In the aftermath of Hawthorn’s dramatic loss to Geelong, it seems that they have been subdued in their past claims to premiership favoritism. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have premiership credentials, but after losses to the Swans and Tigers, once again they need to prove themselves with a dominant performance against a lesser side in the build up to two difficult games in the final two rounds.
The Suns can’t wait for the end of the season, even after racking up their first win at home against GWS last Saturday. They’ve sent future midfielder star David Swallow to surgery and are looking towards 2013. However, the Suns would want to put in a supreme effort to finish the year and give them something to look forward to.
WHY SHOULD YOU TUNE IN:
Hawthorn: The Hawks regain one crowd-pulling superstar for this match, but lose another. Lance Franklin has overcome his hamstring problem after five weeks out, but Cyril Rioli has suffered a shoulder injury and will miss at least a fortnight. As a result of his layoff, Franklin now trails leader Matthew Pavlich by six goals in the Coleman Medal race, but will fancy himself to put a dent in that margin against the Suns.
Ruckmen David Hale and Max Bailey played together against the Power, but with fellow big men Jarryd Roughead and Franklin to return, the time may have come to choose one or the other. Bailey is a better tap ruckman, but Hale is more versatile. With the wide spread of goal kickers and tall forwards on the Hawks list, it’s one of many difficult selection decisions facing Alastair Clarkson in the run to September.
Gold Coast: The Suns’ injury crisis has hit critical point with a staggering 18 players on the injury list this week. David Swallow (knee), Liam Patrick (hamstring) and Jackson Allen (groin) added to Gold Coast’s woes after last week’s win over the Giants, leaving barely enough fit players to pick a team from. Coach McKenna has preached “opportunity” for most of his two years in the job, and never has there been a greater example for his young players than this Sunday.
Aaron Hall and Brandon Matera may have shown Guy McKenna the forward line blueprint for his team. The two terriers were superb against the Giants and as long as they’re fit and healthy, look a likely combination. Hall had 15 disposals, seven tackles and kicked 3.2, while Matera continued his impressive late season form surge. He came up the ground more at times and finished with 22 touches and 2.1.
Prediction: With tough clashes on the horizon, don’t expect the Hawks to completely overwhelm the Suns. This game won’t be close in anyway, but no records will be broke either.
Hawks by 60.
B: Brent Guerra, Ryan Schoenmakers, Shaun Burgoyne
HB: Grant Birchall, Luke Hodge, Benjamin Stratton
C: Jordan Lewis, Sam Mitchell, Xavier Ellis
HF: Isaac Smith, Lance Franklin, Jack Gunston
F: Luke Breust, Jarryd Roughead, Paul Puopolo
Foll: David Hale, Brad Sewell, Liam Shiels
I/C: Max Bailey, Stephen Gilham, Clinton Young, Brendan Whitecross, Shane Savage, Matt Suckling, Taylor Duryea
In: Lance Franklin, Jarryd Roughead, Liam Shiels, Shane Savage, Taylor Duryea
Out: Cyril Rioli (Shoulder), Josh Gibson (Ankle)
New: Taylor Duryea (Murray Bushrangers)
Gold Coast Suns
B: Taylor Hine, Steven May, Jeremy Taylor
HB: Daniel Stanley, Matthew Warnock, Jarrod Harbrow
C: Kyal Horsley, Gary Ablett, Matt Shaw
HF: Andrew McQualter, Tom Lynch, Brandon Matera
F: Alik Magin, Jared Brennan, Campbell Brown
Foll: Charlie Dixon, Josh Caddy, Harley Bennell
I/C: Maverick Weller, Piers Flanagan, Josh Toy, Tom Nicholls, Michael Coad, Tom Hickey, Henry Schade
In: Alik Magin, Piers Flanagan, Josh Toy, Tom Nicholls, Michael Coad, Tom Hickey, Henry Schade, Andrew McQualter
Out: Trent McKenzie (Club Suspension), Liam Patrick (Hamstring), David Swallow (Knee), Jackson Allen (Groin), Aaron Hall (Ankle)
New: Piers Flanagan (Geelong Falcons, VIC), Henry Schade