Refreshed from the bye, Essendon was looking to steer their season back on track by beating the reigning premiers for the second time this season. It was always going to be a tall order with Hawthorn fielding a full strength side (barring Cyril Rioli who was at a family funeral) and Essendon still waiting for a large portion of its best 22 to be available for selection again. The end result was a 38 point loss, but some of these numbers would suggest that Essendon weren’t as far off as the scores suggest.
While on the topic of the scores, Hawthorn notched 16.18.114 while Essendon drilled 11.10.76. This shows that Hawthorn was at 47% scoring efficiency while Essendon actually at 52%. The difference is that Hawthorn had 34 scoring shots while Essendon only managed 21. This is not a great return for Essendon who only had 6 inside 50’s less than Hawthorn.
Breaking it down quarter by quarter, Q1 was 2.4 v 2.5 Essendon’s way, Q2 3.4 to 3.2 Hawthorns way, and Q4 was 5.4 to 4.2 Hawthorns way. This game was won in the 3rd quarter alone, with Hawthorn slamming 6.6 to a mere 2.1.
With 55 inside 50’s, Hawthorn scored 62% of the time, 29% of these being goals. Essendon, while managing and impressive 49 entries logged a not so impressive 44% score return, and 22% goal return. It is very clear that once again, the young forward line is costing Essendon. This is despite the shake up the line has seen and return of star Jason Winderlich for his first game of the year. Essendon had 8 individual behind scorers, including Jobe Watson and Brendon Goddard, and only 2 multiple goal scorers in Carlisle (3) and J. Merrett (2). Good news is that 8 players each combined to the goal count, suggesting that Essendon is looking for new ways to score.
Slow ball movement has also troubled Essendon of late, however against Hawthorn; Essendon moved the ball with very close efficiency (74% Hawthorn, 73% Essendon). Of these disposals, 49% by foot compared to 58% for Hawthorn. This is suggesting that Hawthorn was still at the top of their game for kicking accuracy which is assisting their quick ball movement. Essendon still have work to do in this area.
The final point is regarding how hard these teams fought. Hawthorn is renowned for being a very tough side. Against Essendon, the contested ball was only 2 in Hawthorns favour (134 to 132) and contested marks were dead even, 13 a-piece. Essendon also won the tackle count by 10, but disappointingly Hawthorn laid 10 tackles to 5 inside the defensive 50 suggesting their defensive pressure was much higher than Essendon’s – a part of the game Essendon has typically prided itself on.
What fans can take out of this game is that once again, Essendon showed up willing to compete, but the list, particularly up forward is unable to deliver on the expectations laid out to them by the coaches. Factoring in the quality of opposition, Essendon can at least take confidence from the 1st, 2nd and 4th quarters where the game was a level playing field.
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