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Melbourne will be eyeing top spot on the leaderboard ahead of Saturday afternoon’s clash with Hawthorn at the MCG and the competition’s heavyweights have been bolstered by the availability of Jacob van Rooyen.
The main striker successfully overturned his two-week strike ban on appeal after a marathon hearing was held this week.
The Demons (6-2, 138.3 percent) have three straight wins, including last weekend’s five-point triumph over the Gold Coast Suns.
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Meanwhile, Hawthorn (1-7, 61.6 percent) slips to 17th in the standings after suffering five straight defeats, most recently an embarrassing 60-point loss to Fremantle.
The first bounce is scheduled for 4:35pm AEST and you can watch it live on Fox Footy (Channel 504).
QUARTER-BY-QUARTER MATCH REPORT
Melbourne led from the start, with a remarkable 10 straight games in 50 seconds, before the Hawks could even get ahead.
A few early inaccuracies couldn’t stem Melbourne’s momentum as first Charlie Spargo and then Harrison Petty brought the Dees onto the field.
But it was Jack Viney’s goal that sent the commentators into an uproar after his two-kick drive sailed in goal.
Viney snapped from the front and center but the ball was immediately knocked back to him.
Half a second later he fired the second shot and scored the brilliant goal in Melbourne’s hot start.
Hawthorn just couldn’t make it through on the defensive end as their backline was under siege in the inaugural season.
By the quarter-hour, the Dees were leading 35-1 – Hawthorn’s lowest quarter-time record against Melbourne since 1960.
The Hawks failed to gain momentum in the second season as they were their own worst enemy on foot.
They flipped the footy as they tried to clear the defense.
“Some of those kicks were inexplicable,” said Fox Footy’s Garry Lyon.
It took the Hawks more than 40 minutes to break their goal drought, with Mitch Lewis taking a huge lead.
While Hawthorn’s defense did their best, they still conceded eight goals and gave Melbourne a 45-point lead at the main break.
In the third season, it was a completely different game as the young Hawks came out with real intent.
They scored three straight goals – including career firsts for Cam McKenzie and Josh Weddle – as the Hawks were first in the footy.
With the lead dwindling to just 26 points, it was Demon Clayton Oliver who got his side going.
“From a Melbourne perspective, it was necessary because they were challenged,” said Lyon.
But again Hawthorn managed to find ways to score – something was missing in the first half.
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