The Hawks begin their quest for a three peat against the Cats today at the MCG. Hawthorn will be looking to be the sixth team in VFL/AFL history to complete back to back to back flags, but their 2015 campaign faces a tough challenge first up. Although the Hawks dismantled Geelong in the second qualifying final last season by over five goals, this is a different Cats outfit. Mitch Clark looks like a legitimate second threat deep, and Tom Hawkins appears to be poised for a monstrous season. Nakia Cockatoo and Cory Gregson will make their debuts in the clash, and Jimmy Bartel will return to the midfield, where he won a Brownlow in 2007.
Make no mistake, until proven otherwise, Hawthorn are the best team in the league. Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis love playing against the Cats in recent times, they combined for 53 possessions and three goals in the qualifying final win. Mitchell is particularly vital to Hawthorn’s forward thrusts, he is instrumental off half back where Alistair Clarkson often deploys him. Although last night’s game between Fremantle and Port Adelaide was a gargantuan struggle, this contest should be the match of the round. Kick off is 3.20pm (AEST).
Justin’s tip: Hawkins and Clark will be too much. Cats by 8 points.
2 Jarryd Roughead, 3 Jordan Lewis, 4 Matthew Suckling, 5 Sam Mitchell, 6 Josh Gibson, 7 Ben McEvoy, 8 Taylor Duryea, 9 Shaun Burgoyne, 10 Bradley Hill, 12 James Frawley, 13 Jonathan O’Rourke, 15 Luke Hodge, 16 Isaac Smith, 17 Brian Lake, 18 Jonathon Ceglar, 19 Jack Gunston, 22 Luke Breust, 24 Ben Stratton, 25 Ryan Schoenmakers, 26 Liam Shiels, 28 Paul Puopolo, 29 Will Langford, 33 Cyril Rioli, 37 Jed Anderson, 40 Billy Hartung
2 Billie Smedts, 3 Jimmy Bartel, 4 Andrew Mackie, 5 Nakia Cockatoo, 7 Harry Taylor, 9 James Kelly, 11 Darcy Lang, 13 Tom Lonergan, 14 Joel Selwood, 16 Dawson Simpson, 19 Mitch Clark, 20 Steve Johnson, 21 Jordan Murdoch, 22 Mitch Duncan, 23 Josh Caddy, 24 Jed Bews, 25 Jared Rivers, 26 Tom Hawkins, 27 Mathew Stokes, 28 Cory Gregson, 29 Cameron Guthrie, 32 Steven Motlop, 33 George Horlin-Smith, 44 Corey Enright, 46 Mark Blicavs
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