Hawks, Tigers expecting hot AFL contest

Shayne Hope
Hawthorn's Jaeger O'Meara is expected to face Richmond in round three of the AFL season

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has demanded a fierce response from his midfielders against Richmond on Thursday night after they were embarrassed in their AFL season re-opener.

Clarkson conceded the Hawks were "smacked" in the contest and clearances by arch rivals Geelong after halftime last week, which resulted in a 61-point thrashing.

Jaeger O'Meara's return from a facial fracture adds some class to a midfield unit that will go up against a Tigers line-up missing superstar Dustin Martin, who has bruised ribs.

The numbers told the story against the Cats, with Hawthorn losing contested ball by 31, clearances by 18 and ground balls by 31 - the worst differential since 2018 - in the second half.

But Clarkson expects the likes of James Worpel, Tom Mitchell and Shaun Burgoyne to stand up and take the fight to Richmond's battle-hardened on-ball division at the MCG.

"Whenever you get a fair licking like we did last week in the second half, these guys are proud players and I'd expect some sort of response," Clarkson said.

"We need the response to be fair, we're coming up against the premiers from last year and the most dominant side of the last three years.

"If we're not strong in that space then we're in for a pretty horrid night."

Clarkson's former lieutenant Damien Hardwick tipped a backlash from the Hawks and expects a tough battle at the coalface as his Tigers seek to improve on last week's draw with Collingwood.

"To be honest, it's an area of the game that we thought we could've been a little bit better at, especially early in the game (against Collingwood)," Richmond coach Hardwick said.

"We're two sides that will look to improve that part of the game this week and you always know that a side coached by Clarko is incredibly tough to play against, especially after they're smarting from a loss to an arch rival in Geelong.

"We're going to have our work cut out, there's no doubt, but I think it's going to be a high quality, big scoring game."

The Tigers made two changes with Liam Baker (personal) also out, with Josh Caddy and Jack Ross coming in.