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Hawks in pole position


Jake Niall

Hawthorn's Jordan Lewis is tackled by Nic Naitanui.

Hawthorn's Jordan Lewis is tackled by Nic Naitanui. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

HAWTHORN 7.1 10.6 11.10 14.11 (95) WEST COAST 1.3 4.4 5.7 10.10 (70)
GOALS Hawthorn: Franklin 4, Gunston 3, Rioli, Hale, Smith, Breust, Hodge, Puopolo, Burgoyne. West Coast: Darling 3, McGinnity 2, Schofield 2, Gaff, Waters, Hill.
BEST Hawthorn: Mitchell, Roughead, Sewell, Franklin, Suckling. West Coast: S Selwood, Darling, Masten, Hill, Schofield.
INJURIES Hawthorn: Guerra (hamstring), Whitecross (corked thigh), Gunston (ankle). West Coast: Kennedy (ankle).
UMPIRES Stevic, Nicholls, McInerney.
CROWD 50,023, at MCG.

FOR the Hawks, their final home-and-away game of 2012 delivered what they wanted: the minor premiership and a game in Melbourne, rather than Adelaide or Sydney, in the first week of the finals.

That first September outing is unlikely to be a genuine ''home'' final, assuming Collingwood is competent enough to best Essendon tonight. If the Pies cannot, then we will see a repeat of last night's pre-finals final, in which West Coast made a charge that was beyond belated - it came hard, from more than seven goals behind, following a run of four goals, to close to 19 points.

Do the limbo. Hawthorn's Luke Hodge battles with Eagle Sam Butler.

Do the limbo. Hawthorn's Luke Hodge battles with Eagle Sam Butler. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

As it happened: For live blog: click here.

The Eagles were coming from far back, too late, however. Their run-on was assisted by what was the greatest downside of the match for the Hawks, a bad hamstring to defender Brent Guerra.

A goal to Luke Breust 17 minutes into the final quarter quelled any anxiety among the brown and golds, whose 25-point margin wasn't a reflection of a match that contained precious little suspense. The Hawks more or less killed the excitement in the first quarter, with seven goals to one, including four to Lance Franklin, who seemed a chance to boot 10 and perhaps reclaim the Coleman Medal that his hamstring had stolen. But Buddy did little thereafter. The Eagles gained some ground, without really threatening until that final quarter flurry, when Guerra left the field and the Hawks tired, their unlikely sub, Cyril Rioli, having entered the game late in the third quarter.

Lance Franklin marks. Click for more photos

AFL Round 23 : Hawthorn v West Coast Eagles

Hawthorn has finished the season defeating West Coast Eagles by 25 points and giving them the minor premiership for the first time in 23 years. Final score 14.11 (95) to 10.10 (70). Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

So there was a phoney Eagles comeback at the death and an impressive Hawks blitz at the start, in which their extraordinary kicking skills diced an admittedly sluggish West Coast defence and midfield. The middle period of the match was one of stasis, as the scores bobbed between five and six goals.

In the third term, there was only one goal to each team, the Hawks not producing any until Jack Gunston nailed his third from outside 50 metres.

The Hawks were propelled, as ever, by Sam Mitchell and his midfield accomplice, Brad Sewell, and by the underrated brilliance of forward/ruck Jarryd Roughead.

They narrowly beat the Eagles for contested balls and inside 50s. Unsurprisingly, it was their ball usage and greater potency in attack, where Gunston and Franklin shared seven goals, that proved decisive; even at quarter-time, they had been in their attacking 50-metre arc only twice more than the Eagles.

Franklin's electric first quarter was significant to the outcome, albeit he was finishing the well-crafted work of others rather than conjuring goals from half chances. Buddy booted the game's opening two goals - the first one of those patented ''out-the-back'' goals in which Franklin is pitted one-out in a sprint to the goal line, chasing a bouncing ball - a race that no defender wants.

The return was spectacular, but the goals themselves weren't; three of those four majors were the result of superb kicking from teammates - Brendan Whitecross finding Franklin on a long ball, while Mitchell, a brilliant user of the ball, twice nailed him on the lead for goals. Even the first goal was created by a very effective 55 metres kick into space by Hawthorn's super boot Matt Suckling.

