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Five Takeaways: Hawthorn v Port Adelaide

PF: Roughy runs riot Jarryd Roughead kicks six goals to lead Hawthorn into the Grand Final
Jarryd Roughead of the Hawks celebrates a goal during the AFL 2014 Second Preliminary Final match between the Hawthorn Hawks and Port Adelaide Power at the MCG, Melbourne on September 20, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Jarryd Roughead of the Hawks celebrates a goal during the AFL 2014 Second Preliminary Final match between the Hawthorn Hawks and Port Adelaide Power at the MCG, Melbourne on September 20, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)

After Hawthorn’s 3-point win over Port Adelaide at the MCG on Saturday night, hawthornfc.com.au takes a look at the five main points to take out of the game.

1. How we got back into the game
Forcing turnovers and then scoring from them is a huge part of AFL footy today and it played a big role in Saturday’s outcome.

When the Power burst out of the blocks and had the game played in their forward half, they forced the Hawks into 19 turnovers for the term and translated that into 25 points on the scoreboard.

That means, 25 points of their quarter time score of 3.9 (27) came from turnovers.

In contrast, the Hawks forced 13 turnovers but managed just two points from that.

The turnaround for Hawthorn came in the second term, when the Hawks turned the tables and scored 19 points to two from turnovers despite the Power forcing just one less turnover (18-17) for the term.

2. Accurate Hawks
Taking that into account, bad kicking is bad football and Hawthorn discovered that the hard way in 2012, when they missed a number of key shots at goal in the Grand Final just like the Power did on Saturday.

In the end, it was Port Adelaide’s ability to capitalise in front of goal that cost them, kicking 3.7 from turnovers in the first quarter compared to Hawthorn’s 3.1 in the second.

Since 2012, the Hawks have worked hard on their goal kicking accuracy and in 2014 they have reaped the rewards.

In a game decided by under a goal, every aspect is analysed at what was the difference between a win and loss and when you look at the final score of 15.7 to 13.16, it becomes clear.

The Power, for all their dominance in the opening term led by just 12 points at the first break having kicked 3.9 to 2.3 for the term.

The Hawks kicked only seven behinds for the entire match, rarely missing a chance to convert an opportunity to apply scoreboard pressure.

Hawthorn’s goal kicking accuracy is 59 per cent this year – 2.9 per cent up on last year and 6 per cent up on 2012 – a figure that will be critical in Saturday’s Grand Final.

3. Young guns step up
Finals footy can make or break players and for Will Langford and Taylor Duryea, it has definitely made them.

Langford was as tenacious as ever in the middle, finishing with a team-high 29 disposals and 10 clearances. He also laid six tackles and kicked a goal, so he did the hard, defensive things as well as being an offensive weapon.

Duryea was also outstanding in defence, playing another impressive finals game.

He finished with a modest 14 touches but at 84.6 per cent efficiency along with five one percenters and a goal, he was a valuable contributor for the Hawks both as a lock down defender and as a rebounder off half-back.

4. Roughead gets it done
Everyone talks about the value of a good spread of goal kickers but it takes a game like Saturday’s prelim to ram home that point.

As Luke Breust struggled to make an impact and Jack Gunston  quiet early, it was Jarryd Roughead who got off the leash as if often the case when teams come up against the Hawks.

While opposition teams might be able to contain one or two dangerous targets, it’s another thing to stop a third or even a fourth.

On Saturday night it was Roughead who finished with six, including three in the first half to keep the Hawks in touch.

In the Grand Final it could be any one of the trio, or even an Isaac Smith who booted two on Saturday to take his season total to 24.

5. That smother
There’s a reason why Luke Hodge was voted the best captain in the AFL by his peers this year and it was on show at the MCG on Saturday.

From his blistering opening term where he at times kept the Hawks in the game by marking off the opposition boot or applying a big tackle to that game-saving smother, Hodge was outstanding in Hawthorn’s biggest game of the season to date.

It’s fitting the skipper, one of the most courageous players in the league will play his 250th career game on that last Saturday in September.