Hawks Set To Stop Rising Suns

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/George Salpigtidis
Jarryd Roughead has been a constant forward threat for Hawthorn. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/George Salpigtidis


Last Three Meetings

Round 21, 2012 – Hawthorn 129 d Gold Coast 65 (MCG)
Round 24, 2011 – Hawthorn 106 d Gold Coast 97 (Metricon Stadium)
Round 13, 2011 – Hawthorn 129 d Gold Coast 58 (Aurora Stadium)


Form

     Rd 4       Rd 5       Rd 6       Rd 7       Rd 8   
Hawthorn   W  W  W  W  W
Gold Coast   L  W  L  W  W

The Gold Coast Suns have already won more matches in 2013 than they managed in either of their previous two seasons, but a quick glance at the AFL ladder shows why. So far they have overcome teams placed 15th through 18th, and they were just two points away from knocking off 14th-placed Brisbane. Guy McKenna’s team will have to set its sights a lot higher this week taking on ladder leader Hawthorn .

The Suns are yet to be fully blown away by the Hawks in any of their three meetings, but then again Hawthorn sent a near second-string side up to Metricon Stadium at the end of 2011 and still managed to escape with a nine-point win. Hawthorn never had to get out of first gear last week in disposing of the Giants by 83 points and with this match to be followed by another soft game against Melbourne, it’s an ideal chance for Alastair Clarkson’s group to take their collective foot off the throttle for a couple of weeks.

The loss of Zac Smith for the season with a serious knee injury is a big blow for the Suns, and they also lose classy Harley Bennell due to a hamstring problem. Josh Gibson returns for the Hawks while ruckman David Hale is out with an ankle injury.


Key Men

(Hawks) Jarryd Roughead – A lot of the chat recently has been about how much one Hawthorn forward, Lance Franklin, has been struggling. The same can’t be said for his offsider, Jarryd Roughead. He kicked four in the win over the Swans and backed that up against GWS with five last week. As usual he has been pinch hitting in the ruck this season, but his goals per game average is back up where it was in 2008 and 2009. With an ability to also play on the ball, Roughead is undoubtedly one of Hawthorn’s most important assets.

(Bombers) Tom Murphy – After being dropped for a grand final for the second time in his career in 2012, Tom Murphy probably feels he has a point to prove to Hawthorn, and in particular, coach Clarkson. Even though Cyril Rioli won’t be around this weekend, Murphy will still get one of the Hawks’ array of small forwards to keep quiet. He has added some experience to the Suns’ backline this year and five times this year the expansion outfit has kept teams to under 100 points.


Prediction

The scoreboard flattered Hawthorn last week according to Alastair Clarkson as the Giants tackled themselves to a standstill in Launceston. The Suns probably have more mature, big bodies around the ground, but they’ll need to fight every bit as hard to stay anywhere near a team which has the potential to put points on the board at a rapid rate of knots. The Suns are probably more likely to back their ability and push forward of the ball, but that could also open opportunities for Hawthorn to set the scoreboard alight. Hawks by 63 points

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