FOBBING off Greater Western Sydney's two lopsided defeats to Hawthorn last year to the club missing star players would be to ignore what went wrong.

Giants coach Leon Cameron's ability to solve the Hawks riddle on Sunday and reverse those results – where they scored only 38 and 29 points, respectively – could be a game-changer for their season.

GWS avoided three consecutive losses last week with a hard-fought victory over previously unbeaten Collingwood, while Hawthorn held off the fast-finishing Roos to move to 3-1.

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Match Preview: GWS v Hawthorn

Sportsbet's Nathan Brown and Matthew Richardson preview the intriguing match-up between the Giants and Hawks at GIANTS Stadium

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Again, the Giants won't boast their best side against the Hawks, with Callan Ward, Tim Taranto, Zac Williams and Sam Taylor among those on the sidelines – and Phil Davis could join them.

Lachie Whitfield headlined the outs in the round eight meeting in 2019, then Josh Kelly, Stephen Coniglio, Jacob Hopper, Harry Himmelberg, Matt de Boer, Jeremy Finlayson and Taylor missed the snow in round 21.

However, there were other, more concerning trends across the two games. 

HAWKS SHUTTING DOWN GWS

STATISTIC

2019

R8 v Haw

R21 v Haw

Points for

84.7 (6th)

38

29

Disposals differential

+31.3 (2nd)

-56

-49

Handballs

146.7 (14th)

117

104

Contested poss differential

+8.3 (2nd)

+2

-13

Uncontested poss differential

+28.7 (1st)

-58

-29

Inside 50 diff

-0.7 (12th)

-10

-23

Fwd-half stoppages

34.9 (5th)

30

40

Pts from fwd-half stoppages

18.5 (2nd)

0

3

Score per inside 50

44.3% (6th)

32.5%

21.4%


On both occasions, Hawthorn cut off the Giants' handball options and made them kick more than they like to, then battered them around the ball in the latter clash. 

Most stark was how the Hawks limited GWS's scoring from forward-half stoppages, which is typically a strength.

ROUNDS 5-7 Check out the full fixture

Cameron's men also struggled with this in their defeats to North Melbourne (six points) and the Western Bulldogs (one) this year, albeit the number of stoppages in attack varied greatly in those matches.

How the Giants address the problem against Hawthorn will be fascinating, as will what they do to ensure Jeremy Cameron ends his run of outs against the brown and gold.

Cameron has kicked only two goals in his past three dates with the Hawks since booting five majors against them in a 75-point triumph in 2016.

One of James Frawley or Ben McEvoy is likely to mind him on Sunday, although James Sicily is never far away in support.

Cameron takes more marks on the lead than anyone in the competition, and Hawthorn had a good tune-up for that type of forward last week in subduing North Melbourne's Ben Brown.

THE LADDER Where is your team sitting?

Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson was fuming post-match last week about his players' performance, even in victory, but his team's defensive system rarely falls down. 

Leon Cameron and GWS must find a way to orchestrate exactly that.