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Opposition Analysis: Semi Final

SF: Clarkson talks ahead of semi final Alastair Clarkson spoke to the media today ahead of the semi final clash with the Demons on Friday night.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 15:  Max Gawn of the Demons and Ben McEvoy of the Hawks compete during the round four AFL match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Melbourne Demons at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 15, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Media)
The ruck duel between Max Gawn and Ben McEvoy will be one to watch on Friday night.

The changes

No changes

 

What to expect

Melbourne celebrated their first final in 12 years with a powerful win over Geelong last weekend.

The Demons showed no signs of their lack of experience, limiting the finals-hardened Cats to just three goals before three quarter time and six for the game.

Watch: Clarko ahead of Friday night

Simon Goodwin’s side continued to thrive in certain areas of the game that they have been dominant in league-wide throughout the season, namely contested possessions (162-143), tackles (88-81) and clearances (38-27).

This season the Demons rank first in the competition for contested possessions and tackles and rate third for clearances per game.

They have shown great strength especially through the midfield where Clayton Oliver has become a superstar of the competition in his maiden All Australian year.

On top of the muscle in their engine room, Melbourne proved themselves the side with arguably the most firepower in 2018, being the only side to average over 100 points per game throughout the home and away season.

The Dees surpassed the triple-digit threshold on 14 of their 22 outings throughout the year and reached the 90s on another four occasions, highlighting their consistency with booting a big score.

The Hawks will be hoping for a similar outcome to their clash with the Demons in Round 4 earlier this year, in which they not only defeated them but restricted them to their lowest score of the season- 48 points.

 

Player to watch

Averaging just shy of 30 disposals per game for the second consecutive season, Clayton Oliver has become one of the premier midfielders of the competition in 2018.

Only Tom Mitchell has collected more touches this year, with Oliver’s 16.4 contested possessions per game also rating second to Carlton’s Patrick Cripps.

Typifying the two-way nature of the Demons’ on-ball brigade, the 21-year old has also laid the third-most tackles on the year, averaging 6.8 per game.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs