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Melbourne Football Club

Preview: Semi Final

Match Details

First semi-final
Hawthorn v Melbourne
Friday, September 14, 7.50pm (AEST)


FOR the first time since 1990, Melbourne will play Hawthorn in a finals match.

Melbourne will enter the Friday night final on a wave of momentum after the 29-point Elimination Final win over the Cats.

Hawthorn, coming off a qualifying final loss to Richmond, will be no pushover and boast a dangerous midfield capable of performing on the big stage.

The two sides last met way back in April, when Hawthorn claimed a 67-point win on a Sunday afternoon at the MCG.

In that match, the Demons led by two goals at quarter time, before Hawthorn ran away with the game; keeping Melbourne to only 13 points in the final three quarters.

It’s fair to say the red and blue have come a long way since round four and at their best, Melbourne are a strong chance to advance to a Preliminary Final.

Overall, this will be the seventh VFL/AFL final played between the sides, with the first coming in 1957.

Team news

The Demons are unchanged from the side that defeated Geelong last Friday night. 


The Hawks have made three changes to the side that went down to Richmond in the Qualifying Final. Ben Stratton and Jaeger O'Meara are out injured, while Jonathon Ceglar has been omitted. They've brought Ryan Schoenmakers, Taylor Duryea and David Mirra into their side. 

Players to watch

Max Gawn
With two strong midfields going head-to-head, Max Gawn will be at the centre of it all. While the Hawks dominated the clearance count in round four, Gawn led the way with a monstrous 66 hit-outs. Hawthorn’s Ben McEvoy is likely to be his opponent in the ruck battle.

Tom Mitchell
The 2018 Leigh Matthews Trophy winner and All-Australian is one of the game’s best at getting to the ball and racking up disposals. Mitchell averages an insane 35.8 disposals a game, with an efficiency of 71%. James Harmes is expected to play a role in curbing the influence of Mitchell on Friday night.

In the media

Melbourne senior coach Simon Goodwin
“It felt like a long time ago, round four, and both teams have obviously changed significantly through that period, so I haven't really looked too much back at it. Clearly, we didn't play our best footy that day – it was probably one of our poorer performances – and to Hawthorn's credit, they were outstanding. We know what sort of club they are, we know what sort of character they have and where their strengths lie, but… we really focused on our system, our last month, (and) about what works for us.”

Hawthorn senior coach Alastair Clarkson
“We spoke about chaos ... that's where they're particularly strong. Some of that's got to do with Gawn giving them first use of the ball, but some of it's got to do with the fact they've got some really good hunters in there. We need to give ourselves a chance to put our hands on the ball and then get the ball going in our direction. If we can do that then we give ourselves a chance." – via

2018 encounters

R4: Hawthorn 18. 7 (115) def. Melbourne 6. 12 (48) at the MCG

Hawthorn: Breust 4, Roughead 3, O'Brien 3, O'Meara 2, Smith 2, Gunston 2, Puopolo, Henderson
Melbourne: Kent 3, Hogan, Salem, Neal-Bullen

Hawthorn: Shiels, Gunston, O'Meara, Smith, Breust, Sicily, Mitchell
Melbourne: Oliver, Neal-Bullen, Hogan, N.Jones, Kent

James Harmes spoils Jarryd Roughead in round four (Photo: Daniel Pockett)

Did you know…

  • Melbourne has not won consecutive finals since 2000, when they advanced to the Grand Final with wins over Carlton and North Melbourne.
  • Max Gawn will likely break the VFL/AFL record for hit outs in a season on Friday night. He currently has 1042, which is just 16 behind Todd Goldstein’s 1058 in 2015.
  • Several figures at both clubs have history with the other. At Melbourne, Todd Viney and Jordan Lewis were part of the Hawthorn set-up. For the Hawks, Alastair Clarkson, Adem Yze and James Frawley have all played for Melbourne.

Head-to-head history

Played: 162 games
Melbourne: 75 wins
Hawthorn: 87 wins

In finals
Played: 6 games
Melbourne: 2 wins
Hawthorn: 4 wins

At the MCG
Played: 82 games
Melbourne: 36 wins
Hawthorn: 46 wins

Past decade
Played: 13 games
Melbourne: 1 win
Hawthorn: 12 wins

Biggest wins
Melbourne: 141 points (round 9, 1926 at the MCG)
Hawthorn: 115 points (round 21, 1983 at Waverley Park)

Highest attendance
93,754 – Grand Final, 1988 at the MCG

Match Day Hub

Head to our Match Day Hub for all of your key game day info. Those attending the game are also encouraged to arrive early to avoid queues.