The Eagles afforded the Hawks far too much space in both the midfield and even in the flag favourite's front half. It is difficult to defeat Hawthorn even from five goals ahead early in the match. To spot the Hawks almost six goals in the opening quarter is like trailing the Jamaican 4 x 100 metres relay team before the baton is handed to Usain Bolt. They aren't easily caught.

The Eagles, though, have demonstrated a willingness to scrap out games and they mounted a mini-surge - not quite a comeback - in the second quarter, as a pair of goals to the exceptionally gifted Jack Darling and another to Will Schofield closed the margin to four goals. The Eagles pressed and, for a fleeting moment, there was the possibility of a serious contest.

But Sewell, whose relentless productivity has been concealed by Mitchell's brilliance in the same midfield, created a goal with a deft grubber kick along the boundary, setting off a classic Hawthorn chain of possessions that ended with the accurate boot of Shaun Burgoyne.

Then Buddy tapped brilliantly to Gunston, surely one of the best converters in the game. Gunston's snap pushed the margin back beyond six goals, which it would remain at half-time.

The Eagles hadn't been awful to this point; they had not been efficient, though - their forwards, Darling and Josh Hill aside, were quiet - and they were not clean enough in the stoppages. Scott Selwood was clearly their most prolific and effective player. Their evening was best reflected in the two halves of Matt Priddis, normally their main distributor. None of his six clearances were in the formative, first half. Eagles ruckmen Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui won plenty of hitouts but had little influence around the ground.

The Eagles, thus, have likely landed in Perth, in a cut-throat final, rather than back here against the Hawks, who, regardless of who they encounter, are unlikely to be beaten by any team that spots them six goals.


Cyril Rioli coming back from injury was the luxury choice as substitute. As the crowd chanted ''Cyril'' in the third quarter, urging the coaches to bring the electrifying forward on, l Alastair Clarkson held his nerve. With less than three minutes to go in the third term Rioli finally came on. He was on the end of a chain of play to goal in the opening minutes of the last quarter.


The Hawks were the dominant side but not in the free-kick count. At half-time, the Hawks led by 38 points but had drawn just four free kicks, including only one for the second quarter. The Eagles had nine. Typically the dominant side draws more free kicks. At the end, the Eagles had 19 frees to Hawthorn's 13.


When Lance Franklin gathered the ball beyond the wing in the last quarter and turned to see grass between him and the goal it seemed he was about to open up another high reel. Jacob Brennan, son of Eagles premiership player Michael Brennan, was on Franklin and chased him down the wing and harassed the error even as Franklin handed off to Rioli and got the ball back. The young Eagle, one out against two of the best players in the league, had not been beaten. - MICHAEL GLEESON

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AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS 132vs CAR 51 Report Stats
HAW 134vs BRI 62 Report Stats
NTH 73vs WBU 96 Report Stats
ESS 47vs RIC 74 Report Stats
GCF 51vs PTA 88 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE 126vs WCE 69 Report Stats
STK 38vs SYD 135 Report Stats
FRE 108vs MEL 54 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC 108vs NTH 67 Report Stats
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
GEE 119vs ADE 80 Report Stats
BRI 130vs WBU 122 Report Stats
PTA 122vs FRE 53 Report Stats
HAW 113vs CAR 56 Report Stats
SYD 127vs GCF 64 Report Stats
WCE 125vs STK 30 Report Stats
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
MEL 103vs GWS 77 Report Stats
COL 92vs ESS 95 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Fri, 11 SepTimes shown AEST
WCE 96vs HAW 64 Report Stats
Sat, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
FRE 69vs SYD 60 Report Stats
WBU 102vs ADE 109 Report Stats
Sun, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
RIC 88vs NTH 105 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Fri, 18 SepTimes shown AEST
HAW 135vs ADE 61 Report Stats
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD 51vs NTH 77 Report Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
FRE 67vs HAW 94 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
WCE 80vs NTH 55 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 27
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
HAW 107vs WCE 61 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 22 17 5 0 118.73 68
West Coast Eagles 22 16 5 1 148.22 66
Hawthorn 22 16 6 0 158.40 64
Sydney Swans 22 16 6 0 127.12 64
Richmond 22 15 7 0 123.09 60
Western Bulldogs 22 14 8 0 115.12 56
Adelaide Crows 21 13 8 0 115.71 54
North Melbourne 22 13 9 0 106.45 52
View all

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