Friday 14th September, 19:50 (AEST)
|Duryea, Frawley, Hardwick||B||Jetta, McDonald, Lewis|
|HB||Impey, Sicily, Burton||HB||Salem, Frost, Hibberd|
|C||Smith, Mitchell, Shiels||C||Tyson, Viney, Harmes|
|HF||Burgoyne, Roughead, Gunston||HF||Melksham, McDonald, Brayshaw|
|F||Bruest, Nash, Puopolo||F||Weideman, vandenBerg, Neal-Bullen|
|FOL||McEvoy, Howe, Worpel.||FOL||Gawn, Jones, Oliver.|
|I/C||Mirra, Morrison, Henderson, Schoenmakers||I/C||Petracca, Spargo, Hannah, Fritsch|
History: Played 162: Hawthorn 87 v Melbourne 75.
Last Meeting: Round 4, 2018: Hawthorn 18.7 (115) d Melbourne 6.12 (48) at the MCG.
Final Thoughts: The Dees could hardly have been more impressive in their dismantling of Geelong on Friday night. A dogged pressure performance has drawn comparisons with Damien Hardwick’s style at Richmond. Some even think they’re the only hope of knocking of the Tigers come September 29. And at $6.50 for the flag, they’re the shortest-priced chance of the four clubs playing this weekend. The scenes in the crowd were reminiscent of the previous two seasons, where the Bulldogs and Richmond faithful began gathering huge momentum early in the finals that eventually took them all the way. Could a premiership drought be broken for a third-straight year? Is this the year of the Dees? They start as strong $1.47 favourites in this one, but those writing off Hawthorn do so at their own peril.
The last time the Hawks made the finals (in 2016) they were eliminated in straight sets. A loss to Melbourne would thus be a fourth-straight finals defeat. Having earned the double-chance, they will be desperate to book a date to Perth next weekend to give them a crack at yet another grand final. To get there, however, they’ll need to improve markedly on their effort against the Tigers. Forward guns Jack Gunston and Luke Breust – so pivotal to the Hawks output in the forward 50 – need to lift. If they can match it in the midfield and quell the influence of Max Gawn, they’ll be in with a chance. They will certainly draw confidence from their only clash of the season, back in Round 4. It was here that the Hawks completely dominated the midfield battle, running out 67-point victors.
Saturday 15th September, 19:25 (AEST)
|Maynard, Langdon, Crisp||B||Williams, Davis, Kennedy|
|HB||Howe, Goldsack, Varcoe||HB||Haynes, Tomlinson, Buntine|
|C||Treloar, Pendlebury, Phillips||C||Reid, Ward, de Boer|
|HF||Hoskin-Elliott, Mihocek, De Goey||HF||Shiel, Himmelberg, Deledio|
|F||Thomas, Cox, Stephenson||F||Taranto, Cameron, Greene|
|FOL||Grundy, Adams, Sidebottom.||FOL||Lobb, Coniglio, Hopper.|
|I/C||Sier, Aish, Mayne, Greenwood||I/C||Griffen, Keeffe, Whitfield, Langdon|
History: Played 7: Collingwood 5 v GWS 2.
Last Meeting: Round 2, 2018: GWS Giants 15.5 (95) d Collingwood 12.7 (79) at the MCG.
Final Thoughts: Had things gone their way in the final quarter against West Coast last week, the Pies could be in a very different position this finals series. But near enough isn’t good enough, and instead face Giants side who will worry them immensely. Toby Greene showed last week why he can win the game off his own boot, while the Giants midfield unit dismantled the Swans at the contest – something not many sides can do. With Brett Deledio and Zac Williams also back fit and firing, GWS are a real chance to cause an MCG upset. The last time these sides faced off at the venue – albeit a footballing lifetime ago in Round 2 – the Giants were 16-point victors. A setback for Leon Cameron is the loss of Josh Kelly, who injured his knee against the Swans and may return next week at the earliest.
For Nathan Buckley’s side, they won’t dwell over what could have been last week in the west. One of the Pies’ best attributes is their ability to move on with the task at hand in the face of adversity. Perhaps the best example of this is their response, throughout the season, to a mouting injury list. One solider out, one soldier in. Move on. “We’re still in the fight,” Buckley said this week. “We won’t dwell or cry over spilt milk. We have an opportunity now to make sure we in some ways take the lessons from this experience and dust ourselves off and go again.” There was enough positive signs in the Eagles clash to suggest that Collingwood is still a force to be reckoned with this September. On on their home deck they should be good enough. But only just.