Hawks Lose No Friends Even Without Buddy

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/George Salpigtidis
Jarryd Roughead kicked five goals against Port Adelaide last week. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/George Salpigtidis
Last Five Matches

Round 16, 2012 – Hawthorn 116 d Western Bulldogs 44 at Etihad Stadium
Round 23, 2011 – Hawthorn 113 d Western Bulldogs 67 at MCG
Round 10, 2011 – Hawthorn 91 d Western Bulldogs 62 at Etihad Stadium
Round 14, 2010 – Hawthorn 79 d Western Bulldogs 76 at MCG
Round 3, 2010 - Western Bulldogs 100 d Hawthorn 84 at Etihad Stadium


Form

     Rd 12       Rd 13       Rd 14       Rd 15       Rd 16   
Hawthorn    W  W  W  L  W
Western Bulldogs    L  L  L  W  L

It was no surprise to see Hawthorn spring back from its second loss of the season to Geelong by easily accounting for Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium on Saturday. Even without late withdrawal Lance Franklin, the Hawks had way too much firepower winning by 45 points , with former Adelaide forward Jack Gunston kicking five on his old home ground, as did in-form big man Jarryd Roughead .

The Western Bulldogs showed plenty of fight in their 31-point loss to Essendon on Sunday. If not for a strange umpiring decision which cost Bulldogs Nathan Hrovat a goal, the Doggies would have been within one straight kick of the ‘Dons with plenty of time left on the clock in the fourth term. After ordinary efforts in the loss to Melbourne and the four-point victory over GWS, this was a welcome return to form against one of the best teams in the competition.

With Shaun Burgoyne suspended, Hawthorn will hand a debut to Will Langford, son of former Hawks champion, Chris Langford. Brad Sewell remains on the outer while Franklin will miss another week due to knee soreness. The Bulldogs have lost Clay Smith for the season with a knee injury with youngster Jackson Macrae coming in to the side.


Key Men

(Hawks) Isaac Smith – Opposition coaches must look at Hawthorn’s line-up and scratch their heads at how to stop all of the Hawks’ weapons, and then you have players like Isaac Smith who fly under the radar. The slightly built midfielder with the raking left-boot was again one of his side’s best on Saturday with 26 touches and three goals. He is also a rugged player without the ball; his nine tackles against Port was a career high, and he averages four per game, which is pretty good for a player who spends little time around stoppages.

(Bulldogs) Luke Dahlhaus – He showed on Sunday that his kicking is still ordinary, but one thing that impresses you immediately about Luke Dahlhaus is the fight in this dog. After struggling mid-season, Dahlhaus seems to have enjoyed moving further up the ground of late and kicked three goals in an impressive showing against the Bombers. Given his team lacks natural goalkickers, tallies like that in the future will certainly be welcomed.


Prediction

The margin in this match will more than likely be decided by just how much Hawthorn wants to destroy its opponent. Full credit to the Bulldogs for the way they performed against the Bombers, but getting close to Essendon without Jobe Watson is very different to heading down to Launceston to take on a Hawks outfit which ritually slays teams that dare to head to Tasmania. Hawthorn hasn’t quite been beating up on teams this season as we have become accustomed to this season (apart from the hapless Giants and Demons), but it’s hard to see the ‘Dogs getting up for another A grade performance after getting so close last week. Hawthorn by 62 points .

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