Palmerbet Sports Team’s Best of the Day preview takes an in-depth look at the Friday night AFL blockbuster between the Hawthorn Hawks and Sydney Swans at the MCG. 

AFL Tips – Hawthorn Hawks V Sydney Swans

19:50 (AEST) @ MCG, Melbourne

History: Played 164: Hawthorn 92 V Sydney 70 (2 Draws).

Last meeting: Round 19, 2017: Sydney 10.12 (72) d Hawthorn 9.12 (66) at MCG.

Friday night clashes don’t come too much bigger than this in the AFL.

Two modern giants of the premiership, top-shelf contenders for the 2018 flag, and grand final combatants twice in the past six seasons (winning one apiece) with a remarkable recent record of producing regular-season classics.

The Hawthorn Hawks have won their last three against the Sydney Swans – all by margins of one goal or less. Nine of the last 14 encounters have been decided by 14 points less.

The Hawks memorably prevailed in six-point thrillers at the SCG and MCG last season, but the Swans have won two of the last three at the ground between the heavyweights.

This is the Swans’ first appearance at the ’G in 2018 – going 2-3 there last season – while the Hawks at 4-1 at the venue this year.

Fourth-placed Hawthorn are just one win off the AFL competition lead with a 5-2 record, responding to their 28-point loss to North Melbourne in Round 5 with handsome back-to-back victories over St Kilda and Essendon.

The Hawks’ accuracy in front of goal has been a feature this season, kicking at an AFL-best 55.9 percent.

The Hawks, $1.68 favourites, have dropped James Cousins and James Worpel for Will Langford and Ricky Henderson.

Eighth-placed Sydney are in the middle of a six-team logjam with 4-3 records after a shock two-point loss to the Kangaroos at home last weekend. Former Hawks great Buddy Franklin’s ongoing injury absence is a tough one for the Swans.

The Swans, $2.18 outsiders, are desperate to build some momentum, but they can take confidence from a 3-0 away record so far this year, downing the Eagles, Bulldogs and Cats on the road. Each of their last four games were decided by 17 points or less.

Tall forward Tom McCartin – brother of Saints star Paddy – will debut for the Swans, with he and Daniel Robinson coming in for the omitted Robbie Fox and Harry Marsh.

The total line has been set at an unusually low 137.5, with the teams’ last four encounters produced 156 points or less. That’s a tough one to take on, but the unders still looks sensible with heavy rain and icy winds set to lash Melbourne.

Buddy being sidelined tips the scales slightly in Hawthorn’s favour but the clear play here is the close margins, given the quality of both teams, the weather and their recent history. Another classic looms.

 

Tip: Triple Margin 15.5 – Any Other Result (Either Team by 15 or less or draw) @ $2.15