Luke Breust remains Hawthorn’s leading goal kicker this year despite his streak of six games kicking at least one goal ending against the Lions last Sunday. Breust’s 2.6 goals per game this season are a career-high, with the 27-year old having rebounded impressively from a quieter year in 2017. Only Melbourne and Richmond have entered their inside 50s on more occasions than the Hawks this year, but the brown and gold’s ability to score has severely dropped since a potent first month, with scores of 70, 71 and 73 over the past five weeks. The Hawks need Breust to step up to help rediscover the side’s scoring form and that starts this week.
Up against arguably the most difficult ruck task in the competition in the Eagles’ pairing of Nic Naitanui and Scott Lycett, Ben McEvoy will again be called upon for a big performance this weekend. McEvoy was awarded the three Brownlow votes for his efforts last time these two sides met in Round 5 last year, gathering 17 touches, 43 hit-outs and one goal. The 28-year old is enjoying another strong season in 2018, averaging 13.2 disposals and 30.7 hit-outs per game. As big an ask as it is, the Hawks would love for ‘Big Boy’ to deliver big like that again!
Coming off his equal-lowest disposal tally of the season in last week’s loss to Brisbane, James Sicily will be keen to make amends this Sunday against the Eagles. Sicily has been one of the Hawks’ stand-outs this year, continuing his development as one of the competition’s leading intercept defenders with his ability to then use the ball so efficiently making him such a unique and valuable asset. Sicily must return to the form of the previous three weeks, where he was averaging 27.7 touches and 11.3 marks, if the Hawks are a chance to topple the top-of-the-table Eagles.
Andrew Gaff is averaging at least 29 touches for the fourth consecutive season. Gaff is an out-and-out ball-winner and, despite the criticism coming for his inability to win his own ball, the 25-year old is posting a clear career-high of nine contested possessions in 2018. The midfielder epitomises the way the Eagles want to move the ball, with his hard-running style of play facilitating the Eagles’ ball movement transition from back half into scoring opportunities. Over his last four games against the Hawks, Gaff is averaging 32.3 possessions. The Hawks will certainly be looking to curtail his influence on the Etihad Stadium wing this Sunday.
Coming off a maiden All Australian selection and club best and fairest award in 2017, Elliot Yeo has taken his game to another level again this year. Having earned more midfield time in 2018, Yeo’s averaging career-highs of 24.3 touches, 6.2 tackles, 3.8 inside 50s and 12.8 contested possessions. A smooth ball-user, the 24-year old is coming off his best game of the season last week against Richmond, gathering 29 possessions, six tackles, nine clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal.