Last time they met: University of Tasmania Stadium, round 11, 2018: Hawthorn 9.10 (64) defeated Port Adelaide 9.7 (61)
Port Adelaide used the wind to surge into a four-goal lead at quarter time, only to be quickly pegged back by the hosts. In a low-scoring clash, Hawthorn eventually overcame its plucky opponents. Tom Mitchell claimed the Brownlow votes with 28 disposals and two goals.
What it means for Hawthorn: After a superb win over the Giants and a competitive performance against the Tigers, the Hawks might be better than the ‘middle of the road’ team Alastair Clarkson thinks they are. It’s time to prove that against the Power.
What it means for Port Adelaide: Already a game and a significant percentage gap ahead of the Hawks, a win here would really shore up the Power’s spot inside the top eight. Given the Hawks are likely to be a main rival for a finals spot, victory on the road would be sweet.
How Hawthorn wins: By slowing the tempo of the game down, getting the match on their terms and then – crucially – by using the knowledge of playing in Launceston to their advantage.
How Port Adelaide wins: By overwhelming the Hawks in the ruck. With in-form big man Ben McEvoy under a cloud, there’s a real opportunity for Port Adelaide’s twin towers to gain a significant aerial advantage.
The stat: Hawthorn’s record in Launceston is fantastic, winning 25 of its last 28 games there.
The match-up: Jaeger O’Meara v Travis Boak
Both are the experienced heads among younger teammates in their respective midfield groups. O’Meara appears at the top of his game, while Boak is enjoying a superb resurgence after he was pushed back into the centre this season.
It’s a big week for: Jonathon Ceglar
Port Adelaide has employed a dual ruck set-up for much of the year, rotating Scott Lycett and Paddy Ryder through the middle. Meanwhile, Ceglar might have to do it all himself with the Hawks sweating on scans for in-form big man Ben McEvoy. It’s an imposing task.
Big call: Luke Breust overwhelms Port Adelaide’s reliable backline to kick five goals.
Mottsy’s Tip: Hawthorn by 30 points
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