Analysis “Hawthorn are middle of the road at best” discussion

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rogiebear93

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At their best is a one game thing. At their best they beat some good teams, and Geelong too. You are right about that. But that is a small sample size.

Long term trends show at best. A 22 game sample proves they were middle of the road.
This argument doesn't make sense. The statement is that Hawthorn were, at best, a middle of the road side. That's explicitly false.

But, let me take your moving of the goalposts in stride. If we're going to be all technical and break down a 22 game sample you still need to take the attributes of the game and the performance by the Hawks into context. Let's assign them categories:

Convincing = >20
Narrow = <20

Convincing Loss - Bottom 8 SideNarrow Loss - Bottom 8 SideConvincing Loss - Top 8 SideNarrow Loss - Top 8 SideNarrow Win - Bottom 8 SideConvincing Win - Bottom 8 SideNarrow Win - Top 8 SideConvincing Win - Top 8 Side
1​
3​
3​
4​
2​
4​
1​
4​

Purely based on the outcome of the games and how they were won or lost indicates we are more heavily geared towards winning convincingly than we were towards losing convincingly.

If we were being fair dinkum about analysing it, you'd also remove statistically useless games like those where we suffered a loss due to multiple in game injuries.
 

Sixpence

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We weren't at our best this year
I don't agree. Games against Geelong and West Coast at least were probably close the the best level this squad can produce. Mitchell or no Mitchell. They were very impressive games. We just weren't at that level often enough this season,
 

Furn2

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The Tigers were middle of the road in 2016, and have been the best side for then next 3 years. They didn't recruit any superstars until Lynch this year, they just clicked.

The parts are there, we just need to add a bit here and there and put it all together.
 

1888

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Sam Frost, Jon Patton, Jamie Elliott...I don't care who it is - get someone, anyone, who will make us better than a "middle of the road" team.

Anything we get out of TOM (and Impey when he returns) next year will be a bonus.
 

LuckyHawk

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Our best during the year was better than middle of the road. With a few new players and a better run with injuries
we will move up the ladder next year.
 

hk89

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Whilst there is no denying we finished middle of the road in terms of our ladder position, what fun would it be if we used the ladder as the only barometer of how a team is travelling? We've once again played a season of two halves, with the latter half being a good deal more impressive than the first half. Does it make any sense to take the average of the two halves and say that's the best measure of where we are as a team, or should we look at where we got to after Worpel stepped up and Wingard got fit enough to be useful?

Unless we expect Worpel to step back down again or Wingard to have another injury ruined pre-season, I see no reason why we shouldn't judge ourselves on how we went in the second half of the year more than the first half.

Just after the half way mark we turned a corner (just after the loss to the Swans in round 14 I reckon). If you look at the ladder based on only the last 9 rounds of the season, we are 4th. Sometimes these "end of the season" ladders can be a bit deceiving if you've had an easy run over that period compared to a harder run earlier in the year, but of those 9 games 6 were against the top 8, so a pretty tough run really. 3 of those 6 were against teams that played in the prelims, and we beat all 3 of them. The 3 losses in those 9 games included two games where we had more scoring shots.

Clearly we were playing genuinely better quality football in the latter part of the season, not just benefiting from an easier draw. Those arguing that we are middle of the road based on that form have to convince me that we are going to play more like the first half of the season Hawthorn, than the second half of the season Hawthorn in 2020, and I don't see a good argument on why that would happen. Players have stepped up in the second half that are in the age bracket where you'd expect them to be able to continue to produce that form, or even improve. I don't see any of our potential outs from retirement hurting us badly. Roughy barely played in the improved team (and not in any of the wins over good sides in the latter part of the year). Birchall barely played and was still building fitness when he did so if he never pulls on a Hawthorn jumper again it will not impact our form much (and a bonus if he does get back and play good games next year). Poppy had a down year, as expected for his age, and might not play on, but his contribution is far from irreplaceable now. We had 3 AA players in the 2018 AA team, one of them broke his leg, the other two were below their usual standards, so the logical direction of improvement for those 3 is all up (none of them are over the hill).

