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Key match ups: Rd 13

Dan Batten  June 13, 2018 4:22 PM

2008 Rewind: Adelaide thriller Hawks snatch a thrilling win to break a 14-year drought in Adelaide.

Fresh off the bye, the Hawks come up against an Adelaide side whose backs are against the wall.

The stakes will be high in this exciting match-up under lights at the MCG on Saturday night, with both teams sitting just a game outside the top eight.

With the backdrop of Hawthorn star Shaun Burgoyne playing his 350th match coupled with Jack Gunston and Ricky Henderson facing their former side, it is destined to be a cracker.

There are some tantalising match-ups to watch out for this weekend with the two sides boasting plenty of stars.

Here are some of the potential one-on-ones we might see on Saturday night:

Shaun Burgoyne vs Richard Douglas

Shaun Burgoyne plays his hotly anticipated 350th game this weekend and it will be interesting to see where he lines up. While Burgoyne’s is referred to as ‘Silk’ by teammates, he could also go by the name ‘Selleys’ this season, as he is filling gaps all over the ground for the Hawks. The 35-year-old has hit the scoreboard up forward, provided class distribution in defence and given the Hawks a spark in the coalface when thrown into the midfield. For this reason, it is difficult to pinpoint a clear opponent. The experienced Richard Douglas is the most likely suitor if Burgoyne plays in defence with stints in the middle. Considering the Hawks stalwart collected nine coaches’ votes with 26 disposals and a goal in his last outing, signs are pointing towards him marking his milestone in style.

Read: Burgoyne soars to 350

Tom Mitchell vs Matt Crouch

An enticing match as it is, we could also see two of the competitions best ball-winners pitted against each other on Saturday night. Tom Mitchell burst out of the blocks against the Power in Round 11, walking off at the long break with a whopping 21 disposals before Tom Rockliff kept him in check from thereon. Fellow ball magnet Matt Crouch managed 25 touches of the Sherrin last week but did not have his usual influence, failing to lay a tackle in the Crows’ loss. Both players eclipsed 35 disposals in their last encounter in 2017, and whoever gets on top in the clearances could have a massive say on the contest. If Mitchell gets on top early, Adelaide may send Sam Gibson as a run with to quell the star.

Jack Gunston vs Tom Doedee

Jack Gunston will face his former club for the ninth time this weekend and youngster Tom Doedee looms as his likely opponent. The mobile forward had one of his better games of 2018 without booting a goal, registering season highs in disposals (25) and marks (10).  This was due to him spending some time in defence, but he is likely to spend the bulk of his time in attack against the Crows to stretch their defenders. Doedee is no slouch, impressing as an intercept defender in the absence of Jake Lever and is one of the favourites for this year’s Rising Star. Gunston has been kept goalless in his past two matches against Adelaide but his fortunes could change playing on an inexperienced opponent.

Isaac Smith vs Paul Seedsman

While Mitchell and Crouch will be battling it out in the clinches, they will be trying to dish it off to these two elite runners on the outside. Isaac Smith has returned to his running best in his past two games, averaging 21.5 touches and 400 metres gained after a down fortnight in that regard. His opposition wingman has had a breakout season for the Crows, ranking first in the competition for metres gained per game with an average of 576 metres. The dashing Hawk will feel at home on the MCG but Seedsman is no stranger to the venue, having won an Anzac Day medal for the Pies on the hallowed turf in 2015.

Ben McEvoy vs Sam Jacobs

Ben McEvoy rebounded strongly against All Australian ruckman Paddy Ryder after having his colours lowered by Nic Naitanui the previous week. The 29-year-old was outstanding, particularly in the first half, collecting 15 disposals, seven marks and hitting the scoreboard with two majors. His opposition ruckman Sam Jacobs has had a dismal season to date but benefitted from Aaron Sandilands’ late out last week, finishing with 41 hit-outs to go with eight touches. Jacobs was the better of the pair in their two clashes last season, but it is hard to look past McEvoy given his 2018 form. Expect ‘Big Boy’ to be too strong around the ground.

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