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Preview: Demons v Hawks

The rampant Hawks have won their last nine matches against the Demons - ${keywords}
The rampant Hawks have won their last nine matches against the Demons
The gulf in talent between these two sides is vast; taking into account who played for Melbourne last weekend and is likely to play this week, only three Demons – Nathan Jones, James Frawley and Jeremy Howe – would likely get a game for the high-flying, ladder-leading Hawks. The only issue ahead of Sunday's clash is what the Hawks want to get out of it. They were scrappy for large parts of their win over Gold Coast last weekend and, according to coach Alastair Clarkson, have a bit to work on. It is Hawthorn’s last match before the bye, so look for Clarkson to pick his best team and to have a red-hot crack for four quarters to enter the break on the best possible note. It shapes as a long afternoon for Melbourne, and how the Demons approach the task and stick with it will have a huge bearing on what happens for the rest of the season. Careers are on the line here.

WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Sunday, 3.20pm

TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide and odds

R7, 2012: Hawthorn 15.25 (115) d Melbourne 6.13 (49) at the MCG
R18, 2011: Hawthorn 20.12 (132) d Melbourne 12.6 (78) at the MCG
R2, 2011: Hawthorn 16.26 (122) d Melbourne 12.5 (77) at the MCG
R20, 2010: Hawthorn 15.9 (99) d Melbourne 12.6 (78) at the MCG
R1, 2010: Hawthorn 17.15 (117) d Melbourne 8.13 (61) at the MCG

1. Hawthorn rides a nine-match winning streak over Melbourne into this clash, including four by more than 50 points. The Demons last beat Hawthorn in round eight, 2006, when David Neitz kicked six goals in a 75-point victory.

2. This will be the 156th clash between the sides, with Hawthorn winning 81 games to Melbourne’s 74. At the MCG, there have been 76 previous contests, with the Hawks victorious in 40 of those.

3. There is a strong Melbourne connection at Hawthorn. Defender Kyle Cheney is a former Melbourne player, while senior coach Alastair Clarkson and assistant coaches Adem Yze and Cameron Bruce also played for the club. Director of coaching Chris Fagan is a former assistant coach and administrator as well.

4. Hawk superstar Lance Franklin has kicked 29 goals in nine games against Melbourne, with a best of six coming in round 1, 2008 at the MCG. Despite his five goals against Gold Coast last weekend, Franklin dropped out of the top 10 in the Official AFL Player Ratings. He now sits in 11th place, and was replaced in the top 10 by West Coast's Nic Naitanui.

5. Hawthorn averages 118 points per game in 2013 compared to Melbourne 70.

6. Hawthorn averages 57.7 inside 50s in 2013 (equal second); Melbourne is last with 39 per game.