Melbourne: Underdog of the Round

WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Friday, May 11, 7.40pm
LAST TIME: Hawthorn 20.12 (132) d Melbourne 12.6 (78), round 18, 2011 at MCG

BigFooty Gameday Thread and Live Chat

TV: Channel 7 & Fox Footy (live 7:30pm)

RADIO: Sen, ABC 774, 3aw, Triple M

WEATHER:  Max 17, Min: 8. Partly cloudy. Isolated showers. Winds westerly up to 45 km/h

BETTING: Hawthorn $1.04, Melbourne $13. Line: Hawton -48.5points

A quick look at the odds will show you that Melbourne is the biggest outsider for round seven… and rightfully so. Whilst the Demons gave a visibly improved effort at Kardinia Park last weekend, the gulf between Melbourne and the better sides was still evident.

As often is the case with developing sides, the Melbourne faithful will be attending this one in the hope that the endeavour is high, and anything from there will be a bonus.

Hawthorn haven’t exactly been setting the world on fire of late either, however they did manage to bounce back from their embarrassing loss to the Swans with an authoritative win against St. Kilda. Most importantly, Lance Franklin and Cyril Rioli found some of the form that has eluded them in recent weeks.

The Hawks have lacked size in their key defensive posts or some time now, and the return of full back Stephen Gilham after completing three games in the VFL will bring comfort to Alistair Clarkson. The Hawks gain another injury plagued player when Clinton Young takes to the field, who is quite likey to wear the green vest and be eased into the game.

The Dees gain some flexibility by welcoming back Jamie Bennell and Ricky Petterd, and young ruckman Jack Fitzpatrick comes in for his first game of the year.

 Match ups and Tactics

Expect to see Mitch Clark and Jeremy Howe playing deep in an attempt to isolate the Hawthorn defenders for the long ball inside 50. Melbourne simply don’t have the polish to be precise all the way into their forward line, and therefore will often rely on a good contest from these two if they are to kick anything like a decent score.

James Frawley impressed in his return match last week, shutting down the competition’s in form key forward in Tom Hawkins. He will be given first crack at Buddy, and will be looking to initiate contact to take advantage of his size and strength whenever possible. On the flip side, Franklin will be well served to run hard to space in an attempt to use the versatility advantage he holds over Frawley. This promises to be one of the battles to watch.

The battle of the midfielders will see Melbourne attempting to keep this one as scrappy and contested as possible. So far this season Melbourne have been blown away in the uncontested possession count, which means the bigger bodied midfielders like Nathan Jones, Brent Moloney and James Magner will have to work overtime in the clinches.

Hawthorn on the other hand will be calling on the likes of Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis and Brad Sewell to win their share of the hard ball and distribute quickly to the spread.

Prediction

Hawthorn showed signs of returning to their best in the last quarter against the Saints. No doubt Clarkson will be drilling the importance of building on this momentum into his playing group, which should see the Hawks switched on for this clash.

Melbourne will have to play out of their skins to be in this contest in the last quarter.

Hawthorn by 70 points.

ROUND 7 TEAMS

Melbourne
B: James Frawley, Jared Rivers, Clint Bartram
HB: Jack Grimes, Colin Garland, Cale Morton
C: Ricky Petterd, Brent Moloney, Jack Trengove
HF: Nathan Jones, Mitchell Clark, Jamie Bennell
F: Jeremy Howe, Colin Sylvia, Aaron Davey
Foll: Mark Jamar, James Magner, Jordie McKenzie
I/C: Matthew Bate, Rohan Bail, Jack Fitzpatrick, Tom McDonald
Emg: Lynden Dunn, Luke Tapscott, Joel Macdonald

In: Ricky Petterd, Jamie Bennell, Jack Fitzpatrick
Out: Lynden Dunn, Luke Tapscott, James Sellar (Calf)

Hawthorn
B: Brent Guerra, Stephen Gilham, Benjamin Stratton
HB: Grant Birchall, Ryan Schoenmakers, Matt Suckling
C: Brendan Whitecross, Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis
HF: Isaac Smith, Lance Franklin, Luke Breust
F: Cyril Rioli, Jarryd Roughead, Michael Osborne
Foll: David Hale, Shaun Burgoyne, Brad Sewell
I/C: Clinton Young, Liam Shiels, Shane Savage, Paul Puopolo
Emg: Kyle Cheney, Bradley Hill, Broc McCauley

In: Stephen Gilham, Clinton Young
Out: Luke Hodge (Knee), Jarrad Boumann (Appendix)

On BigFooty

Melbourne Board Preview Thread

Hawthorn Board Gameday Thread

Both team board threads will also include the gameday chat room.

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