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Five to watch: R12

Jackson Paine  June 9, 2017 9:10 AM

Last Time We Met: Gold Coast, R3 2017 It was an interesting afternoon on the Gold Coast as we came away with a big loss from a rampaging Suns side. Check out the highlights from our earlier clash with the Suns in 2017.

Luke Hodge

The Hawks’ second highest disposal getter behind ball-magnet Tom Mitchell last week, Hodge will be eager to avenge for the disappointment against Port Adelaide.

Known for his ability to stand up when his team need him the most, this week is beckoning for another heroic ‘Hodgey’ performance as the Hawks must win if they are to keep their finals chances alive.

Hodge’s career average of 28.3 disposals per game against the Gold Coast is his highest number against any other opposition side, so Hawks fans can hold hope that the 32-year old is steeling himself for another stellar performance this weekend. 

 

Ben McEvoy

Ben McEvoy and Jarrod Witts rank sixth and seventh, respectively, in total hit-outs in the competition. 

In Round 3, Witts won the chocolates in the duel, winning 13 disposals and 40 hit-outs (compared to McEvoy’s 9 touches and 28 taps) to be named among the Suns’ best players. 

The ruck battle again poses to have a great influence on the outcome of this match, as these two giants again go head-to-head.

 

James Sicily

Sicily has quietly strung together some strong form over the past three weeks after being omitted from the senior side in Round 8.

Averaging 12 possessions, two goals and four tackles over that period, Sicily will be looking to continue this form on Saturday at the MCG.

The 22-year old will have confidence after a promising performance the last time he played the Suns in Round 17 last year, when he posted 13 disposals, five marks, four tackles, three goals and a career-high 11 contested possessions.

 

Pearce Hanley

Having endured a challenging start to his time on the Gold Coast, Pearce Hanley finally released the shackles last week against West Coast to show Suns fans why the Irishman came down the highway with such a strong reputation. 

The former Lion was brilliant last week gathering 31 touches, 12 marks and six inside 50s.

At his best, Hanley is one of the silkiest players in the competition, boasting the deadly combination of ball-winning ability, foot speed and precision kicking.

Read: Opposition analysis R12

 

Gary Ablett

Little needs to be said of the threat the ‘Little Master’ poses.

Individually, the 33-year old continues to dominate, with his average of 32.1 disposals a game remaining among the competition’s elite.

But Ablett has further motivation this year, with signs of Suns success suddenly seeming much closer than many would acknowledge.

Since crossing from Geelong in 2011, Ablett has won just 33 of his 105 games as a Sun with his individual brilliance constantly being overshadowed by the Suns’ lack of success.

With a win this week, Gold Coast remain very much within contact of a maiden finals berth, so one could imagine that the two-time Brownlow Medallist is as motivated as ever to lead the Suns to a strong performance on Saturday.

Read: Match preview Round 12