I'd also ask the 'we ARE middle of the road' folks, what they think changed from 2018 to 2019? We finished top 4 in 2018, so by their 'look at the ladder' logic, we were nearly top of the tree, rather than middle of the road last year. Losing Mitchell was massive, and we took about half a season to adjust. That IMO is the biggest difference between 2018 and 2019 (and a slightly harder draw, but as previously mentioned, we actually did well during a tough period in our 2019 draw, so its more adjusting to no Mitchell for mine). Yes, we went out in straight sets in 2018, but we were also unlucky, should have beaten Melbourne, but again, no JOM, and Mitchell breaking his AC joint in the first quarter left our midfield impotent.

I'll go as far as saying our 2020 team will be stronger than our top 4 2018 team, because I think these changes over the 2018 team are a net improvement:

In: Scully, Wingard, Lewis, Scrimshaw, Hanrahan , O'brien (a stretch listing him perhaps as played 11 games in 2018, but has also improved massively, and helps push Mirra/Shoey out of the 2018 side)
Out: Roughy , Burton (who was in shit form for most of the year), Mirra, Duryea, Shoey, Langford (only 6 games in 2018..)

We'll also lose Impey for a big chunk of the 2020 season, which isn't great given how well he went this year, but he wasn't a massive contributor in 2018 (solid, but much better in 2019).

We'll also have however we bring in during trade week that is ready to push into the best 22 (most likely Patton I would guess, but an unknown for now).

Looking at those ins and outs, do we really think the top 4 2018 team was considerably stronger than what we'll have on the park in round 1 next year? I don't.

Worpel probably deserves to be listed as an "In" too, such is the difference between his late 2019 and 2018 contributions.

I was disappointed with our finish this year, I figured Mitchell out would hurt us, but thought we could still scrape into the 8, but underestimated how long it would take our midfield to adjust to his absence. In the end we only just missed out. I'll be very disappointed if we miss out again in 2020 off the back of our late season form this year.
 
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MasterSamurai

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This argument doesn't make sense. The statement is that Hawthorn were, at best, a middle of the road side. That's explicitly false.

But, let me take your moving of the goalposts in stride. If we're going to be all technical and break down a 22 game sample you still need to take the attributes of the game and the performance by the Hawks into context. Let's assign them categories:

Convincing = >20
Narrow = <20

Convincing Loss - Bottom 8 SideNarrow Loss - Bottom 8 SideConvincing Loss - Top 8 SideNarrow Loss - Top 8 SideNarrow Win - Bottom 8 SideConvincing Win - Bottom 8 SideNarrow Win - Top 8 SideConvincing Win - Top 8 Side
1​
3​
3​
4​
2​
4​
1​
4​

Purely based on the outcome of the games and how they were won or lost indicates we are more heavily geared towards winning convincingly than we were towards losing convincingly.

If we were being fair dinkum about analysing it, you'd also remove statistically useless games like those where we suffered a loss due to multiple in game injuries.
Way too much explaining there. I’m sure, there are plenty of data for supporters of other clubs and how they deserved better outcomes over the last 10 years. But me, Im just looking at our ladder position for 2019 and NOT forgetting that we’ve lost to North, Saints, * , Swans , Demons as much as we beat gws wce and cats!!
9th!!
 

CHUBBSS

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Good little vid on why hunger is important, who knows but could be that 10% the triple peat players have switched off for a season or two, doesn't mean it won't come back.
 

Gralin

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I don't agree. Games against Geelong and West Coast at least were probably close the the best level this squad can produce. Mitchell or no Mitchell. They were very impressive games. We just weren't at that level often enough this season,
We had no Mitchell for the whole year and we're trying to get Scully and Wingard up to speed.
Around the time Wingard clicked we lost Impey.

Our best was good enough but I'd expect us to be more consistent next year and we still have to see what the offseason brings
 

rogiebear93

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Way too much explaining there. I’m sure, there are plenty of data for supporters of other clubs and how they deserved better outcomes over the last 10 years. But me, Im just looking at our ladder position for 2019 and NOT forgetting that we’ve lost to North, Saints, * , Swans , Demons as much as we beat gws wce and cats!!
9th!!
Abasi can I have special clearance to play the man here?
 

