Sunday will be unusual for the Hawks; successive games in Launceston, Adelaide and Sydney, plus the bye, means it will be 37 days since their last game in Victoria and 50 since they played at their home ground. They return to the MCG triumphant, a game clear on top of the ladder but the closeness of the top eight, their relatively poor percentage and the occasion of Sam Mitchell's 300th game should ensure there is no let-up. The Hawks usually eschew the tag so Dustin Martin may have another big day, and even though the Tigers have troubled Hawthorn in the past, Damien Hardwick is now blooding the kids, making it doubtful he has the depth of talent to engineer an upset.
Hawthorn champion Sam Mitchell will play his 300th game against the Tigers. Picture: AFL Media
WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Sunday, July 24, 3.20pm AEST
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide
LAST FIVE MEETINGS:
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
R19, 2013, Richmond 16.11 (107) d Hawthorn 9.12 (66) at the MCG
R9, 2012, Richmond 21.11 (137) d Hawthorn 10.15 (75) at the MCG
THE SIX POINTS
1. It took the Hawks three quarters to overcome their recent nemesis when they met in round seven. They needed a nine-goal final term to establish their ascendancy en route to a 46-point win.
2. The Hawks and Tigers have met 45 times at the MCG with the Hawks holding a 27-18 edge. Remarkably, they have never met in a final.
3. Hawthorn is looking to beat Richmond twice in the same season for the first time since 1992. The first of those that year was the day at Waverley when Hawks superstar Jason Dunstall kicked 17 goals.
4. The Tigers enter this match ranked 10th for contested possessions, averaging 141.6 per game. The Hawks are 13th with 136.6.
5. Hawthorn leads the AFL in goalkicking accuracy with 55.1 per cent, while the Tigers rank eighth with 51.7.
6. Hawk magician Cyril Rioli has cracked the top 10 in the Schick AFL Player Ratings with 542.1 points. Dustin Martin is in 32nd with 471 points.
IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR …
The Hawthorn speedster snapped out of his season-long funk with a great game against the Swans and he now returns to the MCG, which is tailor-made for his sweeping, gut-running up and down the wings.
PREDICTION: Hawthorn by 16 points