jacobs was winning the ruck contests as predicted, it just wasn’t enough to keep the Crows close enough.
Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin began to make his presence felt in the forward line and even made a couple cameo appearances across half back and in the midfield where he is probably the hardest man in the League to match up on. This created even more headaches for Crows' chief Brenton Sanderson as he slowly saw his team lose grip on the contest. Continued inaccurate kicking for goals from Tippett and quick rebounds resulting in goals for the Hawks saw Adelaide go to three quarter time with a 35 point deficit that would have been more had Adelaide not managed the last two scores of the quarter.
While the Crows were still technically in the game entering the final quarter, Hawthorn were playing with enormous confidence and never looked like they were going to let the game get away from them. Franklin continued to show his class on whatever part of the ground he found himself and some of the younger Hawks such as Matt Suckling and Luke Breust with three goals showed that they will be important parts of the puzzle come Finals time.
For the Crows, even with his kicking woes, Tippett continued to work hard and provide a target. Ian Callinan kept his good early season form going but to no avail as the Crows were outscored six goals to three in the final quarter resulting in a convincing 56 point win to the Hawks.
One concern coming out of the game for Clarkson and his coaching team will be the fitness of Breust who was knocked out in a sickening clash with Brodie Martin. Martin entered the field of play from the interchange bench and as both players tried to gain possession it was head and hip that collided, resulting in Breust leaving the field on the doctor’s cart.
Looking ahead, Adelaide has the best possible opportunity to get back into form in Round 4 as they host Greater Western Sydney at AAMI Stadium. Hawthorn faces arguably the toughest task in football, traveling west to try and topple the West Coast Eagles at Patersons Stadium.
Scoreboard Hawthorn 5.3 10.7 15.9 21.14 (140) Adelaide 4.3 6.8 9.10 12.12 (84)
Hawthorn: Lewis, Gibson, Franklin, Suckling, Breust, Whitecross
Adelaide: Dangerfield, Jacobs, Tippett, Callinan, Thompson, Doughty
Article last changed on Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 10:35 AM EDT