Hawks Set To Bounce Back Without Buddy

Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/Herald Sun
Luke Breust is a valuable small forward for Hawthorn. Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au/Herald Sun
Last Five Matches

Round 6, 2012 – Hawthorn 123 d St Kilda 88 at MCG
Round 8, 2011 – Hawthorn 99 d St Kilda 69 at MCG
Round 17, 2010 - St Kilda 87 drew Hawthorn 87 at Etihad Stadium
Round 19, 2009 - St Kilda 74 d Hawthorn 49 at Aurora Stadium
Preliminary Final, 2008 – Hawthorn 118 d St Kilda 64 at MCG


Form

     Rd 15       Rd 16       Rd 17       Rd 18       Rd 19   
St Kilda    L  L  L  L  L
Hawthorn    L  W  W  W  L

Up until last weekend, Hawthorn had only lost to Geelong this season. Enter the Richmond Tigers who rubber-stamped their spot in the final eight with a commanding 41-point win over the then premiership favourite. The Hawks’ form certainly wasn’t bad at all coming in to that game, having easily disposed of Port Adelaide and Essendon in the previous three weeks. The Tigers exposed Hawthorn at the stoppages and the Hawks’ gun forward line of Lance Franklin, Cyril Rioli, Jarryd Roughead , Luke Breust and Jack Gunston mustered just a single goal between them.

Even with Jonathan Brown going down injured early on, St Kilda never really pushed Brisbane in their 31-point defeat on Saturday night at the ‘Gabba. Despite being under investigation for taking a banned substance, small forward Ahmed Saad played and kicked two goals from just three touches. The Saints are short on personnel and short on talent at the moment, and have a horrible draw to end the season.

The Hawks are taking no chances with Lance Franklin with the forward to sit out the match with hamstring tightness, while tough as teak centreman Luke Hodge is out with an injured thumb. The Saints have made five changes with veterans Jason Blake and James Gwilt earning recalls.


Key Men

(Hawks) Luke Breust – Hawthorn has a near-unstoppable forward line, but despite having an almost identical number of inside 50s on Saturday, the Hawks’ main men barely fired a shot. With Alex Rance keeping Lance Franklin quiet and Jarryd Roughead having a rare off day, it was up to the smalls to produce, and the likes of Luke Breust couldn’t pick up the slack. He has 30 goals for the year but just five in his last five outings, and not surprisingly the Hawks have lost two of those.

(Saints) Nick Dal Santo – A few weeks ago there was serious talk that Nick Dal Santo had passed his use-by date, but he has responded with a couple of his best efforts of the season. He had 33 touches, seven marks and five tackles against Port Adelaide, and in the loss to Brisbane he was amongst his team’s best with 31 disposals and a goal. Given the lack of experience in this Saints line-up, Scott Watters probably needs Dal Santo to be a vital cog for a couple more seasons, yet.


Prediction

For the second time in three weeks, St Kilda is striking a top four team on the rebound from a surprise loss. First it was Geelong after they were run down by Adelaide, and the Cats duly smashed the Saints by 101 points at Simonds Stadium. It was really no great surprise to see the Hawks go down to the Tigers (although the margin was quite unexpected) as Richmond has been threatening to show it’s the real deal all season. As a result of that loss, it’s hard to see the Hawks showing the Saints any mercy, whatsoever. Cyril Rioli kicked six in the corresponding game last season and Lance Franklin five. Given their struggles last weekend, a clash with St Kilda’s overmatched defence is just what the doctor ordered, even if Buddy’s hamstring is getting the week off. Hawthorn by 58 points .

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