A bumper fixture is expected at the MCG on Saturday night between Hawthorn and Collingwood with the two premiership hopefuls set to draw a crowd of more than 80,000 to the famous sporting venue.
It will serve as a replay of the exciting 2011 preliminary final match which saw Collingwood take victory by three points in the dying stages. Both sides will be without key players going into the match that stands as important one for gaining bragging rights and momentum ahead of the rest of the season.
The Hawks will go into the match as $1.67 favourites at bookmaker.com.au but will still be missing four key players from their best 22 with Jarryd Roughead, Max Bailey, Stephen Gilham and Liam Shiels all out injured.
Fortunately for them, their attacking flair will not be hampered too badly with stars Lance “Buddy” Franklin and Cyril Rioli both set to run out at the ‘G’ this Saturday.
Franklin averages four goals a game against the Magpies and his super boot will play a key role as to whether or not Hawthorn can reverse their 2011 form against the ‘Pies who won both of last year’s fixtures.
The in-form player for the Hawks is ruckman David Hale who excelled in the pre-season NAB Cup competition and will be hoping to celebrate his 150th AFL fixture with a win on Saturday night.
The Hawks are coming off some hot pre-season form which saw them win four of their five matches in the NAB Cup.
The Magpies could be missing up to ten first team regulars for Saturday night and that is the key reason they will start as $2.26 outsiders at bookmaker.com.au.
Included in the list of unlikely starts are Nick Maxwell, Chris Tarrant, Nathan Brown, Alan Didak, Ben Johnson, Dayne Beams and Cameron Wood who all fill key roles for the Magpies.
One man who will be there on Saturday is key forward Travis Cloke who produced some excellent efforts during the pre-season and if Collingwood are to win on Saturday it is likely Cloke will play a big role.
Something on Collingwood’s side on this weekend will be enthusiam with youngsters Peter Yagmoor, Jamie Elliot, Paul Seedsman and Jackson Paine all a chance to debut in the top league on Saturday night.
The ‘Pies had a decent pre-season, winning three of their five NAB Cup matches.
With so many experienced and important names unavailable for Collingwood, it is hard to look past the Hawks who will be looking to stamp their dominance as a force to be reckoned with in 2012.
With an attacking team headlined by Lance “Buddy” Franklin, the Hawks have plenty of points in them and as such we are tipping them at the juicy odds of $1.92 to cover the -6.5 line offered by bookmaker.com.au.
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