Shaun Burgoyne is set to make his much-awaited return to the Hawthorn line-up this Saturday night. Burgoyne has not played for the Hawks since Round 2, when he injured his hamstring in the first quarter against Geelong. The 35-year old will inject some class and composure back into the side as the Hawks eye off a swift rebound from the disappointment of last week’s loss to North Melbourne.
Playing against his former side for the fourth time since moving to Hawthorn at the end of the 2013 season, Ben McEvoy will be a crucial element if the Hawks are to record their fourth win of the year. Over the past fortnight, McEvoy has had the difficult tasks of going head-to-head against Melbourne’s Max Gawn and Kangaroo Todd Goldstein. This week the 28-year old’s match-up against Tom Hickey will be an area Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson will be hoping to gain an ascendancy.
Not only is it good to see Jaeger O’Meara back out on the field on a regular basis, but the 24-year old has also discovered arguably career-best form throughout the opening five weeks of 2018. O’Meara is averaging career-highs in disposals (22.6), goals (0.8), clearances (five) and contested possessions (12.2). O’Meara, Hawthorn’s second-best contested ball-winner behind Tom Mitchell, will be important in exerting his influence against the Saints this weekend, who rank 16th in the competition for contested possessions.
Seb Ross is one of the Saints’ premium midfielders. Having not missed a game for his club in the last three seasons, the 24-year old is a consistent ball-getter who is especially influential in his spread from stoppage. Ross is averaging 27.6 possessions, 18 of which are uncontested, in his five outings so far this season. The Hawks will be keen to limit the on-baller’s impact on Saturday night.
After missing out on senior selection in the opening fortnight of the season, Luke Dunstan has been busy making up for lost time. Having played in each of the Saints last three games, Dunstan has averaged 25 disposals, 10 contested possessions, five tackles, four inside 50s and a goal per game. With 72 senior games now under his belt, the 23-year old has taken his game to another level and is quickly becoming an essential part of the Saints’ midfield engine.