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Match preview: R9

Last Time We Met: Brisbane R8, 2017 We met in a far cooler region last time we met, but the Hawks got the job done against their old GM of Footy's side.

SUMMARY

This match pits one team trying to jump into the top four against another trying to get its first win, but the main focus lies elsewhere – with Luke Hodge. After a decorated career at Hawthorn, most of which he played under the guidance of Alastair Clarkson, Hodge made the move north after initially deciding to retire at the end of last season. Now he faces the Hawks for the first time at his new home ground. Hodge will be desperate to help Brisbane to its first win for 2018, something that looks just around the corner with a string of narrow losses in the opening eight rounds. The Hawks are going along nicely despite losing to Sydney by eight points last round. They are sitting outside the top four on percentage. Match-ups with Tom Mitchell and Dayne Zorko will be interesting, as will the level of chat between Hodge and his former teammates. Hawthorn should spoil its former skipper's fairytale in this one.

WHERE AND WHEN: The Gabba, Sunday, May 20, 3.20pm AEST
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide 

LAST FIVE MEETINGS

R8, 2017, Hawthorn 17.11 (113) d Brisbane Lions 11.9 (75) at University of Tasmania Stadium
R10, 2016, Hawthorn 21.9 (135) d Brisbane Lions 13.9 (87) at the Gabba
R22, 2015, Hawthorn 21.8 (134) d Brisbane Lions 9.8 (62) at University of Tasmania Stadium
R1, 2014, Hawthorn 21.13 (139) d Brisbane Lions 13.13 (91) at University of Tasmania Stadium
R14, 2013, Hawthorn 21.17 (143) d Brisbane Lions 12.13 (85) at University of Tasmania Stadium

Last time we met: Brisbane

THE SIX POINTS

1. Tom Mitchell was the difference between the teams when they last played. He had 36 disposals, nine tackles, three inside 50s and six clearances. Dayne Zorko was the Lions' best with 31 touches and 11 tackles.

2. Brisbane is the worst first-quarter team this season, failing to win one and a combined minus-127 points in opening terms. Hawthorn has been a strong second-half team; plus-104 points in third quarters and plus-29 in final terms.

3. Hawthorn has dominated Brisbane recently, winning the past eight contests and 11 of the past 12, including five by more than 50 points. The Lions last won in round 12, 2009.

4. This is a rare Gabba contest between the clubs; just the second visit for Hawthorn since 2008. In total, the teams have played 17 times at the venue with the home side winning 11 games to six.

5. Another loss for Brisbane and it would equal the worst start to a season in club history. In 1991 it lost its opening nine matches before finally winning a week later.

6. Following back-to-back four-goal hauls, Dayne Zorko has moved to a career-high fifth overall in the AFL Schick Player Ratings. He sits behind just Dustin Martin, Patrick Dangerfield, Lance Franklin and Scott Pendlebury.

IT’S A BIG WEEK FOR …

Could it be anyone else but Luke Hodge? After 15 seasons, 305 games, four premierships – three as captain – and two Norm Smith Medals with the brown and gold, Hodge plays his former team for the first time. Even with all that experience, there'd have to be some level of anxiety for the 33-year-old.

PREDICTION: Hawthorn by 16 points

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