Etihad Stadium – Friday 27 July – 7:50PM
Hawthorn will be vying for blood when they meet with arch-rivals Essendon at Etihad Stadium Friday night.
Fresh off their commanding performance against Collingwood the Hawks now turn their eye on the Bombers, who have stumbled in previous weeks.
Essendon has been hit hard with injury yet again this week, with David Myers and Ricky Dyson both set to miss while Stewart Crameri remains highly doubtful.
In more positive news for the Bombers, Jason Winderlich makes his way back in to the side for his first game after his ACL injury in round 4 of 2011 to give Essendon some much needed leg speed. Heath Hocking also returns from suspension while Alex Browne comes in for his third career AFL game after impressing at Bendigo.
There are no such concerns at the Hawks however with captain Luke Hodge making his long awaited return from injury while Brent Guerra returns from suspension to leave Hawthorn missing just Lance Franklin from its best side. Kyle Cheney and Tom Murphy are the unlucky two who miss out.
The elite kicking skills of both Hodge and Guerra will only bolster a Hawthorn team that is immaculate to watch by foot, allowing the Hawks to slice through teams like a hot knife through butter.
Essendon has proven this season to be susceptible to flooding the center corridor, with the Bombers falling in to the trap of playing on without caution – resulting in a spike in turn overs and subsequent scores against.
Hawthorn will looks to exploit this once again, with Guerra and Hodge adding to the rebounding capabilities of the Hawks, who will capitalise on any opportunity.
Even more concerning for Essendon is the spread of goal kickers Hawthorn has been able to create, as Hawthorn midfielders work hard to create as many avenues to goal as possible, effectively resulting in Essendon almost having to play a 12 man defence to counteract the six Hawthorn midfielders floating forward.
While Essendon should be a lot more competitive than their last encounter, Hawthorn should still prove to be too strong for the Bombers.
Prediction: Hawthorn by 16 points
B: Mark Baguley, Jake Carlisle, Kyle Hardingham
HB: Courtenay Dempsey, Dustin Fletcher, Cale Hooker
C: Dyson Heppell, Brent Stanton, Jake Melksham
HF: Jason Winderlich, Scott Gumbleton, Stewart Crameri
F: Leroy Jetta, David Hille, Alwyn Davey
Foll: Tom Bellchambers, Jobe Watson, Heath Hocking
I/C: Nathan Lovett-Murray, Angus Monfries, Ben Howlett, Alex Browne
Emg: Tayte Pears, Elliott Kavanagh, Cory Dell’Olio
In: Heath Hocking, Jason Winderlich, Alex Browne
Out: Ricky Dyson (Ankle), David Myers (Achilles), Cory Dell’Olio
B: Brent Guerra, Josh Gibson, Benjamin Stratton
HB: Matt Suckling, Ryan Schoenmakers, Grant Birchall
C: Isaac Smith, Sam Mitchell, Clinton Young
HF: Brendan Whitecross, Jack Gunston, Jordan Lewis
F: Paul Puopolo, Jarryd Roughead, Cyril Rioli
Foll: David Hale, Shaun Burgoyne, Brad Sewell
I/C: Luke Hodge, Liam Shiels, Shane Savage, Luke Breust
Emg: Max Bailey, Thomas Murphy, Kyle Cheney
In: Brent Guerra, Luke Hodge
Out: Thomas Murphy, Kyle Cheney