WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Saturday, May 26, 1.45pm
LAST TIME: Hawthorn 17.13 (115) d Richmond 6.16 (52), round three, 2011 at the MCG
Richmond will continue their tough start to the season on Saturday when they face a Hawthorn side which looks to have returned to form.
The Tigers are coming off yet another valiant loss against a possible finals bound team in Essendon. They reigned in a 40 point deficit to hit the front only to end up losing by three goals. This added to the growing trend in games against top 8 sides where Richmond have been competitive but haven’t been able to win.
While competitiveness may have been accepted in the past the Tigers have moved on and people both inside and outside of the club now expect them to start winning some of these games. This week provides another challenge in the form of Hawthorn; it could finally be the match where they take the big scalp.
Last week Hawthorn was able to hit some form belting Fremantle by 56 points in Tasmania. The Hawks looked impressive as they dismantled the Dockers in the first half; their silky skills and excellent forward pressure were too much.
The Hawks will be wary of Richmond but they will also be confident. They would have had this came marked down as a win at the start of the season and being aware of the Tiger’s form they will be making sure that complacency does not slip in.
Hawthorn have not made a change going into the game, they were happy with last week’s performance and are still waiting on the likes of Luke Hodge to be fit. Richmond have made two changes this week, the most significant is the loss of Dylan Grimes who would have taken either Jarryd Roughead or Lance Franklin, their defense will now be severely stretched.
Players to Watch
Deledio was best on ground last week, leading Richmond’s comeback. Many of the Tiger players look for him to deliver the football, at times he almost seems to be Richmond’s dedicated kicker out of the backline. However this is not necessarily bad as he can break the lines and has great disposal. Deledio is also capable of winning his own ball and he will be crucial to their chances.
Riewoldt has been down on his usual best this year, he hasn’t been able to take control of a game like he did last year. Whether this is a result of effort or opportunity Riewoldt needs to turn it around. With the two tall targets in Hawthorn’s forward line the Tigers can’t afford to rely on just their smalls to kick a winning score, Riewoldt needs to kick a bag.
Roughead has had a solid return from his achilles injury and this week provides him with another opportunity for a big game. With Grimes out for the Tigers Roughead will now get the third best defender, if he can get enough opportunities he will win 8 out of 10 contests and should hit the scoreboard often.
While Hale’s start to the season hasn’t been outstanding he needs to have a good game this week. His opposing player this week, Ivan Maric has been one of the best ruckman in the competition so far this year. If the Tigers are to be a chance their ability to get first hands on the ball through Maric is crucial. If Hale can negate his effect, win some of his own hit outs and even move forward and hit the scoreboard the Hawks will be well on their way to winning.
The Tigers have been playing some great football and have been very competitive but it cannot go on forever. While they have improved they are hardly to for and as a result are probably due for a down game.
Regardless of Richmond’s efforts Hawthorn should come to play. Their skills and pressure will set them apart from the Tigers and have them leaving with a win.
Hawthorn by 32
B: Steven Morris, Alex Rance, Chris Newman
HB: Bachar Houli, Jake Batchelor, Brandon Ellis
C: Shaun Grigg, Dustin Martin, Shane Edwards
HF: Brett Deledio, Tyrone Vickery, Nathan Foley
F: Reece Conca, Jack Riewoldt, Jake King
Foll: Ivan Maric, Trent Cotchin, Shane Tuck
I/C: Daniel Jackson, Robin Nahas, Ben Griffiths, Matt Dea
Emg: Matthew White, Brad Miller, Addam Maric
In: Tyrone Vickery, Ben Griffiths
Out: Dylan Grimes, Brad Miller
B: Brent Guerra, Josh Gibson, Stephen Gilham
HB: Grant Birchall, Ryan Schoenmakers, Benjamin Stratton
C: Jordan Lewis, Sam Mitchell, Liam Shiels
HF: Isaac Smith, Lance Franklin, Shane Savage
F: Cyril Rioli, Jarryd Roughead, Brendan Whitecross
Foll: David Hale, Shaun Burgoyne, Brad Sewell
I/C: Clinton Young, Luke Breust, Matt Suckling, Paul Puopolo
Emg: Kyle Cheney, Cameron Bruce, Broc McCauley
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