HAWTHORN v SYDNEY: THE AFL’S BEST MODERN RIVALRY?
Lance Franklin v James Frawley
The ex-Hawk forward could find himself in the goalsquare, the centre square or the wings of the SCG on Thursday night but when he’s in a goalkicking range, it will primarily be up to Frawley to stop him.
Josh Kennedy v Luke Hodge
Two midfield warriors will go to war in the middle. Kennedy’s ball-winning ability outstrips that of Hodge, but expect to see plenty of the Hawthorn captain around stoppages in an effort to combat the formidable Swans midfield machine.
Tom Mitchell v Sam Mitchell
It shapes as a battle of the namesakes for the most touches and one Sam will be keen to win after Tom put the clamps down in round nine. Rumoured interest from the Hawks in luring Tom to Waverley adds spice to this contest.
Ladder position: Sydney No.2, Hawthorn No.1
Contested possessions game differential: Sydney No.2, Hawthorn No.18
Effective disposals: Sydney No.18, Hawthorn No.5
One percenters: Sydney No.3, Hawthorn No.2
Goalkicking accuracy: Sydney No.9, Hawthorn No.1
THE MAKINGS OF A GREAT RIVALRY
2009: Josh Kennedy, grandson of Hawthorn legend John Kennedy Sr and son of multiple flag-winner John Kennedy Jr, moves to Sydney after the Hawks fail to offer a long-term deal. Ben McGlynn is packaged in as part of a trade that sees Hawthorn draft future flag-winners Ben Stratton and Matthew Suckling.
2010: Hawthorn’s 2008 premiership hero Stuart Dew joins the Swans as an assistant coach.
2011: Hawthorn ends Sydney’s season with a 36-point semi-final win.
2012: Ryan O’Keefe wins the Norm Smith Medal for a 15-tackle game as Sydney defeat Hawthorn, the minor premiers, in an see-sawing grand final epic by 10 points.
2013: Hawthorn, again minor premiers, beat the Swans handily in a qualifying final en route to a grand final win over Fremantle. A fortnight later, star forward Lance Franklin departs for Sydney – and not GWS Giants as many suspect – in an unprecedented $10 million move.
2014: A ferocious Hawthorn dominate the minor premiers in a 64-point grand final win that has several Swans in tears after the siren.
2015: Sydney knock off the Hawks in a four-point round nine epic at the MCG, a match marred by the booing of all-time club great Adam Goodes. Sydney’s injury-ravaged season run-in means a finals meeting for the fifth-straight year does not eventuate.