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Match Preview: Round 9

Ben Collins, Jackson Paine  May 18, 2017 3:35 PM

Last Time We Met: Collingwood R23 2016 It was the final game of the year, Collingwood were desperate to finish the year on a high, the Hawks looking to cement a top four spot on the ladder. The game came down to the final minutes.
Luke Hodge and Scott Pendlebury embrace after the Hawks' victory over the Pies in round 23, 2016.

Luke Hodge and Scott Pendlebury embrace after the Hawks' victory over the Pies in round 23, 2016.

Hawthorn meets Collingwood this week in a match pivotal to both sides' seasons. The 3-5 Hawks have won three of their past four games but their finals hopes suffered a setback this week after losing key trio Cyril Rioli, Ben Stratton and James Frawley to long-term injuries. While the 2-6 Pies will be without important swingman Ben Reid for up to a month but are likely to regain Adam Treloar and have a golden opportunity to build on their last-kick loss to flag fancy Greater Western Sydney at Spotless Stadium. A Collingwood win would be their first against Hawthorn since the nail-biting 2011 preliminary final – Mick Malthouse's second-last game as the Pies' coach. 

WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Saturday, May 20, 7.25pm AEST 

TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide 

R23, 2016, Hawthorn 17.10 (112) d Collingwood 17.9 (111) at the MCG
R15, 2015, Hawthorn 15.11 (101) d Collingwood 12.19 (91) at the MCG
R23, 2014, Hawthorn 18.13 (121) d Collingwood 8.8 (56) at the MCG
R14, 2014, Hawthorn 17.13 (115) d Collingwood 13.8 (86) at the MCG
R21, 2013, Hawthorn 18.11 (119) d Collingwood 12.12 (84) at the MCG 

Read: Reminisce on what happened the last time we met Collingwood

1. Collingwood's 2-6 start to the season is their worst since they were 1-7 and last on the ladder after eight games in 2005. Hawthorn's 3-5 start is their worst since 2010 when they were 2-6. 

2. When these teams met in round 23 last year, the Magpies had more disposals, more contested possessions, more clearances and laid more tackles but still lost by a point. Adam Treloar collected three Brownlow votes after having 36 possessions (22 contested), 10 clearances and two goals. 

3. In the Hawks' favour is their record against Collingwood at the MCG, where they have won 20 games to 11. The Pies have lost four of their five MCG games so far in 2017. 

4. The Magpies are one of only three teams this season yet to blood a debutant, while Hawthorn has selected just one, Teia Miles. Hawthorn has used 32 players and Collingwood 29.

5. Neither team has enjoyed the attention of the umpires this season – the Hawks are 16th with 17.3 free kicks a game while the Magpies are last with only 16.5 a game.

6. Pies' joint vice-captain Taylor Adams continues to rise in the Schick AFL Player Ratings. Just two years ago he was ranked in the 300s, but has since lifted himself to a personal-best rating of No. 68.

IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR … Jamie Elliott
The livewire small forward has been threatening to tear a game apart for a few weeks now and he won't get a better chance against a Hawthorn side missing versatile pair Stratton (who would likely have been Elliott's direct opponent) and Frawley. In his past four games Elliott has kicked 10 goals, and now that he's back to full fitness and touch, it's just a matter of time before he explodes. 

IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR … Josh Gibson

Without his premiership teammates James Frawley and Ben Stratton by his side this week, Gibson faces the tough task of leading a less-experienced backline into this all-important clash against the Pies. After admitting to his own slow start this season, the two-time Peter Crimmins Medallist has said that he is confident his form has now turned the corner. 

Read: The Glenferrie Ghost predicts