Very, very sorry for the late thread but I have been caught up in some stuff this week. V When: Sunday 15 April, 2:45pm ACST Where: MCG Forecast: 27, Mostly Sunny The Story so Far: After 2 rounds in, there isn't much of a story so far. We smashed the Suns as expected and edged out the Dogs after being challenged which was a rarity under Craig. However, if we thought the Dogs were a challenge, just wait until Sunday where we face by far our biggest yet; premiership contender Hawthorn at the G. A big mountain to climb. At this early in the season, it's only the one on the left at this stage. After a tough game on Monday, there is no doubt the Hawks will be more sore than us which gives us a slight advantage, but we ca't rely on that to win, we need to be able to match it with them across the ground if we are to get up. Can we do it? Let's do a little pre-game analysis to find out shall we? Recent History: We've been able to match it with the Hawks recently. We've won 3 of the last 5 against them (with the losses being down in Launceston and a narrow loss in their premiership year), so there is no doubt we will challenge them (hey, if we could beat them last year in our worst season, surely we're a chance with a much improved outfit). The last 5 meetings have ended with the following: Round 1, 2011: Adelaide 16.9 (105) def. Hawthorn 12.13 (85) Round 12, 2010: Hawthorn 19.10 (124) def. Adelaide 11.11 (77) Round 20, 2009: Adelaide 13.16 (94) def. Hawthorn 9.13 (67) Round 10, 2009: Adelaide 16.10 (106) def. Hawthorn 12.7 (79) Round 12, 2008: Hawthorn 11.10 (76) def. Adelaide 10.12 (72) Teams: [FONT="]Hawthorn[/FONT] [FONT="]B:[/FONT][FONT="] Benjamin Stratton, Josh Gibson, Brent Guerra [/FONT] [FONT="]HB:[/FONT][FONT="] Grant Birchall, Ryan Schoenmakers, Matt Suckling [/FONT] [FONT="]C:[/FONT][FONT="] Brendan Whitecross, Sam Mitchell, Shane Savage [/FONT] [FONT="]HF:[/FONT][FONT="] Shaun Burgoyne, Lance Franklin, Cyril Rioli [/FONT] [FONT="]F:[/FONT][FONT="] Jarryd Roughead, David Hale, Luke Breust [/FONT] [FONT="]Foll:[/FONT][FONT="] Broc McCauley, Brad Sewell, Jordan Lewis [/FONT] [FONT="]I/C:[/FONT][FONT="] Chance Bateman, Michael Osborne, Clinton Young, Liam Shiels, Kyle Cheney, Jack Gunston, Bradley Hill [/FONT] [FONT="]In:[/FONT][FONT="] Clinton Young, Liam Shiels, Kyle Cheney, Bradley Hill [/FONT] [FONT="]Out:[/FONT][FONT="] Isaac Smith (Back) [/FONT] [FONT="]New:[/FONT][FONT="] Bradley Hill (West Perth) [/FONT] [FONT="] [/FONT] [FONT="]The one key change for the Hawks is the inclusion of Liam Shiels (assuming he's named in the final squad) who was a revelation last year and will be one to watch alongside the likes of Mitchell, Sewell and Lewis. [/FONT] [FONT="]Adelaide[/FONT] [FONT="]B:[/FONT][FONT="] Graham Johncock, Ben Rutten, Andy Otten [/FONT] [FONT="]HB:[/FONT][FONT="] Brent Reilly, Daniel Talia, Brodie Smith [/FONT] [FONT="]C:[/FONT][FONT="] Rory Sloane, Scott Thompson, David Mackay [/FONT] [FONT="]HF:[/FONT][FONT="] Bernie Vince, Tom Lynch, Ian Callinan [/FONT] [FONT="]F:[/FONT][FONT="] Jason Porplyzia, Kurt Tippett, Taylor Walker [/FONT] [FONT="]Foll:[/FONT][FONT="] Sam Jacobs, Nathan van Berlo, Patrick Dangerfield [/FONT] [FONT="]I/C:[/FONT][FONT="] Michael Doughty, Chris Knights, Jared Petrenko, Brodie Martin, Ricky Henderson, Sam Shaw, Sam Kerridge [/FONT] [FONT="]In:[/FONT][FONT="] Chris Knights, Brodie Martin, Sam Shaw, Sam Kerridge [/FONT] [FONT="]Out:[/FONT][FONT="] Richard Douglas (Hamstring) [/FONT] [FONT="]New:[/FONT][FONT="] Sam Shaw (Oakleigh Chargers (Vic)), Sam Kerridge (Bendigo Pioneers) [/FONT] [FONT="] [/FONT] Hopefully Shaw/Martin/Kerridge gets in over Knights (that's essentially the rest of the player included in the squad. I'm sorry but Knights has not earned a spot at all). Either Martin or Kerridge are the ideal replacements for Dougie and if Hendo gets omitted, then Shaw is the logical replacement. If he is in, expect him to have a crack on Buddy alongside Talia (neither of them can do it solo for four quarters). Key Matchups: Tippett/Walker/Lynch V Gibson/Schoenmakers/Stratton V Either Walker or Tippett could be in for a big game. It depends which one of them lines up on Schoenmakers who is a complete liability and the sooner the Hawks get Gilham back, the better. However, Gibson is an AA defender and can match it with bigger opponents, so he could prove a handful. If Lynch starts on the ground and up forward, then Stratton could very well be his opponent who hasn't been in great touch due to still recovering from his leg injury. In conclusion, this will be a very important match-up. Defence is the Hawks weakest area around the ground alongside their ruck, and one of our forwards could be a match-winner if we can win it in the midfield and stop Buddy which brings me to the next key matchup... Mitchell V Thompson With Hodge still out, Mitchell is still the vocal point of the Hawks midfield. When he gets on top, the Hawks do so as well. If he can be restricted, like in the last quarter last week, then their midfield loses a lot of clearing ability allowing the opposition to come back which is exactly what the Cats did last week. But do we have someone that can stop Mitchell? No but what we've done so far is to allow Thommo to run with the opposition's number one midfielder where both of them have been their team's best player. Do we risk it this week knowing the strength of their forwards? I say yes because Geelong's midfielders were able to do it last week. Franklin V Talia/Shaw Buddy was well held last week by Lonergan, but as we know, he is a quality defender. For one of Talia and Shaw (or both) it will be their first match on the competition's bestest and most dangerous forward. They have the athleticism to go with him, he also has a lot of tricks in the bag and if he can kick straight and not attempt dribblers, he could very well be the difference in the end. The Verdict: Unfortunately, this is the song that will probably be played after the final siren. Whilst I think we can put up a fight, the Hawks are still a flag threat with an elite midfield and forward line which will prove too much for our young defence (hopefully Talia/Shaw can prove me wrong on Buddy but I just can't see them shutting him down just yet). Hawks by 23 points.