Sunday, June 26, 2016, 3.20 AEST, Aurora Stadium, Tasmania.
Hawthorn Hawks: Fourth
Gold Coast Suns: 16th
Hawthorn Hawks: 10-3
Gold Coast Suns: 3-9
Last five match results:
Hawthorn Hawks: LWWWW
Gold Coast Suns: LLLLL
Hawthorn Hawks: $1.06 with CrownBet.com.au
Gold Coast Suns: $10 with CrownBet.com.au
Hawthorn Hawks: -51.5 ($1.92 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Gold Coast Suns: +51.5 ($1.92 with Sportsbet.com.au)
IT’S not a case of if, but by how much Hawthorn will defeat the Gold Coast Suns by at their home away from home in Tasmania.
The rampant Hawks are on a four-game winning streak, having beaten the ladder leader North Melbourne on Friday night, following up its 108 point destruction of Essendon.
Conversely, the Suns have lost nine in a row, after winning their first three, and are languishing near the bottom of the table.
Things could get really ugly here, especially after the let down of being so close, yet so far, from victory against Richmond at the Melbourne Cricket Ground two weeks ago.
The gallant Suns pushed the Tigers all the way, but ultimately fell short by 17 points, 17.12 (114) to 15.7 (97).
Captain Gary Ablett Junior led the disposal count for the Suns with 24 – to go with 12 tackles – and Matt Rosa had one of his better performances with 23, but Gold Coast had no answers for Richmond match winner Dustin Martin.
Coleman Medal hopeful Tom Lynch – as he has so often done this season – played a lone hand up forward, booting four goals.
At least they have had the bye to think about how bad they have been – and the ferocious, three peat premiership beast that awaits them in Tassie.
The Hawks have turned Aurora Stadium into a fortress, winning 17 in a row at the ground and they have not lost there since round five in 2012 – more than four years ago.
They played out a classic against the Roos on Friday night, eyeing out a nine point win, 14.9 (93) to 11.18 (84) in a bruising contest.
Jordan Lewis did the bulk of the work with 31 disposals while Sam Mitchell had 26 in a funny contest that could have gone either way.
In the end, though, five goals to Rising Star nominee James Sicily proved the difference for the Hawks.
The kid deserved his nomination for the AFL’s best young player award in a performance that featured 13 disposals and five vice like marks.
The kid is crashing packs and fast becoming the player the Hawks need in the absence of cancer fighter Jarryd Roughead.
It was a stark contrast to the week before when they absolutely mauled Essendon, 23.13 (151) to 6.7 (43).
Lewis had 35, and Grant Birchall 30, while Daniel Howe gave a glimpse of the future with 26 disposals, four marks and four tackles.
Luke Breust, Jack Gunston and Paul Puopolo booted four goals each as the Hawks shared it around with 10 individual goal scorers.
The great Ablett is perhaps not the player he was for the Gold Coast, but he is still at the pointy end of the competition and it seems ludicrous that you could get better than even money about him to get more than 30 possessions.
There was a time when he would do that in his sleep. But age and an interrupted preseason, coupled with injuries to key men around him have made life a lot more difficult for GAJ in his later years.
He bettered the mark twice in the first three rounds but has only done it once since, against the West Coast a month ago when he had 32.
He has since been quieter with 26 and 24 disposals and could go one of two ways against the Hawks. If Liam Shiels goes to him, life could be tough, but the Hawks are not big on tagging and will probably back their midfield to better anything Gary can do.
If that happens, he could have a huge one and there is a good chance he and Hawks champ Mitchell could stand next to each other at the opening bounce and then go on their merry way.
Mitchell is a typically short $1.76 to have 30 or more disposals and that is because he is ageing like a fine wine – he just gets better.
Too short, too old, too slow is a thing of the past, and while he left a lot of the work to in form team mate Lewis on the weekend, you can expect him to contract a case of leather poisoning against the Suns.
Mitchell has played just the five games against the Suns, but he averages almost 35 disposals across those meetings – his best against any AFL team.
In each of the last three meetings, he has had 36 disposals. He had 38 in another and a “quiet” 26 in his only other clash.
That translates to bad news for the Suns.
In fact, he is a gaudy $5.60 to have 35 or more disposals on Sunday. That’s a very, very juicy bet.
Match predictions and player props bets
Match result: Hawthorn Hawks win ($1.06 with CrownBet.com.au)
Line betting: Hawthorn Hawks -51.5 ($1.92 with sportsbet.com.au)
Margin betting: Hawthorn Hawks to win by 100 or more ($9 with sportsbet.com.au
First goal scorer: James Sicily ($12 with sportsbet.com.au)
To have 30 or more disposals:
Sam Mitchell ($1.76 with sportsbet.com.au)
Gary Ablett Jnr ($2.60 with Sportsbet.com.au)