the study of the kicking components within sports

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Punters Answer the Big Question: Hawthorn or Fremantle?

The Australian Rules football season comes to its grand conclusion this weekend with the AFL Grand Final, where the Hawthorn Hawks will face the Fremantle Dockers. 

We checked in with a few Aussies, most of whom have become associated with American football punting, to get their thoughts on the big game.

Darren Bennett (from Sydney Australia)
former San Diego Chargers punter, also played for West Coast and Melbourne in the AFL
"Fremantle--- I grew up playing for East Fremantle and I know what it means to all those great Freo families that have felt like second class citizens to the North of the river Eagles fans when they won their premierships..This would rebalance the Perth / Fremantle rivalry... GO DOCKERS!!"
Jamie Keehn (from Gracemere, Queensland, Australia)
punter for Louisiana State University
"Same time last year a picked Hawthorn over Sydney and that didn't turn out too well, but I think this year Hawthorne will take it. They won't loose two years in a row. Hawthorn mid field is going to be to strong and buddy will kick five"
Cameron Johnston (from Geelong, Victoria, Australia)
punter for Ohio State University
"Hawthorn, because their tall forwards like Franklin are too strong for Fremantle defenders and Hawthorn's midfield is easily one of the strongest in the competition. Hawthorn should win comfortably I think."
John Smith (from Leafield England)
former NFL and CFL kicker, now with Prokick Australia
"Hawthorn. Still unable to play 4 quarters of football but will dominate the third (Championship) quarter and come home with a wet sail in the fourth quarter. Individual moments of brilliance will be too much for what is a really solid Freo team."
Daniel Cadona (from Darwin, Northern Territories, Australia)
punter for  University of Louisiana at Lafayette
"Definitely Hawthorn! The Hawthorn Hawks has been my favourite team since i can ever remember. The reasons why they will win on saturday is because of the big game experience that the team has. Hawthorn last one the flag in 2008 and a lot of the players from that year are still playing. They made it to the Grand Final last year but ultimately lost to the Sydney Swans but will be a much better side and more prepared for this week due to the experience. Fremantle are a young side with very little finals experience and very little big game experience in general. Besides the Derby with West Coast they don't play in front of the biggest crowds at the MCG like Hawthorn does when they meet teams like Carlton, Essendon or Collingwood.

Another reason will be the forward line for the Hawks. Lance "Buddy" Franklin, Jared Roughhead and Cyril Rioli are all superstars of the game that will make life very tough for the Fremantle defence. Those three players were very quiet last week in the preliminary final against Geelong, only kicking 1.3 between them. These players rarely have 2 bad games in a row and are very good at producing their best on the big stage. Look for Franklin and Rioli to get goals early in the match. On top of these strike weapons the spread of goal kickers that the Hawks produce each week will also put continuous pressure on the Fremantle side.

Finally, the defence for the Hawks has been their biggest concern over the last few years during their success, but with acquiring Brian Lake, an All Australian Full Back from the Western Bulldogs at the start of the season has strengthen the defence and provided a another big body down there to compliment the running game that the Hawks defence is known for.

Overall I think the experience and the more structurally sound team that the hawks possess will result in them winning the game and winning comfortably. I predict Hawks by 32."
Alex Dunnachie (from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
former punter for University of Hawaii
"Hawthorn. Fremantle look like a team on the rise but their inexperience is going to cost them on the country's biggest stage. Hawthorn are proven warriors who have multiple match-winner type players that will be too difficult to shut them all down. Hawthorn by 23."
Dave Lonie (from Palm Beach Australia)
former punter for University of California
"I think Fremantle's pressure that they have put on teams all season will be enough to force turnovers in the grand final and come out on top."
Jay Karutz (from Sydney Australia)
punter for Eastern Michigan University
"I think Hawthorn will have to much firepower in the forward line and desire and leadership in defense through the likes of Mitchell and Hodge. Fremantle who's game is based primarily around defense will keep it close but will be pushed to the edge and probably found wanting with the majority of this Hawthorn side playing in several Grand Finals over the years. It will however be a tight Grand Final which will see Hawthorn get up by about 18 points."
Jake Walsh (from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
punter for Old Dominion University
"I'm going with Fremantle by 9 points because I think Ross Lyon is a genius. They play a lock down style of footy that makes them often impenetrable and that will hopefully frustrate the Hawks into silly mistakes. "
Darcy Williamson (from Victoria, Australia)
punter for Jackson State University
"I'm a Geelong fan so instinctively I hate Hawthorn. So Freo, hoping they can win their first premiership."
Nick Porebski (from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
punter for Snow College
"Fremantle for the win. I think the underdogs will get up."
Tom Hackett (from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)
punter for University of Utah
"Freo, simple because the purple haze has finally made it to the last weekend of September and they won't let it go. I think they are playing great footy and match up well against the Hawks."
Tim Gleeson (from Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia)
punter for Santa Barbara City College
"I have always had a little soft spot for the Dockers! Maybe it was their obscure guernsey’s as it definitely wasn’t their theme song! Back in the mid 2000's when Essendon weren't travelling that great, I happened to follow many of the Bombers players who were offloaded (along with Mark Harvey) to Fremantle. I enjoyed the game style they played and happened to follow many of their games, as they were a young team on the rise and quite frankly playing much better football than Essendon. Vice Versa Hawthorn, being sworn enemies of the Bombers, were never really a team I could support. My best friend in primary school had grown up supporting the Hawks meaning that I often had to face a years worth knocking whenever they pumped us. After seeing Richie Vandenberg single handedly beat up the entire Essendon football team, I knew I could never support them. The rivalry continued especially after Matty Lloyd steam rolled Brad Sewell and Campbell Brown lost his marbles.

However, this upcoming weekend I see Hawthorn winning the Holy Grail of football! The Dockers have historically never played well at the ‘G and this being there first GF appearance, I can’t see them putting up much of a fight. They still have a young side and with superstars such as Nat Fyfe and Michael Barlow still with many years of football in them, they should be a dominant force in the years to come. Furthermore, a friend of mine from high school, Sam Grimley, is on the Hawthorn list and was a part of the reserves premiership team last weekend. Many of my close friends back home are great mates with several of the Hawks boys so maybe just this one time I can ride the Hawkers home. I’m backing Nathan Chapman’s (head coach at ProKick Australia’s) alma mater Hawthorn to win by a very comfortable margin!

Hawthorn by 56 points Norm Smith: Luke Hodge (roughy Matt Spangher)"
Ben Graham (from Leopold, Victoria, Australia)
former NFL punter; also a former Geelong Cat
"Fremantle by 15 points. Here's why:
- the pressure Fremantle will put on Hawthorn's midfield will limit the opportunities Franklin and Roughead will get.
- Fremantle's small forwards Ballantyne and Walters will be lively around Pavlich and create scoring opportunities at ground level. 
- Crowley will limit Mitchell's ball winning ability. 
- I had Fremantle for Premiers after the Bulldogs played them week 2 of the preseason where they were unbelievably big, strong and disciplined and had structures around the ground which were hard to break down."

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