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Preview: Hawks v Crows

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 18: Patrick Dangerfield of the Crows is tackled by Cyril Rioli of the Hawks during the 2015 AFL round twelve match between the Adelaide Crows and the Hawthorn Hawks at the Adelaide Oval, Adelaide on June 18, 2015. (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media)
The Hawks will be looking to restrict key Crow Patrick Dangerfield's influence in Friday's semi final.

SUMMARY

It's do-or-die time for Hawthorn after a 32-point qualifying final loss to West Coast, with the Hawks suddenly needing to win three cut-throat finals to clinch an historic premiership three-peat. The Crows, who haven't forgotten their five-point preliminary final defeat to Hawthorn in 2012, are hoping to continue their fairytale run after an epic seven-point elimination final triumph over the Western Bulldogs.

WHERE AND WHEN

MCG, Friday September 18, 7.50pm 
AEST

TV, RADIO AND BETTING

Click here for broadcast guide

WHO'S MISSING?

Hawthorn: Star forward Jack Gunston will miss after injuring his ankle late in the loss to West Coast, but otherwise the Hawks are full strength.

Adelaide: The Crows got through unscathed against the Bulldogs and only have Brad Crouch and Matt Jaensch (both out for the season) on the injury list.

THIS YEAR

Round 12, Adelaide Oval: Hawthorn 17.12 (114) d Adelaide 12.13 (85)

The Crows threw everything at the reigning premiers and twice hit the front by a point in the third quarter. However, the Hawks had too much polish, with the victory kick-starting their run of six straight wins after the bye.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS

R17, 2014, Hawthorn 15.14 (104) d Adelaide 14.8 (92) at Adelaide Oval
R6, 2013, Hawthorn 13.11 (89) d Adelaide 11.12 (78) at AAMI Stadium
1PF, 2012, Hawthorn 13.19 (97) d Adelaide 14.8 (92) at the MCG
R3, 2012, Hawthorn 21.14 (140) d Adelaide 12.12 (84) at the MCG
R1, 2011, Adelaide 16.9 (105) d Hawthorn 12.13 (85) at AAMI Stadium

THE SIX POINTS

1. Hawthorn has not finished in the top four and been eliminated in straight sets since 1977. Adelaide hasn't won consecutive finals in the same season since 1998, the Crows' last premiership year.

2. It could be a shootout on Friday night. The Hawks average 109 points per game and the most inside 50s of any side. The Crows aren't far behind, averaging exactly 100 points and they're ranked second for inside 50s.

3. Hawthorn holds the edge 2-1 in finals against Adelaide, but they've been close wins, by just three and five points in the 2007 elimination final and 2012 preliminary final respectively. The Crows won an elimination final back in 1993 by 15 points.

4. Adelaide had an off night in clearances against the Bulldogs, losing the count 26-46. Expect the Crows to bounce back in an area in which they rank fifth in the AFL (40.5 per game) this season. The Hawks are third with 41.3 per game.

5. The Crows might have an edge in contested possessions. They are ranked second in the statistic (143 per game) while the Hawks are down at 11th (average 135).

6. Adelaide has the star power to trouble the Hawks, according to the Official AFL Player Ratings. Four Crows are ranked inside the top 20 players – Patrick Dangerfield (third), Rory Sloane (fifth), Sam Jacobs (13th) and Eddie Betts (17th) – but Jarryd Roughead (20th) is the top Hawk.

KEY MATCH UPS

1. Taylor Walker/Josh Jenkins v Brian Lake/James Frawley
Walker was in imperious touch against the Western Bulldogs and he looms large as a match-winner. Lake and Frawley are facing critical shutdown jobs on the Adelaide big men.

2. Eddie Betts v Ben Stratton
Betts starred with a bag of five majors against the Bulldogs. The Hawks need to wear him like a glove, but they have plenty of options in Stratton, Taylor Duryea and Shaun Burgoyne. 

3. Jarryd Roughead v Daniel Talia
With Jack Gunston missing due to an ankle injury, more weight will fall on Roughead's shoulders to lead Hawthorn's forward line. Talia will relish the match-up if the star Hawk plays deep forward. 

IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR …

Hawthorn: James Frawley was recruited to help Hawthorn win big finals and he could have a huge job on Josh Jenkins or Taylor Walker. He should be better for the run after an intense first final of his career in Perth.

Adelaide: Taylor Walker has led Adelaide magnificently since the tragic death of Phil Walsh and 'Tex' will have to fire for the Crows to register a famous upset.

WHERE THE HAWKS CAN WIN IT

This is a proud Hawthorn group, which will be smarting after its off-the-boil effort in Perth. Back at home on the MCG, the Hawks will back themselves to dramatically improve their foot skills and carve up the Crows' defensive zone.

WHERE THE CROWS CAN WIN IT

Adelaide's forward line is similar to West Coast's with its mix of strong-marking talls and nippy smalls. If they can be as efficient as in the win over the Bulldogs, then the Crows can worry the reigning premiers.

 


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  Finals Hub

 

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