It’s a Saturday night blockbuster at the ‘G between the Hawks and the Crows, in a match that will have massive ramifications for each side if they lose. Last year’s runner-up, the Crows, have now lost 3 in a row, and are facing the very real possibility (probability, even!) of missing the Finals, despite being just $1.05 (prayers with anyone who took $1.05) at the start of the season. Sitting at 6-6; they have the bye, then West Coast, Richmond and Geelong over the next month- and then later in the season still need to face the Demons, Giants (away), Power and Kangaroos. So one might surmise that if they lose to the Hawks in their first visit to the MCG since their diabolical choke in the Grand Final, they will struggle to make finals. Think that should motivate the Crows? Well, the Hawks won’t be found wanting in the motivational department, either. The irrepressible Shaun Burgoyne will be playing his 350th match- just the 16th person to do so- while former players will be toasting the 2008 Premiership reunion in the stands. They are sitting on the same points (and similar percentage) to the Crows with a game in hand, so victory here will keep their Finals hopes very much alive.
Hawthorn (WLLLW) – All through this season, an important win has been followed by a discouraging loss and as such it has been incredibly hard to guage where they are at as a club. Their win against Port by 3 points just before the bye was vintage Hawthorn- they were completely blitzed in the first quarter before clawing their way back through grit and unrelenting defence. Prior to that game, though, they had 3 straight losses (including 2 at home) in which they failed to top 75 points. Strange for a multiple Premiership-winning forward line.
Adelaide (LWLLL) – While it is mighty hard for an AFL side to keep winning when there is such a lack of continuity in the side, the fact remains that the Crows are one of the more adept downhill skiing sides in the competition. They run a lot harder with the ball than without it, and the fact they are ranked last in the competition for tackling differential highlights that, despite their personnel, they are not controlling the things they can control- effort! The way a very inexperienced Fremantle side out-tackled, out-ran and out-marked them was almost as embarrassing as being spanked by 91 points against Melbourne 3 weeks ago. Show some heart, Crows- lose here and it will be the first time since 2011 they’ve lost 4 in a row.
Stats That Matter– The Hawks have won 8 of the last 9 meetings – Overs is 4-2 in Adelaide’s last 6 games – The Crows are averaging just 67 points per game in their last 4 (last year they averaged 108 points per game) – Bryce Gibbs averages 111 Fantasy Points per game against the Hawks – Hawthorn are 4-2 ATS at home this season – Ricky Henderson had 30 disposals and 2 goals in his last game against his former club – Tom Mitchell has had 130+ Fantasy points in his last 3 matches
The Crows have a lot to play for, but the Wolf is keen to side with a more experienced Hawks side at the ‘G that should be buoyed by the never-say-die performance they pulled off against the Power before the bye. Wolfie is looking forward to watching Shaun ‘Silk’ Burgoyne go about his business, and he is expecting the 4 x Premiership player to have an effect all across the ground and have some vital touches at both ends in his big milestone game. You watch his teammates lift for him too. Wet weather expected, which will only suit the Hawks more, and take away some of the outside run of the Crows. Poo’s and Wee’s for the win here.
How It’s Shaping UpHawthorn by 14
Best Bet: Hawthorn WIN ($1.62) Value Bet: Adelaide Total Score 61-75 Points ($3.15) Player Prop: TBA First Goalscorer: Jack Gunston