Where and When: Aurora Stadium, 1:10pm AEST
TV and Radio: Fox Footy (Live)/SEN and ABC774
Odds: Hawthorn $1.33, Sydney $3.45
Hawthorn and Sydney will both receive big boosts to their sides coming into their Sunday clash, with club captains Luke Hodge and Adam Goodes returning to the fray for what is looming as an enticing contest.
Tough Hawthorn midfielder Brad Sewell will also line-up for his 150th game on Sunday, while Adam Goodes will surpass the Sydney club record for games played in his 304th.
Hawthorn have had a rough first month to their season, but have still managed to eke out two wins against quality opposition. Both their losses have come at under a goal, while their wins against Adelaide and Collingwood were far more comfortable.
Sydney have flown under the radar on their way to a 4-0 start to 2012, but face their first big challenge of the year facing the Hawks in Launceston. A win here would cement their status as real challengers this year, while a poor loss would have many AFL supporters asking questions.
Hawthorn have won their last seven at Aurora Stadium and four of their past six against Sydney, including a big win in 2011’s semi-final.
The Hawks welcome back Luke Bruest and Grant Birchall from one-week injuries, while the fiery second-year player Paul Puopolo comes in for his first game of the season.
After losing Gary Rohan for the season with a broken leg, the Swans have brought back Lewis Roberts-Thomson and Nicholas Smith from similarly small lay-offs.
David Hale vs Mark Seaby – Both clubs are missing their number one ruckman so this shapes as an important contest. Hale has been dependable at the Hawks but is used more in a forward-role typically. Broc McCauley hasn’t been able to force his way back into the side so Hale will shoulder the majority of the load, but he can most likely get some assistance from Jarryd Roughead.
Shane Mumford is a big loss to a Swans side that typically plays one ruckman, but Mark Seaby was more than serviceable against a strong North Melbourne outfit and should be able to at least make a contest. With Jesse White dropped, he’ll struggle for reliable assistance.
Ryan Schoenmakers/Josh Gibson vs Adam Goodes and Sam Reid – Two seasoned players and two promising young players will battle it out in Sydney’s forward 50 and it’s vital that Schoenmakers provides a proper contest against whoever is playing at centre-half-forward, as Goodes is likely to be moved around the ground.
Gibson has been in fantastic form and will need to keep his top-notch rate of spoiling/marking up to stop someone with a pair of hands like Reid.
Lance Franklin vs Ted Richards – Richards is often an unsung hero but is fairly reliable at making an opponent work for that game.
Eric Mackenzie of the West Coast Eagles was said to have a good game against Franklin but Buddy still managed 7 shots on goal. If he has his kicking boots on this weekend, there might not be much Richards can do to stop him.
Hawthorn need to notch up consecutive wins and have turned Aurora Stadium into a mini-fortress. They’ll welcome Luke Hodge back with a win.
Hawthorn by 14
B: Benjamin Stratton, Josh Gibson, Brent Guerra
HB: Grant Birchall, Ryan Schoenmakers, Matt Suckling
C: Liam Shiels, Sam Mitchell, Shane Savage
HF: Shaun Burgoyne, Lance Franklin, Michael Osborne
F: Cyril Rioli, Jarryd Roughead, Luke Breust
Foll: David Hale, Brad Sewell, Jordan Lewis
Inter: Kyle Cheney, Luke Hodge, Paul Puopolo, Bredan Whitecross
Emerg: Broc McCauley, Cameron Bruce, Clinton Young
In: Luke Hodge, Grant Birchall, Paul Puopolo, Luke Bruest
Out: Cameron Bruce, Clinton Young, Jack Gunston, Brad Hill
B: Martin Mattner, Heath Grundy, Alex Johnson
HB: Jarrad McVeigh, Ted Richards, Rhyce Shaw
C: Kieren Jack, Jude Bolton, Lewis Jetta
HF: Nick Malceski, Adam Goodes, Andrejs Everitt
F: Craig Bird, Sam Reid, Ben McGlynn
Foll: Mark Seaby, Josh P. Kennedy, Ryan O’Keefe
Inter: Dan Hannebery, Luke Parker, Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Nick Smith
Emerg: Tony Armstrong, Tommy Walsh, Jesse White
In: Adam Goodes, Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Nick Smith
Out: Gary Rohan (broken leg), Jesse White, Tony Armstrong
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