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Essendon v Hawthorn
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Hawthorn have won 8 of the last 10 meetings between these two teams and as reigning Premiership holders will be expected by most to make it 9 from 11 tonight at the Etihad stadium.

The Bombers had 286 kicks, 450 disposals, 159 marks, 299 uncontested possessions, 354 effective disposals and a 78.7% effective disposal rate and topped the rankings in round 1 in all of these categories. 

North Melbourne, who the Bombers beat in Round 1, were poor, there is little doubt about that, but how much of their abject performance was down to the pressure exerted on them by the Bombers is hard to quantify. 

There were 3 huge positives for the Bombers to take out of round 1.

  • Dyson Heppell’s improvement on what was already an almost faultless progression through the last 2 seasons, he had a career high 37 disposals against North Melbourne. 
  • Paul Chapman’s seamless  entry into the Bomber’s midfield. His goals and experience could prove priceless this season.
  • Joe Daniher’s 2 goals and increased strength and size. I thought Daniher would take another year to bulk up into a forward strong enough to hold his own against the best defenders. His performance and obvious increase in size and strength against the Roos shows that he’s already a force to be reckoned with. 

The Bombers have tried playing two tall forwards before with limited success but with little in the way of small forwards – where has Leroy Jetta gone? – they will play two talls in Daniher and Jake Carlisle and this could cause a few problems for the Hawks as their defenders are not the tallest with both Josh Gibson and Kyle Cheney under 190 cms. Daniher is 201 cmd and Carlisle is 200cms. 

Hawthorn looked a bit rusty in their round 1 game at Aurora Stadium against the Lions but still kicked on in the 4th quarter to win by 48 points. 

One of Hawthorn’s big strengths in 2013 was the way their goals were spread through the team with Roughead, Franklin, Gunston and Breust all scoring at least 40 goals. Add this to significant contributions by Hale, Rioli, Burgoyne, Hill and Smith and you have a team that looked perfectly equipped to lose the 60+ goals that Buddy Franklin would have brought them in 2014. 

I was impressed with the Bombers in 2013 – before they fell away in the final third of the season – and in round 1 and i can see this being a very close game with Essendon’s tall forwards causing a few problems for the Hawks. 

the any other result option in the Tri Bet market (either team to win by under 15.5 points) is $2.88 with BET365.COM.AU



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