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Five talking points: Round 7

Ben Guthrie  May 7, 2017 8:12 PM

R7: Highlights v Melbourne Watch the highlights from the Hawks second win of the season as they scraped over the line against the Demons.

1. Lewis almost inspires Melbourne to comeback win
Jordan Lewis said before the game he had nothing to prove to former club Hawthorn. But he would be lying if he didn't recognise the significance of the contest. Lewis started the game in bright fashion, racking up eight disposals in the first quarter. Lewis was Melbourne's equal-leading possession-getter at half-time, as his excellent ball use came to the fore. The four-time premiership Hawk lifted to kick a much-needed goal on his right boot in the third quarter. Lewis then converted a goal to bring his side to within three points with just over a minute to play in the match. The star midfielder finished with 31 disposals and was only behind Jack Viney in terms of impact.

 

2. Big Mac has too much mustard for Dees
Melbourne's issues in the ruck are well known. With both Max Gawn (hamstring) and Jake Spencer (shoulder) injured, the Demons are relying on undersized utility Cameron Pedersen, with a chop-out from Jack Watts here and there, to carry the bulk of the ruck duties. Hawthorn big man Ben McEvoy would have been well aware of that situation and he made a statement against the Demons on Sunday. McEvoy feasted on West Coast's back-up ruckmen in round five and found similar form against the Dees. The powerful big man was one of the Hawks' best players, amassing 53 hit-outs and kicking two goals to stamp his authority on the contest. 

Watch: The last two minutes

Read: Match report

3. Another blow for Birchall
Grant Birchall's absence after breaking his jaw in round two was a fact many brushed over when analysing Hawthorn's abysmal start to the season. Birchall's return to the Hawks' side against Melbourne lasted less than a quarter until he hurt his right knee in a marking contest. The veteran Hawk went down to the rooms immediately and came back up to the bench with heavy strapping on his knee at quarter-time. Not long after the second quarter started, the Hawks' medical staff decided not to risk him further and ruled him out for the rest of the match. It's easy to forget how important Birchall is in setting up Hawthorn's defence, but – pending scans – it looks like he may be sidelined for an extended period.

 

4. Viney back to his best
There were a few concerns earlier in the season about the form of Melbourne co-captain Jack Viney. Was the elevation to the captaincy, alongside Nathan Jones, affecting him? Was he playing hurt? The star midfielder showed last week against Essendon that he was starting to turn the corner and he took another couple of significant steps against Hawthorn. The 23-year-old was brilliant against the Hawks, collecting 32 disposals, eight clearances and laying a game-high 15 tackles. The reigning best and fairest winner sets the tone for the Demons around the contest and he almost engineered a terrific fightback.