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Five talking points: Melbourne v Hawthorn

Highlights: Melbourne v Hawthorn The Demons and Hawks clash in round 20

1. Cyril under scrutiny for shirtfront
Amid one of the upsets of the season – Melbourne's first over Hawthorn since 2006 – Cyril Rioli was back with a bang. After being sidelined last week with quad tightness, the Hawks superstar was his usual industrious self, kicking four goals, taking a contender for Mark of the Year and creating chaos with his defensive pressure. However, a controversial bump on Melbourne youngster Clayton Oliver will be the subject of much interest, and is certain to be closely examined by the Match Review Panel. Midway through the first term, Oliver fumbled at centre half-back and Rioli, approaching from the opposite direction, ran past the ball and delivered an old-fashioned shirtfront straight down the middle of the teenager. To Oliver's credit, and probably Rioli's relief, Oliver soon regained his feet and played on. Rioli, who goaled moments later after being awarded a free kick, was booed thereafter by Dees fans, but had the Hawthorn faithful on their feet when he climbed skyward in the second term. Returning Demon Cameron Pedersen – a late replacement for Jesse Hogan (knee) – also claimed a towering mark, while best-afield ruckman Max Gawn took two classics.

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2. Winged Hawks a pre-finals worry
The last thing Hawthorn needs on the eve of a potentially history-making finals series is injuries that could hinder their quest for a record-equalling four successive premierships. But the champion was on the ropes for much of the afternoon, with veterans Luke Hodge (left groin) and Josh Gibson (right ankle) leaving the field early for treatment before battling on for the remainder of the game. The greatest concern though was defender Ben Stratton, who hurt his left shoulder and was sidelined for the bulk of the second half. The Hawks were down to two fit men on the bench in the third quarter when midfielder Isaac Smith was taken into the rooms for a medical assessment, before returning in the final term. 

 

3. All hail the debut of Weid III
If ever there was a natural footballer it's Sam Weideman, the Melbourne debutant who became the third generation of Weidemans to play League football, following father Mark and grandfather Murray, both of whom played for Collingwood. The 19-year-old key forward – the No. 9 pick in last year's NAB AFL Draft – could hardly have been more impressive against the triple-reigning premier, kicking two first-half goals and having a hand in several others. Nine minutes in, he hauled in a big contested mark and became the 240th player to score a goal with his first kick. He also held his own on Gibson. The late withdrawal of young spearhead Jesse Hogan deprived Demons fans of an early glimpse of what is expected to become a formidable forward combination. However, the red-and-blue faithful were excited to see, for the first time, their top two draft picks from each of the past two years on the same field together, as 2015 draftees Weideman and Clayton Oliver (No. 4 selection) joined 2014 graduates Christian Petracca and Angus Brayshaw.

 

4. Kiwi bears fruit
Kurt Heatherley became the first born and bred New Zealander to play in the AFL and, although it proved a tough initiation, the 21-year-old showed sings that he could have a long career. The lean key defender – Hawthorn's sixth debutant this season – got his chance after James Frawley (jarred shoulder) was a late withdrawal, and he started well with some early spoils and a mark. Fellow debutant Sam Weideman initially troubled him and so too did Jack Watts, but Heatherley is a likely type who will learn greatly from his first foray at the highest level.

 

5. Killer clangers
Whatever was in the energy drinks at quarter-time seemed to have a mind-warping effect on players from both sides, as they each inexplicably gifted goals to their opponents after howling skill errors. Just 20 seconds into the second term, young Hawk Kaiden Brand went backwards deep in defence to Taylor Duryea, who dropped a low chest mark, allowing Christian Petracca to pounce and stroll in for an easy goal that extended Melbourne's lead to 17 points. The comedy of errors continued 90 seconds later, when young Demon Angus Brayshaw had the ball on the wing and was a little too ambitious in attempting to hit Oscar McDonald on the defensive side of the centre. Sensing the opportunity, Hawks forward Jack Gunston made the spoil, collected the crumbs, took two bounces and nailed a running shot.