One of the most anticipated games of AFL Round 5 will be on Sunday afternoon when the struggling Hawthorn Hawks take on the West Coast Eagles at the MCG.
Plenty of water has gone under the bridge since the two sides met in the 2015 Grand Final and the Hawks will be out to end a horror recent run, but it won't be easy against the Eagles
First bounce is at 4.40PM AEST and the action can be seen on Fox Footy. AFL Live Vision is also available to ALL CrownBet members. Every Match, wherever you are.
Hawthorn have slumped to their worst start since 1998 by losing their opening four games and have dropped their past two by 86 points.
The last quarter of the Round 4 clash against Geelong was nothing short of a train wreck, conceding 11 goals.
Their opponents this weekend, West Coast, have won three from four and have plenty of weaponry to push their conquerors from the 2015 Grand Final.
Hawthorn fans can take some hope into the game, given that the Eagles form at the MCG has been ordinary in the past few seasons. The Perth based side have won just one of their past five games at the venue, including the decider in 2015 as well as their most recent hitout at the ground against Richmond in Round 2.
However, even the most optimistic Hawthorn fans will just about be marking this down as a loss. Alistair Clarkson's side look a shell of the force they were in recent years and their confidence is shot.
Key players including Cyril Rioli, Luke Breust and Josh Gibson are out of form, while basic skill errors have haunted the team in the middle of the ground.
Turnovers have led to the Hawks conceding a whopping 125 points per game so far, the most of any side in the competition. If Clarkson and his coaching staff can't find a way to arrest these concerns, the likes of Josh Kennedy and Mark LeCras will have a day out. Those two have combined for 25 goals so far this year for the Eagles.
An interesting subplot to this game will be how Sam Mitchell fares against his former side. The former Hawthorn champion, and 2012 Brownlow Medailist, was a shock trade to West Coast in the off-season, however, the skilful midfielder will need to prove his fitness at training after injuring his ankle in the 26 point win over Sydney in Round 4.
It will be interesting to see which way Hawthorn goes at selection. Big names including Josh Gibson, Paul Puopolo and Will Langford have all been quiet. Ty Vickery and Jaegar O'Meara should return, while Ryan Schoenmakers and Jono O'Rourke will be considered.
Jack Darling should return for the Eagles and if Sam Mitchell misses, this may open the door up for Lewis Jetta, who picked up 36 disposals in the WAFL last weekend.
The two sides spilt their encounters in 2016 at one apiece. Hawthorn took out the MCG fixture in Round 2 by 46 points, while West Coast won by 25 points at Domain Stadium in Round 22.
The two sides have played at the MCG on six occasions since the Eagles joined the competition in 1987 and the Hawks have won every one of those games, including the 2015 Grand Final by 46 points.
Prediction and Tips
Despite West Coast's disappointing form at the MCG they will be too good for Hawthorn. The floodgates may very well open here yet again.
West Coast by 66 points.