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Five talking points: JLT2

JLT2: Match Highlights Hawks v Blues Relive the close match under lights in Tassie as the Hawks went down to the Blues in JLT2.
LAUNCESTON, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 10: Shaun Burgoyne of the Hawks in action during the AFL 2018 JLT Community Series match between the Hawthorn Haws and the Carlton Blues at UTAS Stadium on March 10, 2018 in Launceston, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Burgoyne continues to defy age, again listed among the best in Saturday's clash.

1. Glass half full

Despite Hawthorn being one of five sides to have finished the two-week JLT Series without a win, Hawks fans should remain optimistic that their club has set itself up well for a strong campaign in 2018. Had it not been for some impotency in front of goal, the Hawks should have not only overcome the Blues but demolished them. The Hawks reigned supreme in many of the key statistics against Carlton, winning clearance numbers, dominating the inside 50 count and laying 38 more tackles than the Blues. So, the moral of the story? Don’t be left despondent by the winless pre-season, Hawks fans, 2018 is looking an exciting year for the brown and gold.


2. Ball magnet Mitchell 

In case anyone was worried, Tom Mitchell hasn’t forgotten anything over the summer. The reigning Peter Crimmins Medallist featured in both JLT Series games and found the ball at least 30 times on both occasions. No other player in the competition matched that feat throughout the pre-season series. The 24-year old averaged 35.8 disposals per game in 2017 and set a new record for most possessions in a home and away season. The question is, will he surpass his own mantle in 2018?


3. The gift that keeps on giving

At 35 years of age, Shaun Burgoyne could have been excused for taking this pre-season lightly. It is, after all, his 18th pre-season. Nevertheless, Burgoyne played both games and, in game two against Carlton, he was arguably the best player on the ground (aside from an ability to convert his scoring opportunities). The four-time premiership player gathered 25 touches, a game-high 18 of which were contested, two marks, six clearances, four tackles and kicked five behinds in what was the only flaw of a brilliant performance. It seems unfair to expect that Burgoyne can continue the form that Hawks supporters have come to know and love, but when he churns out efforts such as these he gives us little choice!


4. Power-ful recruit

Hawks fans will also be buoyed by the form of recruit Jarman Impey over the JLT Series. Impey showed bursts of speed and high skill on his way to 18 touches, five marks and three goals against the Blues. The 22-year old has an ability to play in every area of the ground, starting in the centre square on Saturday before getting forward to hit the scoreboard. Despite the Hawks restricted ability at last year’s trade period, they may still have found a very valuable and young addition in the former Port Power speedster.


5. New year, new me

Ben Stratton, Jaeger O’Meara and James Frawley played a combined 22 games in 2017 after injury spoiled their campaigns. But on Saturday afternoon the important trio were back out on the park and looked set for big seasons in 2018. O’Meara built on his opening hit-out against the Bulldogs, recording 23 possessions, four clearances and eight tackles. The experienced triad provides the Hawks line-up some added stability that it missed last year.


The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs