Shootout looms between Hawks, Magpies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Shootout looms between Hawks, Magpies

Robert Grant 02/07/2011 01:17:01 PM Comments (0)

The blockbuster clash between AFL premiers Collingwood and Hawthorn tomorrow is shaping as a shootout between forwards Lance Franklin and Travis Cloke.

Franklin relishes playing against the Magpies and has maintained a steady stream of goals against them, while Cloke has been Collingwood's key sharpshooter this season.

Franklin leads the Coleman Medal race for leading goalkicker with 42 majors while Cloke has amassed 35 to be fourth on the ladder.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said on Saturday he hoped to use a number of defenders against Cloke, including Josh Gibson and would attempt to rush the Magpies to spoil their possession rate in the forward 50.

Clarkson acknowledged that Cloke would be a major headache for the Hawks at the MCG on Sunday.

"Cloke's been in outstanding nick for them," Clarkson said.

"His role has changed a little bit over the last 12 months. He's not going as high up the ground and he's taking more contested marks inside 50 (metres) so he's a real potent weapon for them in their front half."

He said Franklin's goal-happy performances against Hawthorn would be an important mental boost for the big spearhead going into the match.

"It's always good from his point of view to know that he's kicked goals against this side before.

"That will obviously help him in terms of his confidence - but he just backs himself against any opponent, Buddy, and that's the strength of him as a player."

Clarkson said the key would be which team manages to dominate the midfield.

"Both sides have got good forward lines so it will be a real battle in the midfield to see who can get it into their forward line the most.

"Collingwood have been outstanding at that - they regularly have 60 or 70 inside 50s and if they do that again tomorrow we're going to be in a bit of strife," he said.

He said Hawthorn expected to win as long as the side can maintain its pressure over the course of the game.

"Every side in the competition is beatable, it's just whether or not you can apply that consistency of application over the full four quarters.

"So many sides who have played Collingwood have been unable to do that, in fact us and Geelong are the only sides who have been able to get over the line against them in the last 28 or 30 games.

"We'll have our work cut out but we know if we play our best footy and negate some of Collingwood's best strengths we give ourself a great chance of victory," Clarkson said.

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