AFL 2021 LIVE updates: Clarkson’s countdown clock begins as Hawks face Freo

Key posts

  • Hardwick a late withdrawal
  • Team changes
  • Today’s milestones
  • Beginning of the end for Clarko
  • Fyfe starred last time against Hawks
  • Hawks deadly from close to goal
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Hardwick a late withdrawal

Blake Hardwick (hamstring tightness) has been replaced in Hawthorn’s selected side by Damon Greaves.

Oliver Hanrahan (Hawthorn) and Connor Blakely (Fremantle) are the medical substitutes.

Blake Hardwick.Credit:Getty Images

Team changes

HAWTHORN
In: Denver Grainger-Barras, Emerson Jeka, Tyler Brockman
Out: Blake Hardwick (hamstring tightness), Jai Newcombe, Tim O’Brien

FREMANTLE
In: Bailey Banfield, Connor Blakely
Out: Brett Bewley (injured), Mitch Crowden (medi-sub)

Tyler Brockman.Credit:Getty Images

Today’s milestones

Nat Fyfe (Fre) – 200 games
Dayne Zorko (BL) – 200 games
Lachie Henderson (Geel) – 200 games
Sam Menegola (Geel) – 100 games

Nat Fyfe.Credit:Getty Images

Beginning of the end for Clarko

It’s the start of a new era in many ways at Hawthorn with Alastair Clarkson coaching his first game at the Hawks with the knowledge that his illustrious reign at the club has an official end date.

Assuming Clarkson sees out the remainder of his contract, following the announcement that Sam Mitchell will take over the reins in 2023, this will be the first of a minimum 29 more games that Clarkson will be in charge of the Hawks.

It’s a hugely important game for the Dockers who could temporarily be inside the top eight if they win today.

The problem for Freo is that today they are playing at a ground where they’ve only won once from 12 attempts and are 0-10 there against the Hawks.

However, Launceston isn’t the happy hunting ground that it once was for Clarkson’s men who have now lost three of their last four there (they won 19 games in a row at the venue at one stage).

If Fremantle win today, it would be the first time in their history that they beat Hawthorn three times in a row.

Sam Mitchell and Alastair Clarkson last year.Credit:Getty Images

Last time they met: Dockers deny Hawks a second stirring comeback for 2021

Hawthorn had been admirable and, dare we say, impressive in rounds one to three but the manner in which they began their 13.18 (96) to 12.9 (81) loss to Fremantle on Sunday belied that idea of Alastair Clarkson’s men.

The stirring comeback win against Essendon and the two losses full of promise and effort against Richmond and Geelong that followed would have filled Hawks fans with pride.

Not Sunday’s early showing, though. In the first term in Perth, they looked an entirely different team.

Click here to read the full report.

Hawthorn’s Harry Morrison looks to break free from a Nat Fyfe tackle.Credit:Getty Images

Fyfe starred last time against Hawks

Hawks deadly from close to goal

Hawthorn has recorded a scoring accuracy of 78.1 per cent from 15-30 metres out – the
highest percentage of any side and 14.6 per cent above the AFL average. Fremantle has
posted a scoring accuracy of 50 per cent from that distance – the worst percentage and
13.5 per cent below the league average.

Greetings, everybody

Hello and welcome to our live Saturday AFL mega blog for round 17.

Kicking things off is a clash between Hawthorn and Fremantle in Launceston in what is the Hawks’ first game since the bombshell Clarkson-Mitchell coaching handover was annouced.

How will the Hawks respond to the massive news? We’ll find out in about an hour’s time!

The twilight clash sees Carlton take on Geelong at the MCG and later tonight, the Brisbane Lions lock horns with St Kilda at Metricon Stadium.

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