Hardwick masterstroke leaves Mitchell with ‘frustrating’ selection dilemma

Hardwick masterstroke leaves Mitchell with ‘frustrating’ selection dilemma

Hardwick masterstroke leaves Mitchell with ‘frustrating’ selection dilemma

It’s not certain if Hawthorn player Blake Hardwick will continue playing in the forward position in the next game. In their recent match against Collingwood, Hardwick moved from defense to the forward line in the third quarter.

He scored four goals and helped his team score a total of nine goals with teammates Dylan Moore and Jack Ginnivan. Hardwick had been training as a forward during the pre-season, but usually plays as a defender under coach Sam Mitchell. In their fourth-round match, the team had to change positions due to some players being unavailable.

The move to put Hardwick in the forward line turned out to be a great decision, as it helped the team narrow the lead of Collingwood. Despite his impressive performance, his coach is unsure if Hardwick will start in the forward position in the next match against the Suns.

Mitchell explained that Hardwick is an important player in defense, and moving him can be risky. However, adjustments were necessary during the game due to the team’s struggles, especially in the second quarter.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 07: Blake Hardwick of the Hawks in action during the 2024 AFL Round 04 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Hawthorn Hawks at Adelaide Oval on April 07, 2024 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Mitchell expressed his apprehension about moving Hardwick away from his defensive role, emphasizing his importance in that position. He acknowledged that the team faced challenges, particularly in maintaining their structure during the second quarter, which prompted them to make halftime adjustments.

As for Hardwick, while his performance as a forward was pivotal in their game against Collingwood, his coach’s cautious approach suggests that his role in the upcoming match against the Suns remains uncertain. The decision may hinge on various factors, including the team’s overall strategy, player availability, and the specific dynamics of the game as it unfolds.

Ultimately, Hardwick’s versatility and impact on the field make him a valuable asset for Hawthorn, whether he’s stationed in defense or leading the charge in attack. The final call on his position for the next game will likely be made based on careful consideration of the team’s needs and goals.

“We’ll wait and see, he’s got a few more days of recovery before we ask him to train. He would’ve been helpful today, just another wise head in front of the ball.

“We were very young today, we played a very young side and I think we had six or seven players who hadn’t played 20 games. So when you have that many you just don’t know how to handle those close situations quite as well as Collingwood. They’re obviously well-versed.”

The Hawks head to Queensland next week to face the Suns on Saturday night, carrying a 0-4 record into the match.

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