JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Ruthless Hawks give St Kilda a football education

Singing in the rain ... Hawk Luke Breust kicks whilst Sean Dempster attempts to smother.

Singing in the rain ... Hawk Luke Breust kicks whilst Sean Dempster attempts to smother. Photo: Getty Images

HAWTHORN 6.2  11.7  21.9  27.13 (175)
2.3  2.3  3.4  4.6 (30)
Goals: Hawthorn:
J Gunston 4 J Roughead 4 L Breust 4 R Schoenmakers 4 C Rioli 2 D Hale 2 P Puopolo 2 S Burgoyne 2 B Hartung B Hill J Lewis. St Kilda: J Billings J Steven L Montagna R Stanley.
Best: Hawthorn:
S Burgoyne J Roughead J Gibson G Birchall L Hodge L Breust B Hill P Puopolo. St Kilda: J Billings L Montagna L Hayes.
Jacob Mollison, Dean Margetts, Robert O'Gorman.
Official Crowd: 32,924 at MCG.

What's the difference between Hawthorn and St Kilda? We could say that one team stayed in Tasmania and the other left; that one has far better stadium arrangements, and that, consequently, one has cash and assets and the other doesn't.

As of Saturday, the difference between the clubs that once shared Waverley Park also stands at 145 points.

 RICHMOND VRS FITZROY . Click for more photos

AFL Massacres

A look at some of the heaviest AFL thrashings in recent times 

Q4 29:48
Hawthorn versus St Kilda
View Match Statistics
Players Gunston (4.2), Roughead (4.2), Schoenmakers (4.1), Breust (4.0), Rioli (2.1), Burgoyne (2.0), Hale (2.0), Puopolo (2.0), Hartung (1.1), Hill (1.1), Lewis (1.0), Birchall (0.2), Hodge (0.1), Suckling (0.1) Scorers Billings (1.1), Montagna (1.0), Stanley (1.0), Steven (1.0), Hayes (0.1)

As you'd hope, that margin is the largest in the history of these clubs, which is quite remarkable given that a.) teams – Hawthorn and Geelong excepted – don't score as much these days and; b.) Hawthorn was supreme in the '80s and the Saints won four consecutive wooden spoons from 1983-1986. It was a result that might feature in equalisation discussions.

There haven't been many scores greater than 145 points this season, much less a margin of that magnitude. Defensive tactics, such as the sandbagging deployed by Paul Roos, make such a margin improbable in 2014.

Yet the mother of all blow-outs happened at the MCG, and it happened in a match in which rain fell for roughly half the two hours. It is extraordinary to consider that this same Hawthorn team was almost beaten by an Essendon side (round two) that the Saints overran a fortnight ago.

Jack Gunston marks in front of Tom Simpkin.

Jack Gunston marks in front of Tom Simpkin. Photo: Getty Images

But if we have gleaned anything from this season and the previous two years, it's that the Hawks have an unmatched ability to butcher the opposition and run up cricket scores. They are a pitiless gang, who don't permit the kind of face-saving that Collingwood afforded Carlton in the final quarter on Friday night. Once the kicking begins, they keep going.

Of the many records busted, and of all the frightening numbers, this was probably the most revealing: at the 25-minute mark of the second quarter, the Saints had their first forward (50-metre) entry for the quarter. By match's end, they had just 25 forward entries to Hawthorn's 68. Some teams squander this territorial advantage – not the Hawks, whose Jarryd Roughead, Luke Breust, Jack Gunston and, surprisingly, Ryan Schoenmakers each booted four goals.

Having Brian Lake back in the side, and with Josh Gibson manning Nick Riewoldt for most of the game, the Hawks didn't need Shoenmakers in defence. So, in his return to the seniors after a 12-month absence, the ''Show'' was given an attractive new job description of goal-kicker, which came in tandem with the unveiling of his hipster Samurai hairstyle. Perhaps the Hawks figured he wouldn't get sufficient work in defence.

Another frightening fact: Sam Mitchell was subbed out with a hamstring injury at quarter time. The Hawks didn't need their most productive midfielder to have complete territorial control and ownership of the ball. Lake also went off with a calf injury in the third term.

Skipper Luke Hodge stepped up in Mitchell's absence, while Shaun Burgoyne was among the most prolific ball winners. Gibson was rampant, especially in the first quarter, and there wasn't much Riewoldt could do about it because he was outnumbered whenever the ball went near him – and to get near it, he had to get up the field, where goals aren't scored.

You would think a team smashed by 24 goals would have been slaughtered at the contest. Umm, not exactly. Hawthorn ''won'' the contested ball by 146 to 135, not much of a gap.

You would imagine then that the dismembered team didn't lay a tackle. Well, no, St Kilda out-tackled the Hawks by 73 to 57.

So, we come back to the opening question: what was the difference?

