Shaun Burgoyne and Sam Mitchell of the Hawks celebrate their win in the Round 6 AFL match between the Richmond Tigers and the Hawthorn Hawks at the MCG in Melbourne, Sunday, April 27, 2014.
Shaun Burgoyne and Sam Mitchell of the Hawks celebrate their win in the Round 6 AFL match between the Richmond Tigers and the Hawthorn Hawks at the MCG in Melbourne, Sunday, April 27, 2014. AAP Image - Mark Dadswell

Hawks bracing for improved Suns in Launceston

HAWTHORN is fully aware it will be meeting a different Gold Coast today in Launceston to the one it smashed by 99 points in round four.

On that occasion, the Hawks amassed 465 disposals to 340, with Sam Mitchell (36), Luke Hodge (32), Josh Gibson (31), Matt Suckling (30) and Grant Birchall (27) almost impenetrable across half-back.

Their work allowed Jarryd Roughead (five goals) and Jack Gunston (four) to capitalise up forward.

The eighth-placed Suns didn't have Harley Bennell (pictured) or big Charlie Dixon that night, however.

After his 27-disposal, six-goal game when the Suns registered a breakthrough win over Geelong last week, Bennell will again link with Gary Ablett, Dion Prestia and Jaeger O'Meara in the midfield this afternoon.

The second-placed Hawks, on the other hand, will be missing the repelling talents of Mitchell and Gibson, though regains Ben Stratton.

"They're in really good form, it was a great win against Geelong. Dixon and Bennell we never faced last time so we know it's going to be a different and determined outfit," Hawks interim coach Brendon Bolton said.

"They can move the ball really quickly ... we've got to have a really good defensive action and we think down in Tassie we have… and we're looking to maintain that standard."

The Hawks have won 16 of their past 17 games at their Tassie fortress.

The Suns will field three Tasmanians with Jesse Lonergan, who comes in for Brandon Matera (groin), joining Kade Kolodjashnij and Luke Russell



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