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Mid-season review

R11: Alastair Clarkson Post-Match Hear from Clarkson as he spoke to the media following the loss to the Lions up North.

The bye round provides teams with the opportunity to both review the year to date as well as gauge an idea of what it is to come.

After 11 rounds, Hawthorn arrives at its bye in 11th spot with five wins to its name.

Impressive performances over Adelaide, Port Adelaide and, most notably, GWS have been perhaps overshadowed by losses to sides that many believe the Hawks should have beaten.

The Hawks have played five teams that currently sit below them on the ladder but have managed to overcome just two of them.

In fact, barring Carlton who has only won one game in 2019, the Hawks are the only side in the competition yet to have posted consecutive victories this season.

Read: VFL player by player

In Round 8, Alastair Clarkson masterminded a resounding victory over the Giants, genuine premiership contenders.

But the impressive win was unfortunately sandwiched between Round 7, when the Hawks conceded a 14-point three-quarter time lead to fall over to the struggling Demons, and Round 9, when they simply never looked in it against the Tigers.

The midfield was always going to be a challenge for the Hawks in 2019 – any side that loses a Brownlow Medallist calibre on-baller instantly has its back against the wall.

Hawthorn sits 16th in the competition for clearances. This lack of production from inside the contest has impacted the Hawks’ ability to post winning scores, having registered less than 80 points in each of their last five games.

Though, on the flipside, Hawthorn has been respectable on the defensive end, rating as the eighth-stingiest defence, despite losing more games than they’ve won.

They have conceded less points than three current top eight sides, Brisbane, Richmond and Port Adelaide, in fifth, sixth and seventh place respectively. 

A sense of optimism can also be derived from the growth seen in a number of individuals.

At the midway point of the season, Ricky Henderson finds himself in genuine All Australian contention, averaging just shy of 27 disposals. 

In just his second year in the AFL system, James Worpel has stepped up to the plate, yet to fall below 20 possessions after playing in every one of the Hawks’ games in 2019.

The likes of youngsters James Cousins, Mitch Lewis and Jack Scrimshaw have all earned their stripes as members of the club’s best 22.

The second half of the season poses both its challenges and its opportunities for the Hawks.

Of their last 11 games, they will face current top-five teams six times.

But they also face three of the bottom-six sides in the run home. 

In a tight competition this year, you could argue the list of Hawthorn’s remaining opponents is somewhat irrelevant – the Hawks have shown they can match it with the best, they just need to be more regular with these displays.

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