WHERE AND WHEN: Aurora Stadium, Saturday May 19, 2.10pm
LAST TIME: Hawthorn 13.17 (95) d Fremantle 6.8 (44), round 19, 2011 at Patersons Stadium
The last time these two teams met at this venue Fremantle sent their Auskick squad and the Hawks prevailed by 116 points.
Fremantle now sit in sixth on the ladder thanks to their dour defensive structures under Ross Lyon, conceding the least points of any team in the competition, with an average of only 72 points scored against per game, and the second lowest for inside fifties conceded.
Hawthorn sits just outside the eight on percentage, after being the widespread pre-season tip for premiers, yet come into the game fresh from a 66-point cruisy win over the Demons and a six-goal win over the Saints.
Fremantle have only ever beaten the Hawks outside Western Australia once, more than a decade ago. The Hawks have won four of the last five clashes between the two teams, and in those games Sam Mitchell has averaged 31 disposals.
Both teams come into the game on a two-game winning streak, Fremantle’s narrow escape from losing to the Suns somewhat redeemed by their forty point thumping of Port Adelaide in round seven. Hawthorn will be celebrating twin milestones, with Buddy’s 150th game and Clinton Young racking up a century in the yellow and brown.
Hawthorn have lost Michael Osborne for the season, yet at least welcome back the ever-willing fists of Josh Gibson to their backline. Fremantle have lost Adam McPhee – who would have been one option to cover the dynamite Cyril Rioli – who will be replaced by Jay van Berlo.
Lance Franklin v Luke McPharlin
Buddy notched his fiftieth scoring shot for the season last week, but with only 19 majors and 31 behinds, has been less destructive on the scoreboard.
McPharlin is in form but will need to be to stop Buddy in his 150th – and Hawks life-membership earning – game in Indigenous Round.
Sam Mitchell v Ryan Crowley
Mitchell had a relatively quiet 22 disposal game against the Demons, but has enjoyed 34 and 31 touch games against the Dockers in recent seasons, averaging 27 disposals against the West Australians in their past five clashes.
Crowley comes off a solid effort negating Travis Boak, and producing five inside fifties and a goal of his own against Port.
Matthew Pavlich v Stephen Gillam/Gibson’s third-up fist
Pavlich showed glimpses of his best and kicked his 500th major for the Dockers in a four-goal, ten mark game against port and will prove a handful for the Hawks.
The tight structures of Ross Lyon clash with the irresistible forces of Buddy and Cyril in what should be a fascinating contest. Fremantle’s forward pressure may cause headaches for Hawk’s high-disposal backline, and while Aaron Sandilands always looms at a major threat, David Hale got loose for three goals last time these teams met and will keep him honest and accountable.
The Hawks will be hoping to put their unexpected loss to the Swans at this venue in round five behind them and should prove just too strong for a resurgent Dockers on the road.
Hawks by 17 points.
B: Brent Guerra, Stephen Gilham, Josh Gibson
HB: Grant Birchall, Ryan Schoenmakers, Benjamin Stratton
C: Isaac Smith, Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis
HF: Cyril Rioli, Lance Franklin, Shaun Burgoyne
F: Luke Breust, Jarryd Roughead, Paul Puopolo
Foll: David Hale, Brad Sewell, Liam Shiels
IC: Clinton Young, Brendan Whitecross, Shane Savage, Matt Suckling
Emg: Xavier Ellis, Thomas Murphy, Broc McCauley
In: Josh Gibson
Out: Michael Osborne (Knee)
B: Garrick Ibbotson, Zac Dawson, Dylan Roberton
HB: Michael Johnson, Luke McPharlin, Tendai Mzungu
C: Paul Duffield, Ryan Crowley, Stephen Hill
HF: Matthew de Boer, Christopher Mayne, Clancee Pearce
F: Hayden Ballantyne, Matthew Pavlich, Zachary Clarke
Foll: Aaron Sandilands, David Mundy, Michael Barlow
IC: Jay van Berlo, Greg Broughton, Lachie Neale, Lee Spurr
Emg: Jesse Crichton, Alex Silvagni, Jonathon Griffin
In: Jay van Berlo
Out: Adam McPhee (Calf)