A great second half by the Hawks ends the streak of the Swans.
Some of the Swans best didn’t play well tonight but that takes nothing away from the performance of the Hawks.
They are starting to get their best players on the ground and that is showing in a big way.
The Premiership race is certainly back on in a big way.
Hawks 15.14 (104)
Swans 13.16 (94)
The Sydney Swans will be aiming for history tonight when they take on the Hawthorn Hawks in a potential Grand Final match-up at the MCG. Join The Roar for live scores, commentary and a blog of the match from 7:40pm AEST.
In one of the most anticipated matches of the year, the Swans will be looking for their 13th straight win with a victory over the Hawks.
The Swans – as both South Melbourne and Sydney – have never won 13 in a row and are 0 wins and 4 losses when they have won 12 matches in a row.
Standing in their way is a team which will be looking to end the streak and move to the top of the ladder with the Swans.
A win by Hawthorn would move them level with the Swans on 13 wins for the season.
With a big enough win they could even replace the Swans at the top of the ladder.
It promises to be a fascinating match with so many headlines stealing the show.
The matches won in a row is just one of the stories that will unfold tonight. Another is the reaction Lance Franklin will get when he returns to Melbourne to face his former team.
It has already captured attention this week with Shaun Burgoyne asking the fans to respect Franklin during the match.
This was immediately rebutted by the Hawthorn coach, Alistair Clarkson, who said the fans should do want they want to the ‘faceless man’ of the team.
How the crowd react will be interesting. How the Hawthorn players react to Franklin, spurred on by the crowd, will also be something to watch.
Last time out, in Round 8, Franklin was one of the best players for the Swans, as he kicked 2 goals in their 19 point win.
It could have been so much better for the West Australian after kicking 7 straight behinds in the opening three quarters during the match.
He was helped by fellow tall, Kurt Tippett, who kicked four goals in that match.
Tippett returns to the team after a knee injury and replaces Brandon Jack for the important match.
Hawthorn’s stopping of these two forwards will be another storyline of the match.
They once again face the Swans forwards without Brian Lake, who is serving another suspension, after choking Drew Petrie during their clash with North Melbourne in Round 16.
The Hawks do have Josh Gibson back after he recovered from a pectoral injury he suffered during the Round 8 match with the Swans.
He looks likely to match-up against his mate in Lance Franklin in a fascinating battle between the two former team-mates.
Gibson is one of three changes for the clash with Brad Hill and debutant Alex Woodward in the squad. Woodward is another story in the match.
After being on the Hawthorn list for three years, and having two knee reconstructions during that time, the 21 year old will make his debut in one of the matches of the year.
He adds some much needed grunt to the Hawthorn midfield which got hammered by the Swans in their last meeting.
They lost contested possessions, uncontested possessions, tackles, centre clearances, and inside 50’s against the Swans in their last match.
The Swans best midfielders also had a big day out with Daniel Hannebury (40 disposals), Josh Kennedy (36 disposals), and Kieran Jack (29 disposals) getting plenty of the ball.
Stopping these players will be crucial to Hawthorn’s chances tonight.
The team though has improved considerably since that game as many of their stars have come back from either injury or suspension.
It is a match that could go either way.
Hawthorn will be hoping recent form in Melbourne against the Swans will continue.
In the last 7 matches played at the MCG between the two, Hawthorn has won six of them. Sydney’s last win against the Hawks in Melbourne was the 2012 Grand Final.
It has been seven years since the Swans defeated the Hawks during the home and away season. I see that changing tonight and Sydney to win their 13th straight game.
They are incredibly strong in all areas and have too many match winners for the Hawks.
PREDICTION: Swans by 15 points.