Main content

Match preview: Richmond v Hawthorn

Pick a Winner: Rich v Haw Duck and Browny preview the Tigers v Hawks
Will Damien Hardwick choose to tag Tom Mitchell - AFL,Richmond Tigers,Hawthorn Hawks,MCG
Will Damien Hardwick choose to tag Tom Mitchell

SUMMARY

The Tigers suffered their first loss since round 21 last year when they fell to Adelaide by 36 points on Thursday night, while the Hawks are riding high as one of four undefeated teams after two rounds. The premiers will need to rediscover their contested ball mojo after being smashed in that area by Adelaide, as well as curtailing in-form Tom Mitchell and the finally fit and sublimely talented Jaeger O'Meara. The Hawks, who have shown they're on their way back to their devastating best, will have their own challenges with Dustin Martin in sharp, goal-kicking form, while captain Trent Cotchin will be hungry for a big game after a subdued 17-disposal performance in his 200th game following a week during which he was treated in hospital for a migraine. They'll also want to ensure they don't suffer a third final-quarter fade-out.

WHERE AND WHEN: The MCG, Sunday, April 8, 1.10pm AEST 
TV AND RADIO: 
Click here for broadcast guide

LAST FIVE MEETINGS

R20, 2017, Richmond 13.15 (93) d Hawthorn 9.10 (64) at the MCG
R18, 2016, Hawthorn 16.18 (114) d Richmond 5.14 (44) at the MCG
R7, 2016, Hawthorn 21.10 (136) d Richmond 13.12 (90) at the MCG
R18, 2015, Richmond 10.11 (71) d Hawthorn 7.11 (53) at the MCG
R6, 2014, Hawthorn 18.10 (118) d Richmond 7.10 (52) at the MCG

THE SIX POINTS

1. Match-winning midfielder Dustin Martin dominated in the Tigers' round 20 win over the Hawks last year. He had 32 disposals and kicked two goals in their 29-point victory in a largely forward role while Jack Riewoldt out with an eye injury.

2. Having said that, this game should produce the battle of the competition's in-form midfielders. Hawthorn's Tom Mitchell has averaged 47 disposals over two games and leads the AFLCA champion player of the year voting from Martin, who is fourth.

3. Mitchell was no slouch against the Tigers last year, either. He was the Hawks' best with 35 disposals and a whopping 10 clearances – easily the most by an individual on the field – with the Hawks winning that stat 36 to 32.

4. However, it was the Tigers' midfield that got the job done on the day, with Dion Prestia chipping in with 31 touches and Kane Lambert picking up 30 to go with Martin's haul. They won the contested possessions 146 to 137.

5. The Tigers haven't been as strong defensively in their first two games as they were last year, with an average of 106 points conceded compared to 74 in 2017. Meanwhile, the Hawks have been the No.1 team for inside 50s and equal fourth for marks inside the attacking arc. 

6. Patrick Dangerfield and Martin might have a monopoly on the top two spots in the Schick AFL Player Ratings, but Mitchell is coming for them. In just the past two weeks, the ball magnet has climbed from 31st overall to 23rd.

IT’S A BIG WEEK FOR…

That's two games and two best on ground performances by Tom Mitchell. He's been awarded the maximum 10 votes by the coaches in the AFLCA award in rounds one and two, with the challenge of stopping the 24-year-old now falling to the premiership coach. To initiate a hard tag (Jack Graham?) or go head-to-head in the midfield is the million-dollar question for Damien Hardwick.

PREDICTION: Richmond by 12 points

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs