Hawks Take On Beefed Up Eagles

Buddy Franklin should be in action on Friday night. Image courtesy of: heraldsun.com.au
Lance Franklin has a strong record against the Eagles. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
Last Five Matches

Round 2, 2013 – Hawthorn 148 d West Coast 98 at Patersons Stadium
Round 23, 2012 – Hawthorn 95 d West Coast 70 at MCG
Round 4, 2012 – West Coast 51 d Hawthorn 46 at Patersons Stadium
Round 4, 2011 – Hawthorn 72 d West Coast 65 at Aurora Stadium
Round 7, 2010 – West Coast 102 d Hawthorn 94 at Patersons Stadium


Form

     Rd 8       Rd 9       Rd 10       Rd 11       Rd 12   
Hawthorn    W  W  W  B  W
West Coast    W  W  L  W  B

Much like fellow top four aspirant Fremantle, Hawthorn came off the bye looking a little bit rusty coming off the bye, and probably should have been beaten by a better Carlton outfit on Friday night. A final quarter burst allowed the Hawks to get home by 15 points and extend their winning streaks in 2013 and against the Blues to 10 matches.

One team which looked like it was desperately in need of the bye was West Coast . The Eagles were very sluggish in losing to Richmond at home, before scrapping their way to the four points against struggling St Kilda in round 11 at Etihad Stadium, prevailing by four points.

The Eagles have received a massive boost for this clash with veteran guns Josh Kennedy, Mark LeCras, Beau Waters and Darren Glass returning to the 22. Adam Selwood and Josh Hill are both out with injury. A corked calf to Isaac Smith means the Hawks have one enforced change with livewire Shane Savage coming in to the team.


Key Men

(Hawks) Brian Lake – Chances are he will never reach the heights of his 2010 All-Australian season again, but Brian Lake is working his way back to top form after an injury-plagued start to his Hawthorn career. His ability to win one-on-one contests and also drift off his man to take intercept marks gives the Hawks’ defence a different dimension this season. His strengths were on show on Friday night as he and spoiling specialist Josh Gibson blanketed in-form Jarrad Waite. It’s an even bigger job against an Eagles team featuring some of the best marking talent in the competition.

(Eagles) Scott Selwood – He gained his name as a tagger, and he is still a brilliant lockdown player, but Scott Selwood is almost the Eagles most important midfielder these days. When West Coast was looking ordinary the past two matches, it was Selwood who stepped up. He led the possession count against Richmond with 31 and did the same versus the Saints tallying 33. His ball-winning ability has gone through the roof, but he has still laid a league-high 86 tackles to date.


Prediction

Surprisingly, this will be the first time these teams have met at Etihad Stadium. The Eagles have a decent record at the venue, having won six of the nine matches they’ve played there since the 2011 season. Hawthorn plays there even less than their opponents from the west, although their last seven starts at the dome have reaped six wins and a draw. West Coast has lost its last five away clashes with Hawthorn, but three of those were in Launceston. It has been the Eagles’ Perth form that has been more concerning this season with four losses already at Patersons Stadium in 2013. Lance Franklin has bagged 20 goals in his past five games against John Worsfold’s side, and that includes one return of 1,6. He looked to be working his way back to form against Carlton, and could have a field day if the Eagles are as bad as they were in a 50-point loss to the Hawks earlier this season. Hawthorn by 42 points .

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