Lance Franklin kicked 13 goals against North Melbourne last season. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
Last Five Meetings
Round 10, 2012 – Hawthorn Hawks 174 d North Melbourne Kangaroos 59
Round 20, 2011 – Hawthorn Hawks 103 d North Melbourne Kangaroos 86
Round 5, 2010 – North Melbourne Kangaroos 82 d Hawthorn Hawks 70
Round 15, 2009 – Hawthorn Hawks 73 d North Melbourne Kangaroos 64
Round 3, 2009 – Hawthorn Hawks 123 d North Melbourne Kangaroos 69
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You can’t escape from the fact that when these teams met last year, Lance Franklin kicked an incredible bag of 13 goals as the Hawks completely and utterly destroyed North Melbourne . Kangaroos coach Brad Scott admitted his team couldn’t control ‘Buddy’ that day, and the likes of Scott Thompson, Nathan Grima, Michael Firrito and Jamie McMillan may well be waking up in cold sweats at the thought of the Hawks star unleashing on them again this week.
Hawthorn barely needed to get out of second gear in disposing of an undermanned Fremantle last weekend. That made it three on the trot after falling apart in the opening round against Geelong, and those wins have come by an average of 49 points against quality teams in the Dockers, Eagles and Magpies. It’s a scary thought for opposition teams. With backman Ryan Schoenmakers out for the season with a knee injury, recruit Brian Lake comes in for his first AFL game with the Hawks where he’s likely to get the job on Drew Petrie .
Majak Daw’s remarkable debut where he kicked a goal in the first minute against Brisbane was, sadly, the big talking point to come out of a game where the luckless ‘Roos finally ran in to some feeble opposition after dropping three games where they were in winnable positions. Lindsay Thomas continued his fine season with four more goals to take his tally for the year to 16.
(Hawks) Jarryd Roughead – Yes, Lance Franklin can be great on his day, but it’s players like Jarryd Roughead who make him look all the better. With Max Bailey and David Hale sharing the ruck duties, Roughead was able to station himself permanently up forward last week, and he made the most of it kicking four goals. North’s backline is very good at launching attacks from the defensive half of the ground, but their emphasis on Sunday will have to be shutting down Hawthorn’s peerless forward line.
(Kangaroos) Ryan Bastinac – One area North Melbourne struggles with, at times, is its ability to keep midfielders on the ground due to their low endurance level (see Jack Ziebell or Ben Cunnington if evidence is needed). One player who doesn’t have that issue is Ryan Bastinac . While Andrew Swallow is North’s best in the middle, Bastinac gives the team plenty of run, and if he can bridge the gap between his good and bad days, he’ll turn in to a very good outside midfielder. He was outstanding against Geelong and very good against Brisbane last week, and North will need plenty of workers against Hawthorn’s elite centremen.
While North Melbourne thoroughly deserved its first win last week, the fact of the matter is they’ve lost three games this season to premiership contenders already. None of those teams was in the imposing form Hawthorn is right now. The Kangas are still growing as a team and in the next year or two should be able to challenge the best in the competition, but right now Hawthorn is still the benchmark. Hawks by 34 points
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