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Richmond Tigers v Hawthorn Hawks Qualifying Final Predictions and Match Preview - Can the Hawks down the premiers?

Adam Cusworth 5 Sep 2018
  • Richmond take on Hawthorn in the opening game of the 2018 AFL Finals Series. Here is our preview of the Thursday night clash

Richmond take on Hawthorn in the first of the AFL Qualifying Finals and the action gets underway at 7.20PM on Thursday night, September 6, at the MCG. 

A crowd of over 85000 is expected at the home of footy and a Preliminary Final berth awaits the winner. Channel 7 and Fox Footy will broadcast the game live. 

Match Preview


Richmond have been the team to beat in 2018 and have won 18 of their 22 regular season matches. Their four losses all came interstate and they are unbeaten at the MCG in 2018. 

However, a couple of sides have come close in recent times, including the Western Bulldogs, who missed out by just three points in Round 23 in what was a 'dead rubber' for the Tigers, who had already qualified for the finals in top position. 

Their opponents, Hawthorn, snuck into the top four, finishing 4th after their stirring win over the Sydney Swans in Round 23. The Hawks have won 15 of 22 this season and are one of the form sides, winning their past six games. 

In their win over Sydney they came back from 26 points down in the second quarter to score by nine. Their youngsters, including Harry Morrison and James Worpel, were instrumental in the win, while seasoned campaigners including Shaun Burgoyne and Liam Shiels steadied the ship earlier on. 

Despite their solid recent form, Hawthorn head in as underdogs. A number of the Tigers big names have been in brilliant touch this year including Jack Riewoldt, who kicked more goals than any other player in the home and away season with 65 majors for the year. 

Riewoldt is one player that will need to be stopped if Hawthorn are to score an upset, while Dustin Martin is another that will need to be curtailed by the Hawks. However, the Tigers are very even across the field and are renowned for their pressure game. They have conceded fewer goals and inside 50s than the Hawks in 2018,  while they have also averaged more goals. 

Hawthorn have found the football more than Richmond this season with the likes of Tom Mitchell and Jaegar O'Meara leading the way, while the Hawks should also have the advantage in the ruck with Ben McEvoy likely to get on top of Toby Nankervis. 

If Luke Breust and Jack Gunston can find enough supply up forward, they are always a chance but they will need to be at their best to set up a win and a subsequent Preliminary Final berth. Otherwise, either Melbourne or Geelong await in a sudden death Semi Final 

Team News


Richmond are a chance to regain both Dan Butler and Kane Lambert from injury but the 2017 premiership player, Jacob Townsend is done for the year. 

The interest at Hawthorn will centre around whether or not James Sicily is available to make his return from a broken wrist. James Frawley missed the Round 23 game with a back injury and could return. Daniel Howe has served his suspension and will be considered. 

Alistair Clarkson also threw Grant Birchall's name into the ring. The experienced defender has not played since early in 2017 due to a succession of injuries. 

Stats


Richmond have won the past two games between the two sides including the Round 3 encounter at the MCG this season by 13 points. On that occasion, the Hawks were slow out of the blocks before scoring a series of goals in the last term when the contest was all but over. 

Trent Cotchin and Bachar Houli were among Richmond's best that day, while Jack Riewoldt booted four goals. Tom Mitchell racked up 42 possessions for the Hawks. 

Amazingly, the two sides have never met each other in a final. Hawthorn are no strangers to the September action, finishing in the top four from 2011 until 2016, while Richmond are the reigning premiers. The Tigers have won 21 games straight at the MCG, including three finals at the venue last year. Hawthorn are seven from nine at the home of footy in 2018. 

Prediction and Tips


Richmond are the proven performers over the last two years and hold all the aces here. Look for them to burst out of the blocks, just like the did in the game between the two sides earlier in the season. While Hawthorn will put up a fight, the yellow and black will hold them at bay. 


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Richmond Tigers v Hawthorn Hawks Qualifying Final Predictions and Match Preview - Can the Hawks down the premiers?

Richmond take on Hawthorn in the opening game of the 2018 AFL Finals Series. Here is our preview of the Thursday night clash

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