The West Coast Eagles cruised to victory over a dispirited Hawthorn Hawks in a game where the Hawks never threatened one of the premiership favorites. The game started in dry conditions which suited the West Coast high leaping markers (catchers) and the Hawks were held scoreless in the opening quarter, as West Coast dominated. If the Eagles' goal shooting had been straight the match would have been over at quarter time. When the Hawks did attack, they were stopped in the air by Jeremy McGovern, who was returning from injury, and Tom Barrass, who together formed a defensive block taking 17 marks and 19 intercept possessions between them for the game.
At the other end of the ground, Liam Ryan was on fire for the Eagles and Josh Kennedy was reliable as they booted three goals each. The height and strength of Jack Darling was also a problem for the Hawks' defenders and Darling finished with two goals. Jack Scrimshaw and Will Day defended gamely for the Hawks, but they were overworked and didn't have enough support in battling the Eagles' big men. James Sicily was good in defense at times, but his day was cut short by what looked like a serious knee injury. Jack Gunston was the most productive of the Hawk forwards with just two goals. Gunston's goal in the final quarter was all class but opportunities for him were rare. Fellow forwards Luke Breust and Chad Wingard were ineffectual. Irishman Conor Glass made the most of his first game for the season and will add some pace to Hawthorn for the back end of the shortened season. Winger Changkuoth Jiath, who began life in an Ethiopian refugee camp, showed flair in just his third game of AFL and will be an important part of Hawthorn's long-term future.
Ben McEvoy was dominated by Nic Naitanui in the ruck, but the Hawk midfielders of Tom Mitchell, Jaeger O'Meara, and James Worpal won 19 clearances between them which kept the Hawks on the attack. In fact, the Hawks made more attacking entries than the Eagles, but they mostly failed to get past the strong Eagle defensive lines. Eagle midfielder Andrew Gaff picked up plenty of possessions playing outside of packs, while Luke Shuey operated inside and made seven clearances. Brad Sheppard was busy in defense for the Eagles and gathered a heap of midfield balls, as well as booting his second goal for the season.
There was little to enthuse the Hawk supporters. They were smashed in contested possessions and out tackled. Their chances of making the finals have now been blown away by consecutive losses to both West Coast and Fremantle. The trip to the Perth hub which began brightly with a victory over Carlton, has now turned into a season defining nightmare.
Things don't get any easier for the Hawks, with a trip to Adelaide to play Port Adelaide in just six just days.The Eagles are playing an irrepressible brand of football and will be licking their lips at the chance to meet the inconsistent GWS Giants at Optus Stadium in six days, followed by a much bigger challenge in the Richmond Tigers back at the Queensland hub.
Scores West Coast: 3.4 6.5 11.7 12.9 (81) Hawthorn: 0.0 2.3 5.6 7.7 (49) Best West Coast: McGovern, Barrass, Shuey, Naitanui, Ryan Hawthorn: Mitchell, O'Meara, Worpel, Day, Scrimshaw,
Article last changed on Sunday, August 16, 2020 - 2:15 PM EDT