Two competition heavyweights will clash in round 17’s match of the round. More than just bragging rights are on offer this weekend, with third-placed Collingwood looking to kick further clear of Hawthorn who currently sit four points away in fourth. It is a crucial match for Hawthorn who currently reside on equal points with two other teams and risk falling as low as sixth if they are unsuccessful this weekend.
After an upset loss at the hands of Carlton in round 15, the ‘Pies bounced back last week, producing a dominant performance to dispose of Geelong by 31 points. That will need to continue this week as they come up against a Hawks team who have been hard to fault in recent times. Star player Dale Thomas has been playing through a badly bruised foot in recent weeks and they haven’t looked like resting him at any stage. With the finals lingering, Buckley could be tempted to give his marquee player a break but this could be a crucial loss if he doesn’t line up.
The Hawks have been simply outstanding recently and are coming off a six-game winning streak. Their defence at the back end of games has been a key reason for their success and that will have to continue this week if they are to topple one of the competition favourites. The form of Paul Purpolo has been a crucial part of the team’s ability to win games over the past couple of weeks and he is likely to be given the task of shutting down in-form Collingwood star Heath Shaw.
The Hakws streak probably has to end some time but our tip is it won’t be this week. Their form has been simply sensational over the past few weeks and if they can continue that again they should be too strong for Collingwood this weekend.
Hawthorn by 10
Hawthorn Win – $1.86.