HAWTHORN 4.3 7.7 12.10 17.13 (115) COLLINGWOOD 3.1 6.4 9.7 13.8 (86) Goals: Hawthorn: L Breust 4 J Roughead 3 C Rioli 2 R Schoenmakers 2 B Hill B Sewell I Smith J Ceglar J Gunston P Puopolo. Collingwood: T Cloke 5 J Elliott 2 J Witts 2 B Macaffer C Young J Blair T Adams.
Best - HAWTHORN: B Sewell, L Breust, L Hodge, J Lewis, G Birchall, M Spangher. COLLINGWOOD: T Cloke, S Pendlebury, J Elliott, B Macaffer, D Swan, J Blair.
Injuries: Collingwood: T Langdon (concussion).
Umpires: Justin Schmitt, Troy Pannell, Brendan Hosking.
Official Crowd: 70,495 at MCG.
Nothing can deflate a team that which has worked its heart out to stay in a contest more effectively than a burst of quick goals from its opponent. Hawthorn is the master of that football art, and yesterday it was Collingwood's turn to have its tyres let down by it.
Midway through the third quarter, in front of a throng of more than 70,000 at the MCG, the Magpies were in this contest up to their necks. They trailed by just two points, having kicked five of the last seven goals.
Luke Breust played a crucial role in Hawthorn's victory. Photo: Pat Scala
The last of that run, Travis Cloke's fourth, was a gem, too, the big man managing to square a contest against Brian Lake and Matt Spangher, recovering quicker, taking a handball receive from Dayne Beams and calmly bouncing one through from near the boundary line. Brad Sewell's steadier five minutes later was a relief for the Hawks. But it was also just an entree.
With the third term deep into time-on, we looked set for a nailbiter. Instead, one of those trademark Hawthorn surges effectively killed the contest.
It was Luke Breust who struck first, sneaking out the back of pack and cashing in on the spills. Barely one minute later, it was Brad Hill's turn to get on the end of a sublime bit of football, skipper Luke Hodge's booming centre clearance brilliantly tapped to Cyril Rioli by Paul Puopolo. Rioli's handball over the top of a defender to hit the oncoming Hill was also a thing of beauty.
ALF Round 14, Hawthorn vs Collingwood at the MCG.
Clinton Young tackles Jordan Lewis. Photo: Pat Scala
And less than two minutes after that, it was Puopolo doing it all himself, somehow climbing over the top of the much bigger Alan Toovey and teammate David Hale to take a genuine "screamer" and pop through another.
Three goals in almost three minutes. A nine-point lead out to 27 in the blink of an eye, and Collingwood all of a sudden with a huge mountain to climb. Even Jarryd Blair's belated response seconds before the siren couldn't seem to spark the Pies again, and after Jack Gunston slotted the first of the final term, the rest was pretty academic.
It wasn't that Collingwood hadn't had its moments. After spending most of the first half only just staying within striking distance, by the long break, the Pies had gone from mere nuisance value to a clear and present danger.
They'd swapped goals for a while from the opening, Jarryd Roughead's first of the game cancelled out by Clinton Young's response against his old team, Ryan Schoenmakers giving the Hawks the edge, Brent Macaffer, shadowing the dangerous Hill, squaring things up again, running into an open goal after a rare Hawk turnover.
Only a couple of minutes after that, Collingwood hit the front when Matt Suckling bumped Paul Seedsman when he should have tackled, the young Pie riding the knock and going long to an unmarked Jamie Elliott. But even then, Hawthorn looked the cleaner, slightly more efficient side, and it didn't take long to stamp its authority on proceedings in a more meaningful fashion, either.
It was Breust who put the Hawks in front again, converting a nice kick out into space ahead of him from Hill. From the next centre bounce, he added another, skirting the pack and cleverly bouncing one through.
The Hawks probably could have led by a little more at quarter-time, and soon did anyway. Roughead brought up his second and Breust his third, marking strongly in front of young Pies' defender Tom Langdon. Ruckman Jonathon Ceglar, very impressive around the ground, slipped between two Magpie defenders to mark and goal as well. By this stage the contested marks were 10-2 in favour of the Hawks and the gap on the scoreboard 21 points.
The toughness of Sewell in the midfield was proving a valuable weapon, skipper Hodge was his usual leadership presence and Grant Birchall, after a slow start, was penetrating off half-back.
The Hawk midfield, even without a regular driver against the Pies in Sam Mitchell, had the edge, and while the Pies' keys in Scott Pendlebury and Dane Swan didn't want for statistical output, the latter at least was struggling to have his usual influence. The Pies weren't rebounding out of defence as well, either.
The Pies would have been in bigger trouble without Cloke, his five-goal haul, making it 11 in two weeks. The fact that both of those efforts haven't delivered victory, however, says just how great a burden he carries.
As for victory over the Hawks, Collingwood's last remains the 2011 preliminary final, the sequence of losses now stretched to six. If the Pies are looking for some consolation, both the score and the winning margin this time were less than usual over that stretch. But it's small consolation.
Because, given how comfortable this win seemed in the end, it probably also underlines that the Pies don't seem all that closer to breaking their run of outs against this opponent, either,