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Five Takeaways: North Melbourne v Hawthorn

Rnd16: Gunston's career best six Watch Jack Gunston's six goals from Friday night's clash with North Melbourne

After Hawthorn’s 20-point loss to North Melbourne on Friday night, hawthornfc.com.au highlights five points to take out of the game.

1. Hawks didn’t get enough of the footy
In 2014, Hawthorn has had more disposals than any other team, with an average of over 400 a game before Friday night.

On their way to a 20-point loss at the hands of North Melbourne, the Hawks simply didn’t get their fair share of the footy and struggled to win it back when North Melbourne had possession.

Hawthorn had only 334 disposals on Friday night, 70 less than their season average heading into the game.

Luke Hodge picked up the most disposals of any Hawk with 28 but it dropped away dramatically from there with Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis on 23 and Shaun Burgoyne with 22. Jack Gunston (21) and Matt Suckling (20) were the only other Hawks to pick up 20 or more disposals.

Compare that with North Melbourne who had Nick Dal Santo pick up 36 and Brent Harvey 30, while eight others had 20 or more disposals.

The Roos simply didn’t allow Hawthorn to get the game on their terms, with Alastair Clarkson’s side unable to hold the footy and use their kicking skills to advance the ball – North Melbourne controlled the game from start to finish.

 

2. Roos go handball happy
North Melbourne took the game on – they attacked the Hawthorn defence all night with handball across half-back and through the midfield and for most of the night, it came off.

The Hawks pride themselves on being able to turn the ball over and hurt their opposition on the rebound but on Friday night that ability deserted the Hawks as the Roos time and again forced the ball forward in kamikaze-style play.

While the Hawks committed players to the contest, the ball would spill out to waiting Kangaroos who’d continue to sweep the footy forward.

North Melbourne had 207 handballs for the game, well up on their season average of 160 heading into the match. They almost had as many handballs as they did kicks – with 234 for the night.

 

3. Schoenmakers able to stabilise defence
The argument of whether Ryan Schoenmakers should be played up forward or in defence added another layer on Friday night.

With the swingman quiet when playing as a fifth tall forward option in the first two and a half quarters, Schoenmakers was able to stabilise the defence when moved onto Drew Petrie midway through the third term.

Petrie went on a rampage in the third quarter, comprehensively beating Brian Lake to kick three of the first four North Melbourne goals in that quarter.

Despite the Roos still dominating possession and kicking another three goals for the term following the move, a red-hot Petrie was kept quiet by Schoenmakers – an outstanding effort by him.

When Lake went back onto Petrie in the last term, Schoenmakers was moved back up forward  and kicked a vital goal to try and inspire his team – he presented well in the last term as the Hawks tried to snatch victory.

Where his best position is remains to be seen.

 

4. Gunston’s two career-bests
The young Hawk continues to improve game by game, with his potential an extremely exciting prospect Hawthorn.

Already, Gunston has been named the best player in the same finals series that Hawthorn won a premiership – an outstanding achievement from the young forward.

This season he has taken another step, adding more versatility to his game by pushing up to the wing and even down back on Friday night where he added some valuable stability when the Roos were pressing.

He booted a career-best six goals on Friday night and was Hawthorn’s most dangerous forward all night. He also picked up 21 disposals – four shy of his season high.

Already, Gunston has achieved a personal best for goals kicked during home-and-away rounds with 36 in 14 games, passing his previous best of 35 last year (he added a further 11 during the finals series to finish with 46 for the year).

Since joining Hawthorn at the end of 2011, Gunston has improved his goal tally each year starting with 39 in 2012, 46 in 2013 and surely more in 2014.

 

5. Welcome back Sam Mitchell
It was just his first game back following a two-month layoff but already Hawks fans are welcoming his inclusion after a team-high eight-clearance performance by the gun midfielder.

Mitchell picked up a solid 23 touches too and had five inside 50s to be a good contributor for the Hawks on the night.

The dual premiership player sets such high standards for himself that he has already said he hopes to step up his game this week as he re-adjusts to AFL footy.