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Where: Etihad Stadium
When: Friday July 4, 10.50am (BST)
Watch live: Click here to watch online with AFL Global Pass!
Alastair Clarkson returns as Hawthorn coach on Friday after caretaker Brendon Bolton led the Hawks to five straight wins.
Clarkson’s side face an inconsistent Kangaroos outfit on the back of five consecutive wins that has launched them to the top of the AFL ladder.
As much as Clarkson is a welcome return, the loss of Cyril Rioli to a hamstring injury is a huge blow and something the Kangaroos will look to capitalize on.
Brad Scott’s North Melbourne side are the most difficult team to read in the competition and the loss to the Brisbane Lions last week was the low-point of their season.
However history shows the Kangaroos bounce back after frustrating losses to bottom-half sides.
Despite this, it’s hard to see Hawthorn losing this – especially as the return of Clarkson will no doubt have a motivational effect on the players.
1. North Melbourne has lost six of its past seven matches against Hawthorn, including the past four. If the Roos lose on Friday night, it will be the first time since 1990-93 that they have lost five games in a row to the Hawks.
2. North has not beaten Hawthorn at Etihad Stadium since round six, 2006, with the Hawks enjoying a 5-3 record against the Roos at the Docklands venue.
3. No team has taken the ball inside its forward 50 more in 2014 than Hawthorn (58 inside 50s a game), while the Roos have struggled in comparison, ranked a lowly 14th (48.3).
4. This will be a contest between the most accurate and the most inaccurate goalkicking teams in 2014, with Hawthorn leading the competition with its conversion rate of 58.3 per cent and North Melbourne ranked 18th with its 46.4 per cent conversion rate.
5. Hawthorn is again the No.1 scoring side in 2014, averaging 116.7 points a game, while the Kangaroos have slipped from being the third highest-scoring team in 2013 to 11th this season (85.7 points a game).
6. Isaac Smith had a career-best 25.4 player ratings points last round against Gold Coast. The Hawthorn midfielder is ranked 80th overall in the Official AFL Player Ratings.