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Hawthorn and Richmond face off at the MCG to open the AFL’s Saturday card in a crucial clash for both sides.

The Hawks (3-5, 92.8%) have dropped five of their last six games following a promising start to the season, including a fade out loss to Essendon last weekend.

Sam Mitchell has made four changes in the fallout including Tom Mitchell being managed, while Chad Wingard and Mitch Lewis return and Sam Butler plays his first senior game.

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The Tigers (include 4-4, 116.5%) are meanwhile coming off impressive wins over West Coast and Collingwood to climb back into the top eight, boosted by Dustin Martin’s return last week.

Premiership stars Dion Prestia and Nick Vlasutin come into the Richmond as it unveils debutant Bigoa Nyuon.

There were no late changes for either side. Connor MacDonald (Hawthorn) and Shane Edwards (Richmond) were the medical substitutes.

Rain fell on the ground prior to the match and, while it died down by the time the ball was bounced, it made for slippery conditions.

Both sides were wayward in front of goal early before Jack Riewoldt was awarded a free kick for front-on contact and converted for the first goal of the match.

Tom Lynch took an uncontested mark a few minutes later and put through the second.

Jaeger O’Meara made the most of the wet conditions, putting through a goal from 60 metres out as the ball dribbled through.

Jack Gunston took a mark in the goalsquare with just over five minutes remaining and put the kick through to put the Hawks in front.

Lynch took a great contested mark on James Sicily, who matched up on him from the opening bounce and missed his set shot, but he looked in ominous touch once again.

The Richmond spearhead would finish with two goals for the quarter, while the Hawks had a significant injury scare with Gunston clutching at his ankle and limping off the ground and heading into the changerooms.

This match gets underway at 1:45pm AEST from the MCG.

Watch it live on Fox Footy (channel 504) from 1pm AEST.

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