WHERE AND WHEN: Etihad Stadium, Sunday, April 22, 3.20pm AEST
Neither North Melbourne nor Hawthorn was expected to be a serious factor in season 2018, but they meet in round five as top-eight sides. Only reigning premier Richmond has got the better of the Hawks this year, while the Roos levelled their ledger with a crushing defeat of Carlton at their Hobart base. This contest pits the AFL’s No.1 clearance team (Hawthorn) against the top defence (North). Leading Brownlow Medal contender Tom Mitchell’s stunning form is a major reason for the Hawks’ success in the middle, along with Jaeger O’Meara recapturing his Gold Coast best. Throw in hard nut Liam Shiels and speedsters Isaac Smith and Jarman Impey, and the retooled Hawthorn onball division is a force to be reckoned with. The Roos’ winning hopes rest on their ability to be competitive in the clinches, where Ben Cunnington, Shaun Higgins, Jack Ziebell and even ex-Hawk Jed Anderson will need to fire.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
R21, 2017, Hawthorn 18.8 (116) d North Melbourne 14.5 (89) at UTAS
R21, 2016, Hawthorn 14.12 (96) d North Melbourne 8.9 (57) at the MCG
R13, 2016, Hawthorn 14.9 (93) d North Melbourne 11.18 (84) at Etihad
R5, 2015, Hawthorn 19.16 (130) d North Melbourne 10.10 (70) at Etihad
R16, 2014, North Melbourne 16.12 (108) d Hawthorn 13.10 (88) at Etihad
Hutta’s Tip: Hawthorn by 30 points
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