A look at some of the Round 9 key match ups that might make or break their respective sides come Sunday...
James Frawley v Tom Lynch
Frawley couldn’t have asked for a better return to footy from injury than his game against GWS last weekend. Not only did he keep the competition’s leading goal kicker goalless, but he also managed to collect 17 disposals himself.
This week he will face another big challenge in Richmond’s big-name recruit and tallest forward Tom Lynch who is fourth in the race for the Coleman Medal.
Lynch kicked two goals last week and is starting to look very comfortable in his new side.
Lynch has a six-centimetre height advantage over Frawley and will be looking to make use of this like he did last time he played the Hawks in Round 14 last year. In that game, wearing Suns colours, he took eight marks and kicked two goals.
James Worpel v Dustin Martin
The last time the Hawks and the Tigers met was in last year’s qualifying final where Dusty kicked one of the most miraculous goals of the season from the MCG boundary line.
The 2017 Brownlow medallist was back to his best last weekend against the Dockers racking-up 23 disposals and kicking a goal in the Tigers surprise victory away in Perth.
Worpel has been consistent all season averaging 20+ disposals every game so far. He’s the second leading disposal getter for the Hawks and will be looking to take advantage of the diminishing ruck stocks at Richmond after their main ruck Toby Nankervis has been ruled out for six to eight weeks with an adductor injury. Martin could represent one of the youngster’s biggest challenges yet, but if we’ve learned anything about the Worpedo, it’s that he won’t shy away.
Mitchell Lewis v David Astbury
David Astbury was one of the Tigers’ best in last year’s qualifying final against the Hawks, where he spent most of the game against Jarryd Roughead. Although Roughead kicked three goals in that game, only one of them was against Astbury.
However, without Alex Rance (ACL), Astbury will have to shoulder more of the load including watching youngster Mitchell Lewis in the forward line.
Lewis is looking more at home in the Hawks forward 50 as he puts together consecutive games in the brown and gold. Lewis took seven marks last weekend against the Giants including a couple of very nice contested marks and kicked an excellent goal from a set shot on the 50-metre line. Lewis averages a goal a game and will be looking to increase his output this weekend.