WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Sunday June 17, 1.10pm
LAST TIME: Hawthorn 16.9 (105) d Brisbane Lions 9.9 (63), round 16, 2011 at Aurora Stadium
After producing one of the upsets of the season by defeating West Coast in dramatic fashion, Brisbane will set out to repeat the shock result as it faces a strong Hawthorn side at the MCG today.
Hawthorn have won five of its past six matches and will enter today’s match as strong favourites. Despite a shaky start, the Hawks have rediscovered what makes them such a threat, and it’s no surprise that it has resulted in dominant play from forward Lance Franklin.
‘Buddy’ has raced to the top of the Coleman Medal tally with 17 goals in the past fortnight – and many more chances gone begging. The result of this clash depends a lot on whether Michael Voss has the kryptonite to slow Franklin down, otherwise this game could very easily get ugly.
Interestingly, season 2012 has already seen four players break through the 500 goals barrier – Nick Riewoldt, Stephen Milne, Matthew Pavlich and of course Jonathan Brown all reached the milestone in the first half of the year. Scarily, there will be a fifth, as Franklin’s current count of 489 means he is certain – barring injury – to break through in rare speed. At 25, he has the AFL world at his feet.
But the problems for Brisbane don’t end with the Hawks’ forward line, as the Hawthorn midfield brigade has also found a spark in recent weeks. The experienced leaders in Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis and Brad Sewell have covered the loss of captain Luke Hodge brilliantly, with young stars such as Liam Shiel and Isaac Smith quickly proving their worth in the centre.
Brisbane too have a quality young midfield, with Tom Rockliff, Jack Redden, Daniel Rich and Ryan Lester combining to form a group that Brisbane should be boasting about for years to come. They show leadership, poise and skill under duress, and it should become the envy of all clubs with a few more years of development.
Brisbane have had their fair share of problems so far this season, and they will be hoping that their victory over the Eagles will have seen them turn the corner into a positive second half of the year.
It starts in difficult fashion though, with Hawthorn possessing far too much fire power for the Lions to contain away from home.
Hawthorn by 23