Footy is finally back! After a long and dark summer, the real stuff returns, and this is one of the more exciting matchups to kick things back into gear. Adelaide, one of the league’s premier sides in 2017 need to return to the form that saw them make the big dance that year, and Hawthorn needs to prove that the glory days aren’t really all over. Both teams have enough to prove to justify blocking out your Saturday evening.
Last 5 Meetings
|2018||Rd 13||Haw||12.16 (88)||Ade||4.8 (32)||MCG||26,693|
|2017||Rd 14||Haw||14.12 (96)||Ade||12.10 (82)||AO||45,312|
|2017||Rd 2||Ade||16.17 (113)||Haw||13.11 (89)||MCG||37,420|
|2016||Rd 5||Haw||17.10 (112)||Ade||17.7 (109)||MCG||45,781|
|2015||SF||Haw||21.9 (135)||Ade||8.13 (61)||MCG||
It has been almost one-way traffic in the head to head between these two sides this decade. Since 2010, the Hawks have won 10 of 12 matches. History would also suggest that the Adelaide Oval holds little worry for the Hawks either, with Adelaide yet to defeat them at the venue.
Five Reasons to Watch
Covering Tom Mitchell
This becomes an interesting dilemma for Hawthorn, how do you cover a reigning Brownlow Medallist for a whole season? It’ll be interesting to see who the Hawks go with at the selection table, as the Hawks will also be without Chad Wingard, Tom Scully and Grant Birchall, and so will rely on their less experienced players, such as James Worpel and Jaeger O’Meara are going to have to stand up to fill some sizable holes.
New Captains All Around
It’s fair to say that Crows skipper Taylor Walker had a poor 2018. After coming off being voted Captain of the Year back to back by his peers, Walker would be disappointed in not being able to back up his career bests with another stellar year. This year he needs to bounce back, and with Rory Sloane at his side, helping Walker, I think we will. The addition of a Crows co-captain relieves some of the leadership pressure on Walker and allows him to focus more on his football. On the other side, Ben Stratton has been named Hawks skipper for the season ahead, and although many see this as an interesting choice, Stratton will fit into the role nicely if he can get some continuity out of his players. Stratton needs his team to perform early to allow him to be the best he can, and that means taking it up to a very fit Adelaide side on Saturday.
Forward Lines That Need To Fire
In 2017 both these sides showed us what a proper forward line should look like. Tightly knit, with elite skills and multiple deadly goalkickers with a balance of size. In 2018 both these sides gave us hardly any of that, and so will want to prove they’re still just as dangerous as they were at their best. Jarryd Roughead, now no longer Captain at Hawthorn will want to provide a solid target up front, and Taylor Walker and Josh Jenkins also need tot stand up after poor 2018’s in front of the sticks. The Crows are very intimidating up forward and I think they’ll be better than Hawthorn. Jenkins could kick a big bag.
Crows Need Immediate Impact
After a horror 2018 Adelaide cannot afford to start the season off poorly. There’s no way fans will forgive the Crows if they have another poor season, and they need to kick things off right. The Hawks are a team Adelaide has had trouble with in the past, and so this is the perfect way to start off the year. The Crows need to nail this one, with no signs of a fade out or letting the foot off the throat.
Off-Season Preparation, Has It Been Enough?
Now we finally get to see if it’s all been worth it. The Crows have had a great offseason, staying drama free and looking good in two wins from two in the JLT Community Series. The Hawks however haven’t exactly had it quite as good, with several injuries and two JLT losses, including a hammering at the hands of Brisbane and giving up a forty-point lead against the Tigers to lose in game two. There’s been plenty of work in both camps, and now it comes down to the real stuff on Saturday.
As hard as it is to tip Round One, I’m going with the Crows to get off the mark. Generally, the Hawks have the wood over them, but Adelaide will be determined to not let fans and themselves down again in 2019. They’ll look to get off to a flying start.
Adelaide by 20 points.