Skill level is the starting point. Ability to spread would be next, followed by defensive positioning. Hawthorn, as we know, can keep possession of the ball like no other team. That it rained in the second quarter only accentuated the difference in class. The uncontested ball differential was 149, of which most were short, staccato kicks to a brown and gold jumper.

Hawthorn kept possession. The Saints couldn't move the ball from out of defence, couldn't get it past the midfield often, and on those occasions when it was in their scoring area, were outnumbered by Gibson and his cohorts.

Grant Birchall and Matt Suckling played higher than usual – that is, where the ball was. Birchall, indeed, kicked the ball inside 50 metres six times; Suckling seven.

Alan Richardson reckoned the Saints failed to apply pressure and didn't cope with it, which was correct on both counts, despite the tackles. The greater failing was in combating Hawthorn's skill and retaining possession.

If the second quarter was ugly for the Saints, worse was to come after half-time. The Hawks piled on 10.2 to 1.1 in the third term, when they scored with ludicrous ease, highlighted by consecutive Cyril Rioli give-and-get goals on the run, and the unselfish waxing between Breust and Roughead, one donating a goal to the other within a couple of minutes.

Leigh Montagna resisted by winning the ball, as did Lenny Hayes, to a degree. Jack Steven tried, too. But these individual acts of resistance weren't sufficient to halt the ruthless march of the pitiless terminators.

35 comments so far

  • the Saints need to start games the moment the ball is bounced. That is two consecutive weeks that they have started slowly and then ended up being beaten by the clock

    Date and time
    May 03, 2014, 4:55PM
    • Pretty sure they were beaten by 135 points - not by the clock. They didn't start slow, they never started at all.

      Admiral Percy Fitzwallace
      Date and time
      May 03, 2014, 5:07PM
    • actually Admiral it was 145 points !

      Date and time
      May 03, 2014, 11:43PM
    • The only way the clock would have helped the saints is if it went for 24 hours and hawthorn got bored and went home....

      Date and time
      May 04, 2014, 10:31AM
  • St. Kilda are a joke and have been for forty years. Get out of the league or move to Tasmania. I am sick of hearing about their inspirational captain. P*ss weak.....6 kicks and 4 handballs. C'mon Bruce tell us about this special performance......Disgrace to the game and the entire team should consider a media ban for a month or two. I am sick of seeing these jokes on television commenting on a game they obviously can't play.

    Date and time
    May 03, 2014, 5:04PM
    • Pat St Kilda, Melbourne, North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs should all go however the TV rights are worth more if there are more teams so the AFL will keep them even though they will never be any good and a constant drain on AFL finances. Ideally there would only be Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Hawthorn and Geelong along with the interstate clubs. The AFL is committed to Gold Coast and Greater Western being successful so it's only going to get worse for Melbourne, St Kilda, North Melbourne and Bulldogs.

      Date and time
      May 03, 2014, 5:19PM
    • @Pat, I'm not even a Saints supporter but Riewoldt is a superstar - and yes, even superstars have bad days. If you can't see that, you have no knowledge or understanding of the game. I've watched footy for 50 years and I still say Riewoldt took the best mark I have ever seen, at the SCG a few years ago. He ran back with the flight of the ball into traffic, launched himself, had his legs taken out from under him, grabbed the mark and came to earth a good ten metres from where he left it. He's a freak and I'd have him in my team any day.

      west coast
      Date and time
      May 03, 2014, 5:31PM
    • Wrong, Bomber. I am sick of the A.F.L. and their fake crowd numbers. Time to build stadia in Ballarat and Bendigo and send some of these uncompetitive to a CITY where they can at least draw a crowd and a membership base.

      Date and time
      May 03, 2014, 5:35PM
    • Totally agree bomber - the clubs you mentioned should join the VFL. They would then have all the things they used to reject relocation -connection to community, a local game every week etc. then Melbourne would have a meaningful local comp like the WAFL and SANFL that every one could support in addition to their AFL club. win win all around

      win win
      Date and time
      May 03, 2014, 6:00PM
    • What are you talking about Pat, fake crowd numbers. I was there with my son and as usual we played guess the crowd, we've been doing this for years and we've got pretty good at it. I guessed 32,412 and my son guessed 32,700. Official was crowd was 32,924. So with our years of doing this we got pretty close to what the AFL said. And it looked about right, the stadium was about one third full.
      Fake crowd numbers Pat that's just plain wrong.

      Also a few years ago Hawthorn beat Port Adelaide by 197 to 32. Look at Port now. All things come around, Saints had ten years of bring a top line team, they will bounce back.

      Suburban Boy
      Way out there
      Date and time
      May 03, 2014, 6:44PM

More comments

Make a comment

You are logged in as [Logout]

All information entered below may be published.

Error: Please enter your screen name.

Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Please enter your comment.

Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

Post to

You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

Thank you

Your comment has been submitted for approval.

Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

Related Coverage

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers