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Match preview: Hawthorn v Melbourne

Pick a Winner: Haw v Melb Duck and Browny preview the Hawks v Demons
Jordan Lewis is running out of time to grab a win against his old side - AFL,Hawthorn Hawks,Melbourne Demons,MCG
Jordan Lewis is running out of time to grab a win against his old side

It's a big game for the Demons. If they can get over the Hawks they’ll be off to their first 3-1 start to a season since 2005. They come into this clash with Jesse Hogan and Christian Petracca in excellent early-season touch and ruckman Max Gawn as influential as ever. But the Hawks represent a significant step up in class for Melbourne this week. They’re much better around the ball this year with Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O’Meara relishing the service given by Ben McEvoy, who will be a tough match-up for Gawn. Hawthorn will be better for the return from suspension of rebounding defender James Sicily because he sets up the backline and allows Jack Gunston to return close to goal where he is at his most dangerous. Last year’s game went down the wire, but the Hawks still won despite their poor form coming in. They’re in better nick 12 months on. 

WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Sunday, April 15, 3.20pm AEST 
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide 

R7, 2017, Hawthorn 14.10 (94) d Melbourne 14.7 (91) at the MCG
R20, 2016, Melbourne 17.8 (110) d Hawthorn 11.15 (81) at the MCG
R11, 2016, Hawthorn 11.16 (82) d Melbourne 10.4 (64) at the MCG
R7, 2015, Hawthorn 24.11 (155) d Melbourne 7.8 (50) at the MCG
R20, 2014, Hawthorn 17.13 (115) d Melbourne 9.11 (65) at the MCG 

1. When the Hawks and Demons last met, Hawthorn led by 29 points at half-time before the Demons fought back. Ben McEvoy dominated the ruck with 53 hit-outs and two goals and Tom Mitchell starred with 31 disposals and 12 tackles.

2. It will be a contest between two of the higher scoring sides so far in 2018; Melbourne is ranked first averaging 105 points per game and Hawthorn is fourth with 102 points.

3. Hawthorn has dominated Melbourne over a long time winning 14 of the last 15 contests including three by more than 90 points.

4. Both sides have been strong in centre clearances this season, the Hawks are ranked first averaging 16.7 ahead of the Demons in equal third with 16 per game.

5. The teams have played at the MCG 81 times with the Hawks winning 45 games to 36. It’s been a long time since they last played at a different venue; all the way back in 1999 at Waverley Park.

6. With Shaun Burgoyne injured and Jayden Hunt omitted, Demon Neville Jetta stands to be the No.1 small defender in this game according to the Schick AFL Player Ratings.

We’re not putting a line through Jordan Lewis just yet, but the Demon warrior is running out of opportunities to get a ‘W’ against the club he served with distinction through 264 games over 12 seasons and four premierships. He’ll be desperate for bragging rights next time he and best mate Jarryd Roughead catch up for a feed.

PREDICTION: Hawthorn by 10 points