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Five to watch: Round 5

Plays of the Week: R4 Despite the loss, there were some promising plays from Round 4.

Luke Hodge

Hodge was outstanding against the Cats last week, gathering a game-high 35 touches in a challenging game for his side.

As the Hawks take on an in-form Eagles line-up, Hodge will again be called upon to perform as he attempts to help wrench his team from the slow start to the season.

In his last three encounters with the Eagles, Hodge has averaged 29 possessions.

Read: Calming words from the General

Tom Mitchell

The former Swan has been a shining light on the Hawks season so far, gathering more touches than any other player in the league over the first month of the season.

The 23-year old is also averaging 7.3 tackles per game, 13th in the competition, underlining his ability to work both offensively and defensively.

Mitchell will again have his hands full this weekend, as he leads the Hawks midfield into battle against, arguably, one of the most complete midfields in the competition.

Kaiden Brand

One of the Hawks best in the loss to Geelong on Easter Monday, Brand will again be called upon for a strong game as the Hawks try to quell Eagles sharpshooter Josh Kennedy.

The 23-year old had 17 disposals last week, leading the Hawks in rebound 50s with five.

Along with Kennedy, 2016 All Australian defender Jeremy McGovern showed his versatility in his side’s victory over the Swans last week, kicking two goals in an influential performance.

Regardless of the role he gets, the outcome of Brand’s match-up will give a strong indication into the outcome of this clash.

Jeremy McGovern

McGovern was a popular choice for his selection in the 2016 All Australian backline, for his ability to intercept the opposition and catapult Eagles counter-attacks.

But in the Eagles’ victory over Sydney last week, McGovern put his true ability on display, as forward Jack Darling’s late omission forced McGovern to play forward, where he thrived to be one of the most influential players on the ground.

No matter where McGovern lines up this weekend, the Hawks will have to be wary of the 25-year old’s range of talents.

Andrew Gaff

Gathering only one disposal less than league’s season leader, the Hawks’ Tom Mitchell, Gaff has been a ball-magnet for the Eagles to start the year, averaging 33.3 disposals.

One of the hardest runners in the competition, the 2015 All-Australian is pivotal to how the Eagles want to play with his ability to repeatedly deliver the ball efficiently to a teammate.

The 24-year old has taken more marks than any other of the top 20 disposal-getters in the competition, highlighting his elite ability to spread from the stoppage and provide multiple options as the Eagles move the ball forward.

Read: Opposition analysis - what sort of West Coast outfit should we expect? 

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