ELVIS Presley's hit song Return to Sender had only just topped the Australian music charts the last time Hawthorn played for premiership points on a Thursday.

The year was 1963, and in round two the Hawks faced powerhouse Melbourne in an Anzac Day blockbuster at the MCG.

It has taken 52 years, but that drought of Thursday matches will be broken this weekend, when the Hawks face Adelaide in a crunch clash between the sixth and seventh sides on the ladder.

Modern-day champions Luke Hodge, Sam Mitchell, Jarryd Roughead, Patrick Dangerfield and Taylor Walker will take centre stage at Adelaide Oval.

From the sidelines, Hawthorn's master coach Alastair Clarkson and long-serving assistant turned Crows mentor Phil Walsh will be pulling the strings.

Back in '63, it was Hawthorn icon John Kennedy snr and legendary Melbourne coach Norm Smith who pitted their wits against one another.

On the field, all-time greats were littered throughout both line-ups.

Six-time premiership player Ron Barassi and fellow Team of the Century members Hassa Mann, Tassie Johnson, Frank Adams and Brian Dixon were pillars of a powerhouse Melbourne team.

But the Hawks, premiers for the first time only two years earlier, boasted skipper Graham Arthur, star forward John Peck and David Parkin.

A little-known centreman, Peter Lyon, was also playing his second game for the Hawks, against the club his son Garry would one day captain.

The match – Hawthorn's first on Anzac Day – lived up to its billing.

Before a massive crowd of 55,293 (the total for the round was a then VFL record 214,484), the Barassi-led Demons pulled away to a 26-point lead at the final change.

A week earlier, Hawthorn had dropped off late in a loss to Essendon, with leading journalist Alf Brown questioning whether the Hawks had it in them to run out four quarters.

But they produced a stunning fightback against Melbourne in slippery conditions and - if not for kicking an inaccurate 4.7 to 1.3 in the last term - would have snatched a thrilling victory.

Peck bagged six majors to be clearly Hawthorn's best, while Barassi was brilliant with four goals and the AFL Record noted he "could easily have kicked more" in Melbourne's 14.16 (100) to 13.18 (96) win.

The Hawks laughed last later in the season, beating the Dees by nine points in the preliminary final.

But they will hope not all history repeats - they went on to lose to Geelong in the Grand Final by 49 points.