Tom Lynch and Luke Hodge fly for the ball.

Tom Lynch and Luke Hodge fly for the ball. Photo: Getty Images

HAWTHORN 6.4 11.7 16.9 23.10 (148) GOLD COAST SUNS 4.4 6.4 7.5 7.7 (49)
Goals: Hawthorn: J Gunston 5 J Roughead 4 C Rioli 2 L Breust 2 M Suckling 2 S Mitchell 2 B Hill D Hale I Smith J Simpkin L Shiels P Puopolo. Gold Coast Suns: A Hall D Swallow G Ablett J O'Meara M Rischitelli M Shaw T Lynch.
BEST Hawthorn: Gunston, Mitchell, Hodge, Gibson, Roughead. Gold Coast Suns: Swallow, Ablett, O'Meara, Prestia, May.
INJURIES Hawthorn:
Spangher (ankle). Gold Coast Suns: Clay Cameron (shoulder).
Umpires: Matt Stevic, David Harris, Leigh Fisher.
Official Crowd: 17,729 at Metricon Stadium.

It's been suggested that Hawthorn might not have played a better half of football than the one it produced against Fremantle last week. The Hawks are playing at some sort of peak at the moment - really, their demolition of Gold Coast can't have been much less complete, despite a far less credentialled opponent.

Of course, this was no grand final rematch. Last week, the irresistible force of Hawthorn dismantled the immovable object that is Fremantle. This, by contrast, was a match between two relentlessly attacking teams - and in attack, the Hawks were unstoppable. By three-quarter time, they'd cracked the ton, and crushed the Suns.

Time
FT
Team
GCFC
Score
7.7.49
Team
HAW
Score
23.10.148
Gold Coast versus Hawthorn
View Match Statistics
Players Swallow (1.1), Ablett (1.0), Hall (1.0), Lynch (1.0), O'Meara (1.0), Rischitelli (1.0), Shaw (1.0), Broughton (0.1), Harbrow (0.1), Stanley (0.1), Warnock (0.1) Scorers Gunston (5.0), Roughead (4.1), Breust (2.1), Mitchell (2.0), Rioli (2.0), Suckling (2.0), Hale (1.1), Puopolo (1.1), Smith (1.1), Hill (1.0), Shiels (1.0), Simpkin (1.0), Lewis (0.2)

Jack Gunston finished with five goals, Jarryd Roughead had four, Cyril Rioli, Sam Mitchell, Luke Breust and Matt Suckling all had two, and half a dozen others chipped in. Defence has always been the bedrock of premiership sides, but not many also boast the firepower of the Hawks, even without Lance Franklin.

It might sound silly given the magnitude of the final margin, but don't underestimate the Suns. They more than matched the Hawks for speed, and refused to be intimidated in a fiercely physical contest. They had moments of brilliance, too, none better than Jaeger O'Meara's slick pick-up before slotting the first goal of the game.

But each of those moments was answered with interest by Hawthorn. Gunston had his first goal within less than a minute of O'Meara. Later in the quarter, Michael Rischitelli kicked brilliantly to Tom Lynch in the square to keep his team in the contest, only for Roughead to reply immediately with a rover's goal from a throw-in.

It must have been disheartening for Gold Coast fans to look up at the scoreboard at the beginning of the second term, just after Gunston added his second goal by hacking the ball out of mid-air on an acute angle, to find they were already 19 points adrift. Because, really, they couldn't have played much better, either.

Early on, they often forced the Hawks back on their heels, with David Swallow especially dynamic around the stoppages. What they couldn't do was take better advantage of their opportunities when they had the ball.

Mitchell's incredible hands and vision, whether around the centre circle or mopping up trouble across half-back, was a constant thorn in the Suns' side, instantly turning defence into attack for the Hawks. He also kicked two himself, and wore plenty of bumps and bruises for his trouble.

Mitchell and Shaun Burgoyne weren't the only ones. In the end, the Suns simply couldn't get their hands on the football, the Hawks finishing with an absurd 465 possessions to 340. Even Gary Ablett, who typically gave his all in amassing 36 touches himself, along with 10 clearances and eight tackles, was powerless to stop the onslaught.

Twelve of the Hawks' 22 finished with more than 20 possessions, and it's not as if those possessions were obtained cheaply - Mitchell wasn't the only one to finish the match feeling sore - or used poorly.

By half-time, the margin had blown out to 33 points, and the Suns had already given all they had. They only had to make the slightest of mistakes for the ball to ricochet down the other end, where the Hawks punished their opponents with clinical efficiency.

The second half was a walkover, Hawthorn kicking the last 11 goals.