Under new coach Sam Mitchell, Hawthorn looked to defy wooden spoon predictions with a first up win over the Kangaroos by 20 points at the MCG. The new look 2022 Hawks kicked long and marked deep in the forward line with Lewis and Gunston the main targets. North Melbourne debuted Horne-Smith and he looks a real prospect but a four goal run by the Hawks either side of the half time break was decisive.
North Melbourne made the perfect start to their 2022 campaign with Jy Simpkin kicking the Roos first goal of the season following the ball to the goal line after a quick clearance and snapping over the shoulder. They pressed that Hawks hard and were ready to rebound the early Hawk defender's clearances. Hawthorn's full forward Mtichell Lewis marked a Newcome long bomb on the lead and goaled but North Melbourne were dominating the middle of the ground and Hall, Horne-Francis, Zuurhar and Davies-Uniake were all looking dangerous. For the Hawks it was Jiath who was kept busy for the Hawks deep in defense and went aerial with the spoils many times.
Lewis kicked his second for the Hawks as they dominated the middle part of the term and took the lead, but then Larkey waltzed in and picked up the crumbs at the top of the square to goal for the Kangaroos. Both sides threatened to take the initiative but a disallowed goal to North and two behinds to Gunston left a one point margin at quarter time. Jack Mahony seemed to be all on his own as he ran inside 50 for the handball receive and drilled the first goal for the second quarter. Ziebell stepped up and finally added a second halfway through the quarter gathering at the back of the pack and snapping over it for the goal and North took a 21 point lead when Simpkin kicked his second after marking on the 50m arc.
Dylan Moore kicked started a stalled Hawthorn team on the board for the quarter when the Roos turned over the ball at half back, and Moore's get and give running allowed him to snap on the right boot for goal. Gunston finally kicked his first goal after marking 25 meters out in the pocket and snapping around the body from the set shot for goal leaving the Hawks 7 points behind the Kangaroos at the long break. Whatever Sam Mitchell had to say at half time did the trick for his team. They came out and kicked three unanswered goals through Newcome and then long kicks to the square resulting in further goals to Gunston and then Lewis. North Melbourne pulled back a late goal when Tom Mitchell failed to return the ball straight to the umpire for a ball-up at the top of the defensive 50 and the free kick was marked by Goldestein 20 meters out from goal. That was North Melbourne's first goal of the second half and saw them trailing Hawthorn by 7 points at three quarter time.
Goldstein reduced the margin to one point when he marked in the pocket at the start of the last quarter. The tight angle didn't worry him as he ran around the mark and snapped the goal. After a dirty day Chad Wingard in the long sleeves (possibly sending a message to departed coach Alistair Clarkson) was paid a holding free kick in the marking contest and ran around to kick a quick response goal from outside the 50 meter arc. McDonald's mark at the top of North Melbourne's 50 meter arc and long shot at goal faded right to ring the margin back to one point, but a quick Hawthorn coast to coast transition saw the Hawks back out to a two goal lead.
Tom Mitchell was drawn into running off the mark after an opposition runner went past and Larkey's kick on the wing moved to the top of the 50 meter arc and he kicked long and straight to reduce the margin to 7 points. Maginness kicked his first goal for the Hawks and Gunston added his third for the day to put the result beyond doubt. Capping off a great game Newcombe flew under a high ball to crash mark inside 50 but only scored a behind from the shot, the final score of the day.
In the end a 20 point victory to the Hawks. Both sides played high pressure shut down football today with defenders regularly rebounding the ball, whether that football will stand up against the league's better teams remains to be seen. The Hawks head to Adelaide next week to take on Port Adelaide and the Kangaroos will hunt their first premiership points against the West Coast Eagles at Marvel Stadium.
Hawthorn 2.4 4.7 7.9 11.12 (78) North Melbourne 2.5 5.8 6.8 8.10 (58) GOALS Hawthorn: Lewis 3, Gunston 3, Wingard 2, Maginness, Moore, Newcombe North Melbourne: Simpkin 2, Goldstein 2, Larkey 2, Horne-Francis, Mahony BEST Hawthorn: Jiath, Gunston, Mitchell, Lewis, Sicily, Moore North Melbourne: McDonald, Simpkin, Davies-Uniacke, Hall SUBSTITUTES Hawthorn: Tom Phillips (replaced Max Lynch) North Melbourne: Charlie Lazzaro (replaced Ben McKay) Crowd: 38,297 at the MCG
Article last changed on Friday, March 25, 2022 - 8:35 AM EDT