WHERE AND WHEN: The MCG, Friday June 29, 7.50pm
LAST TIME: Carlton 8.18 (66) def by Hawthorn 10.18 (78), round 22, 2011 at Etihad Stadium
Tonight’s contest at the MCG appears set to become season defining for both clubs, with the respective chances of Carlton and Hawthorn relying upon a strong performance tonight.
A loss tonight would mean disaster for both sides, with Hawthorn needing to remain close to the top four and Carlton desperate to regain a spot in the top eight after appearing like certain September combatants after five weeks.
The Blues have lost five of their past six games, their one victory coming against a lowly Melbourne outfit. Coach Brett Ratten faced rumours before the season that anything less than a September campaign – one which included at least one victory – would see a change in coach at Carlton.
Now they are in the middle of a form slide which has seen them fall out of the eight and battling for the final spot with four other clubs.
It was a similar tale at Hawthorn, but Hawthorn rallied and responded. They received brutal amounts of criticism after their losses to Richmond and Sydney, but slowly they’ve managed to regain the form which saw them such a danger last September.
The Hawks are a game behind second spot on the ladder, but currently sit in fifth spot. A win tonight not only improves their credentials, but goes a long way to giving Hawthorn the double chance that is often required for a serious premiership tilt.
It seems simple enough, but one side is in form, whilst the other is not. Hawthorn have options up forward, depth in the midfield and that should be enough for them to stave off the Blues.
Hawthorn by 26
B: Zach Tuohy, Michael Jamison, Nick Duigan
HB: Bryce Gibbs, Matthew Watson, Christopher Yarran
C: Heath Scotland, Chris Judd, Kade Simpson
HF: Dennis Armfield, Shaun Hampson, Andrew Walker
F: Jeffrey Garlett, Matthew Kreuzer, Eddie Betts
Foll: Robert Warnock, Mitch Robinson, Andrew Carrazzo
I/C: David Ellard, Aaron Joseph, Brock McLean, Joshua Bootsma
Emg: Paul Bower, Andrew Collins, Frazer Dale
B: Brent Guerra, Josh Gibson, Benjamin Stratton
HB: Matt Suckling, Ryan Schoenmakers, Grant Birchall
C: Jordan Lewis, Sam Mitchell, Isaac Smith
HF: Cyril Rioli, Lance Franklin, Shane Savage
F: Luke Breust, Jarryd Roughead, Paul Puopolo
Foll: David Hale, Shaun Burgoyne, Brad Sewell
I/C: Clinton Young, Brendan Whitecross, Liam Shiels, Jack Gunston
Emg: Thomas Murphy, Kyle Cheney, Bradley Hill