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hk89

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Way too much explaining there. I’m sure, there are plenty of data for supporters of other clubs and how they deserved better outcomes over the last 10 years. But me, Im just looking at our ladder position for 2019 and NOT forgetting that we’ve lost to North, Saints, * , Swans , Demons as much as we beat gws wce and cats!!
9th!!
Why put the same weight on the games early in the season when we were looking like a bottom 4 side , as you do on the games we won against good sides in the latter part of the year where our only really bad loss was North? Surely more recent games are more relevant to where the team stands. Yes, we came 9th because over the entire course of the season we were not good enough to finish higher, but I think this discussion is about where we stand NOW.

Using the season as a whole and ignoring most recent form is to me like saying the 2008 GF team was middle of the road because it averaged 9th spot if you look at the 5 seasons leading up to and including 2008. We don't think the 2008 team was middle of the road, because we look at their most recent results. I don't see any reason why we shouldn't do that with this season (albeit we are working with a smaller sample size). The team at the start of the year was worse than middle of the road, the team by the end was much better than that. The fact that it averaged middle of the road over the season doesn't say as much about where they are now as their most recent results do (IMO).
 

MasterSamurai

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Why put the same weight on the games early in the season when we were looking like a bottom 4 side , as you do on the games we won against good sides in the latter part of the year where our only really bad loss was North? Surely more recent games are more relevant to where the team stands. Yes, we came 9th because over the entire course of the season we were not good enough to finish higher, but I think this discussion is about where we stand NOW.

Using the season as a whole and ignoring most recent form is to me like saying the 2008 GF team was middle of the road because it averaged 9th spot if you look at the 5 seasons leading up to and including 2008. We don't think the 2008 team was middle of the road, because we look at their most recent results. I don't see any reason why we shouldn't do that with this season (albeit we are working with a smaller sample size). The team at the start of the year was worse than middle of the road, the team by the end was much better than that. The fact that it averaged middle of the road over the season doesn't say as much about where they are now as their most recent results do (IMO).
2008? Middle of the road?
111 points for
20 wins
Centurion
 

J in Japan

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Read it again MasterSamurai, it is the same argument used by those not agreeing with the 'at Best' part of the discussion with the sample size 5 years.
Extend the sample size to 5 seasons instead of 1 and 2008 was like the last part of the season where we were better than middle of the road.
2004 was like the start of this season where we were inconsistent and sometimes poor.
If the sample hk89 provided is looked at in it's entirety, the 2004-06 years were building towards being middle of the road. 2007 we were, 'at Best' better than middle of the road and 2008 a contender which mirrors somewhat this season gone.
 

hk89

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2008? Middle of the road?
111 points for
20 wins
Centurion
You've completely missed my point, which J in Japan has accurately reiterated.

You quite rightly point out that the 2008 flag winning team wasn't a middle of the road team because you can isolate their performance to just that year, and ignore how a team compromised of largely the same group of players performed in the previous 4 years. I'm saying you can apply the same logic to this season by compartmentalising the last 8 or 9 rounds from the start of the season. Saying a team that could produce the sustained run of good form against tough opposition in the latter part of the season is middle of the road because they were shit at the start of the year isn't that much different to saying a team from a particular year was average because the same players performed poorly in their previous seasons. 2004-2007 had become irrelevant to the 2008 team because the team had developed and moved on to a more complete unit, and I think it is fairly clear that is also the case when you compare the 2019 team at the start of the year to the end of the year, and that adding Mitchell next year will progress it even further.

Sure, a larger sample size has its advantages, but not when it includes conditions that are no longer relevant. If Worpel goes backwards and Wingard has a poor pre-season again or we get more injuries to key players next year, then 'middle of the road' becomes relevant again, but right now I just can't see it based on the team's recent run of form, especially when we have a bunch of other upsides other than just Mitchell returning, like Scully getting a full pre-season, the possibility of Breust and Gunston having good years instead of down years (by their standards), the ongoing development of younger players, some of whom are still yet to peak, and trade week still ahead of us.
 

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