AFL Round 5 Preview: Hawthorn v West Coast

WHERE: MCG, Sunday, April 23, 2.40pm AWST

THE LAST FIVE
R22, 2016: West Coast 13.14 (92) def Hawthorn 10.7 (67) at Domain Stadium
R2, 2016: Hawthorn 14.15 (99) def West Coast 7.11 (53) at the MCG
GF, 2015: Hawthorn 16.11 (107) def West Coast 8.13 (61) at the MCG
2QF, 2015: West Coast 14.12 (96) def Hawthorn 9.10 (64) at Domain Stadium
R19, 2015: Hawthorn 13.10 (88) def West Coast 11.8 (74) at Domain Stadium

OVERVIEW

Do you ever wonder if 2017 is actually an alternate reality? I mean, Donald Trump is president, Casey Donovan is relevant again, and both Sydney and Hawthorn are 0-4 to start the AFL season. In fairness to Sydney, just about all of their players are out injured, but Hawthorn, well, they just gave their best players away.

The Eagles should really be 4-0 instead of 3-1 this season, and at the risk of sounding like a Scooby Doo villain, they would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for that meddling MCG. In years gone by, playing the Hawks at the MCG was just about as tough a test as AFL football throws up. In 2017, however, it is a different story.

West Coast might struggle at the MCG — winning just one of their last five games at the ground — but Hawthorn are in all sorts of trouble early in the season. Throw in the fact that Ty Vickery should return from injury for the Hawks, and West Coast should win this one handsomely.

TALKING POINTS

1. It is no secret that the majority of West Coast players are not all that fond of Ty Vickery, following his infamous punch to club legend Dean Cox. Honestly, I do not think the Hawthorn players even like Ty Vickery at the moment. Ty Vickery probably does not like Ty Vickery right now.

2. Answer this riddle: what is brown and gold, has only kicked 38 goals in four games, and sits on the bottom of the AFL ladder?

3. The last time West Coast defeated Hawthorn at the MCG was all the way back in round 14 of 2006, and we all know what West Coast managed to do in 2006.

4. The last time these two teams met, Hawthorn only had six centre clearances. To put that into perspective, that is three centre clearances for every ACL tear in that game.

5. The Eagles smashed Hawthorn around the footy in their last match-up, winning the contested ball 153 to 108 in their round 22 encounter.

MOST AT STAKE FOR… Alastair Clarkson.

Giving their two best players away was a bold strategy for Hawthorn, and if early season form is anything to go by, it looks like it is not going to pay off for them. Alastair Clarkson is often heralded as footy’s genius coach but is he really? He is definitely footy’s wall-punchiest coach but a genius… I think not. All I’m saying is a coach really is not that important at AFL level. Do you think Alastair Clarkson would have led the Brisbane Lions to four premierships in the last nine years?

TIP: West Coast by 39.

SECOND TIP: Sam Mitchell bathes in an ice bath of Hawthorn tears after the game.

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