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Match preview: R23

Ashley Browne  August 24, 2017 12:32 PM

R23: Clarkson Press Conference Alastair Clarkson spoke to the media ahead of the Hawks last game for 2017.

SUMMARY

It is definitely Hawthorn hero Luke Hodge's farewell game and if the Dogs get beaten then Bob Murphy and perhaps Matthew Boyd will be saying goodbye as well, because their slim finals hopes will be officially over. So, bring the tissues as well as the beanies and scarves to what will be an emotional evening. The Hawks were surprisingly flat against the Blues last week, but it is unfathomable that they won't bring their best this week, particularly given they requested the prestigious time slot, if not the venue. Somehow, they're the 'home' team against an Etihad club. Both teams are depleted, but the Hawks look better in defence and might have a touch more scoring power. They'll win it for 'Hodgey'.  

WHERE AND WHEN: Etihad Stadium, Friday, August 25, 7.50pm AEST 
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

LAST FIVE MEETINGS

2SF, 2016, Western Bulldogs 16.11 (107) d Hawthorn 12.12 (84) at the MCG
R3, 2016, Hawthorn 14.9 (93) d Western Bulldogs 13.12 (90) at Etihad Stadium
R3, 2015, Hawthorn 19.13 (127) d Western Bulldogs 8.9 (57) at University of Tasmania Stadium
R19, 2014, Hawthorn 16.11 (107) d Western Bulldogs 6.9 (45) at University of Tasmania Stadium
R17, 2013, Hawthorn 13.17 (95) d Western Bulldogs 11.10 (76) at University of Tasmania Stadium

Read: Jaeger to play his 50th game

THE SIX POINTS

1. The Bulldogs had a big second half when the sides last played, kicking 10 goals to five including six to one in the third term. Jack Macrae starred with 39 disposals, with three goals each to Liam Picken and Jake Stringer.

2. The Bulldogs' tackling has dropped away this season, and after spending the first half of the year the number one ranked tackling side they're now fourth, averaging 71.6. The Hawks aren't far behind with an average of 69.5.

3. The Bulldogs' win in the 2016 finals was their first over Hawthorn since early in 2010; the Hawks had won eight games in a row. The Dogs haven't won consecutive clashes with the Hawks since 2009-10.

4. Hawthorn will once again finish the season as a strong uncontested possession side, ranked second averaging 256.7. The Bulldogs are seventh with an average of 246.5.

5. Win or lose the Hawks will finish with their lowest wins total in a season since 2009, when they won nine games. If they do miss, the Bulldogs will be the first reigning premier to miss the finals since the Hawks in 2009.

6. Marcus Bontempelli is the 10th ranked player in the competition with 539.6 points according to the Schick AFL Official Player Ratings

IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR … James Sicily

The emerging Hawks star was targeted relentlessly by the Blues last week and gave away seven free kicks mainly through frustration. How will he respond this time when the Bulldogs bring the heat? 

PREDICTION: Hawthorn by 10 points