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Opposing Threat: Hawthorn

There aren’t too many teams in better form throughout the early part of 2018 than Hawthorn, which is coming off an impressive 67-point win on the weekend.

Sitting with a 3-1 record, the Hawks have secured wins over Collingwood, Geelong and most recently, Melbourne, and look likely to be a serious threat this season.

Mitchell in the middle

Despite a relatively quiet game by his standards against Melbourne, Tom Mitchell has taken the competition by storm this season, averaging just under 40 disposals per game, and currently sits atop the AFLCA leaderboard by two votes.

Mitchell leads the league in inside 50s per game, handballs per game, contested possessions per game, clearances per game, while also sitting second and fifth in effective disposals per game and metres gained respectively.

Demons co-captain Nathan Jones did his best to limit the impact of Mitchell last week, but could only keep him to 24 disposals.

The Hawks’ forwards

The Hawthorn forward line has been firing on all cylinders, averaging 108 points per game, which places it second behind West Coast in that category.

Luke Breust has been the pick of the forwards so far, with the small forward kicking 11 goals through the first four rounds, including two bags of four.

Captain Jarryd Roughead has also been impressive, averaging 2.5 goals per game.

The impact of injuries

Hawthorn’s near-perfect start to the season hit a speed-bump on the weekend, with injuries to small forwards Cyril Rioli (knee) and Paul Puopolo (hamstring).

The extent of the duo’s injuries is yet to be de determined, but it is almost certain that they’ll miss this weekend’s clash with North.

These two outs will heavily impact Hawthorn’s immense forward pressure, which has been so effective in the opening month.

Coach Alastair Clarkson isn’t set on making like-for-like changes, and will assess the side’s options throughout the week.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs