You know what they say about footy being a game of inches?
Well, you won’t get a much better example of that than Hawthorn’s game against Brisbane on Sunday.
The Hawks may have prevailed by a comfortable 28-point margin after leading for over 97 per cent of the game, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any statistics that reflect this relative ease with which the brown and gold supposedly triumphed with.
The Hawks recorded 187 kicks to the Lions’ 184, 123 contested possessions to 121, 51 tackles to 50, 73 marks to 68 and matched them with 28 clearances apiece.
Inside 50s were almost exactly even too, with the Hawks entering their forward 50 45 times to the Lions’ 46 entries.
Though a deeper look into those numbers finds what we are searching for.
Chris Fagan’s side booted just nine goals from their 46 opportunities at a rate of 19.6 per cent, compared to the Hawks’ 31.1 per cent chances of finding the big sticks.
The Hawks’ efficiency going inside 50 was well above their 2019 numbers.
Hawthorn boasted three multiple goal kickers on Sunday with a further five also chiming in with a major.
It all combined to show a much more offensively-minded brand of footy from Alastair Clarkson’s side, which only managed to stop Sunday’s final score on three occasions last year.
If the Hawks are able to replicate this effort whenever footy gets the green light to recommence, they will be a very difficult side to defend against.