Rising Sun to face classy Hawk

THEY both possess a precise left foot, earned Rising Star nominations early in their AFL careers and had 23 possessions playing off half-back and up the wing on Saturday.

But it's fair to say when Grant Birchall and Kade Kolodjashnij face each other in their home state this weekend, they represent the present and future of Tasmanian football.

The similarities between the two former Tassie Mariners have been apparent since Kolodjashnij followed the two-time premiership winner into the big time at pick 5 in last year's national draft.

And the running defenders compiled uncannily similar stats in their respective teams' morale-boosting wins as they finetuned their preparations for Saturday's Hawthorn versus Gold Coast clash at Aurora.

While Devonport's Birchall, 26, was more efficient in the Hawks' win over Collingwood (83 per cent to 70), Launceston's Kolodjashnij, eight years younger and three centimetres shorter,  was just as pivotal to the Suns' historic triumph over Geelong.

They had a similar amount of uncontested ball (18 to 17 in favour of Birchall), pressure acts (14 to 10), marks (7 to 9) and score involvements (3 to 1).

For the season, Birchall is averaging 26 touches from his 13 games and Kolodjashnij 19 from 11.

However, the latter's average is three more than the 182-game former All-Australian had in the first 11 games of his career.

It also took Kolodjashnij one less game to earn a Rising Star nomination.

 Hawthorn has won its last nine matches in Launceston, but the Gary Ablett-led Suns are looming as a formidable foe on the back of the biggest win in their history.

Launceston's Kade Kolodjashnij and his Gold Coast teammate Zac Smith leap for a mark during the side's victory over Geelong on Saturday. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Launceston's Kade Kolodjashnij and his Gold Coast teammate Zac Smith leap for a mark during the side's victory over Geelong on Saturday. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop