Hawthorns Cyril Rioli marks stronglyin the third quarter. He would play on and goal.

Hawthorns Cyril Rioli marks stronglyin the third quarter. He would play on and goal. Photo: Pat Scala

Hawthorn shocked even itself with its six-goal head start over Fremantle in the grand final rematch at the MCG on Friday night, laying the foundations of a thumping 58-point win.

"We couldn't possibly have envisaged that good a start," said coach Alastair Clarkson. "We've got a very, very high regard for Fremantle. Considering they've only conceded five goals per game in the first two games, to have six in the first 20 minutes of the game was really important. That put them on the back foot a little bit. Scoreboard pressure is the most important pressure you can apply in footy."

Clarkson admitted to increased pre-match apprehension when ruckman Ben McEvoy withdrew because of calf soreness, leaving duties to veteran David Hale and greenhorn John Ceglar. Theoretically, this represented a massive advantage to Fremantle, whose midfield pivots on the giant Aaron Sandilands and generally dominates.

Hawthorn unveil their 2013 premiership flag before the match. Click for more photos

Hawthorn v Fremantle Grand Final Re Match

Hawthorn unveil their 2013 premiership flag before the match. Photo: Pat Scala

Instead, on Friday night, the Hawks smashed the Dockers for clearances, and its mastery spread to nearly every facet of the game in the first half.

"You don't expect those type of results," Clarkson said. "We thought it was going to be a really, really tight tussle tonight. We're delighted that it wasn't. We played some really good footy in the first half. We were really pleased with our effort. You've just got to bag the four points and get onto next week's game."

But he took a moment to dwell on last week's game, a narrow win over Essendon, and the improvement since.

"In my mind, the comparison is between how we played tonight and how we played last week," he said. "We were a lot better tonight. There were very few passengers tonight, whereas last week we just didn't play the style of footy we usually play."

In the absence of captain Luke Hodge and veteran Brad Sewell, Clarkson praised the "selfless" game of Sam Mitchell and the performances of lesser sung midfielders Brad Hill and Isaac Smith. He was also pleased with the effort of Kyle Cheney, who in the continuing absence of Brian Lake, Ben Stratton and Ryan Schoenmakers had to play on a much taller opponent for the third time in three games. Matthew Pavlich kicked four goals for the Dockers, but they were inconsequential on the night.

In the third term, David Hale left the ground with what appeared a painful shoulder injury. Momentarily, Fremantle got the better of the match, but in the atmosphere of a dead rubber. Hale returned in the last quarter, which Clarkson took as a good omen for next week's match on the Gold Coast.