Whilst the AFL spotlight has been on other matters, such as the bad behaviour of Collingwood supporters, the Swans' poor form, and Bulldogs' coach Rodney Eade, the enormity of this game has been overlooked. This is a top of the table clash that will reveal which of these two teams is a real finals contender.
Last week, the Hawks destroyed Port Adelaide 31.11.197 to 5.2.32. Hawthorn super-star, Lance Franklin, was in fine form with eight goals. This is a troubling statistic for Carlton this week. Stopping Franklin will be THE task if the Blues are to end another troubling statistic: Carlton has not beaten Hawthorn since 2005. Both teams have been building their lists and working their way up the ladder over the past five years. Now it is time for the big clash. The Hawks' pre-season training and form gave much confidence for the 2011 season. With a few injuries that confidence waned, but at the end of the season things are again coming together for the Hawks. Are they the ones peaking at the right time?
Last week's performance for the Blues was equally impressive, with a 16.19.115 to 12.13.85 win over Fremantle in Western Australia. The usual suspects in Eddie Betts (six goals) and Chris Judd (36 disposals) dominated for the Blues. The Blues' knockout punch this season has been their speed and skill in the midfield. They have been able to deliver the ball quickly to the forwards and this is the dilemma for the Hawks.
In the jostling for the top four on the AFL ladder, this game will be make or break. The Blues need to win to keep their top four hopes alive. The game is at Etihad Stadium, Docklands, at 7.40pm.