AFL: Hawks easily account for Pies

Hawthorn (20.15.135) defeated Collingwood (15.7.97)

Hawthorn have sealed their passage through to the preliminary final with a 38-point win over Collingwood at the MCG tonight. The Hawks were in control from the first bounce, running away with the match 20.15 (135) to 15.7 (97).

In a ferocious and tense contest, several flashpoints could take the media spotlight over the next week. None more so than Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell’s stray elbow on Paul Puopolo in the third quarter. The incident left the Hawk bruised and bloodied and could land Maxwell in hot water.

However the night belonged to Hawthorn. Led by four Lance Franklin goals and a dominant midfield display from Sam Mitchell and Brad Sewell, the Hawks outshone their opponents in nearly every facet of the ground.

The only shining light for Collingwood came in the form of Travis Cloke, who kicked six goals in the defeat.

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Hawthorn, who lost Brent Guerra, Clinton Young and Jordan Lewis prior to the game through injury, had another integral part of their structure fall after just five minutes. Brendan Whitecross went down with a suspected ruptured ACL, with Shane Savage quickly implemented as the substitute.

Chris Tarrant went to Franklin, with the Pies looking at frustrating the star forward through some off-the-ball tactics. It reflected a scrappy and contested opening quarter, where the game was forced to wait 17 minutes for the opening goal.

That eventually came when Hawthorn skipper Luke Hodge pounced on a hot footy in the forward pocket before scrambling through a goal.

Sharrod Wellingham responded immediately for the Pies, before Ben Sinclair, a late inclusion for Jackson Paine, peeled off Grant Birchall and kicked a nice goal from a tight angle.

Birchall, who was tagged heavily throughout the night, found space going forward to set up Cyril Rioli. Luke Breust and Savage then added two more majors to open up a handy buffer for the Hawks going into quarter time.

Breust and Savage went under the Collingwood radar throughout the night, and both ended the match as multiple goalkickers, stepping up when they needed to.

Collingwood responded in the second quarter with an improved intensity and it began to show across the ground.

Cloke was held early in the match thanks to some brilliant work by Josh Gibson. The Hawk was always flying over the top of Cloke’s one-on-one’s with Ryan Schoenmakers, spoiling at every opportunity. However the key forward lifted as the night wore on, and he slotted his first before centering for Andrew Krakouer just moments later.

Like all good sides do, Hawthorn responded through Savage, yet it forced the Pies to lift to another gear.

They kicked the next three goals, with Wellingham, Heath Shaw and Krakouer all hitting the scoreboard and putting Collingwood in front.

But a brain fade from Pies captain Nick Maxwell just moments before the long-break undid their good second quarter work.

Maxwell blocked Franklin’s run to the footy, resulting in a down-field free kick which David Hale took advantage of.

Franklin then juggled a mark right on the buzzer before slotting home after the siren to open up an 18-point Hawthorn lead at the main break.

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Collingwood continued with their grappling tactics on Franklin, however they backfired early in the second half. A 12-point play saw Cloke mark in the goal square for the Pies, only for the ball to be brought back into the centre for an off-the-ball incident involving Tarrant and Franklin. Hale then goaled from the resulting free kick, ensuring a frustrating few moments for Nathan Buckley in the coaches box.

It was goal-for-goal to start the third quarter, before some brilliant groundwork from Jarryd Roughead saw the Hawks ruckman slap the ball into the path of Rioli. The dangerous small forward ran in on goal and finished nicely to open up a handy lead.

Collingwood were becoming increasingly frustrated, and it was highlighted by a moment of stupidity by their captain. Maxwell caught Puopolo with an elbow to the face 30 meters off the play, which looks likely to leave him on the sideline for a couple of weeks at the least.

The Hawks continued to extend the margin, with Cloke the only ray of hope for the Pies. He monstered Schoenmakers in the air and ended the third term with three goals.

With Collingwood searching for creativity going forward, they turned to Alan Didak. The playmaker was activated as the substitute for Nathan Brown just before the final change.

Hawthorn looked irresistible, and broke the game apart early in the final quarter.

Xavier Ellis soccered one off the ground, before Roughead, Hodge and Franklin also added goals to extend their lead out to 48 points.

Cloke’s contested marking was sublime, and he kicked three more goals in the final term to add respectability to the scoreline, however it was never going to be enough to haul Collingwood back into the game.

Hawthorn were too good. Their array of options going forward saw them end the night with 11 individual goalkickers.

Mitchell and Sewell were ever-present underneath every pack, racking up 18 clearances between them, while the effort of Liam Shiels in locking down Collingwood’s dangerous midfielders should not go unnoticed.

Collingwood may have held the Hawks at times with some tough contested football, however when Hawthorn turned it on you could hardly imagine any side in the competition being able to match them.

While Collingwood will look ahead to an MCG semi final against either West Coast or North Melbourne next week, Hawthorn will take the break and head into a preliminary final refreshed and ready to continue their premiership charge.

5 – Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn)

4 – Brad Sewell (Hawthorn)

3 – Travis Cloke (Collingwood)

2 – Lance Franklin (Hawthorn)

1 – Luke Breust (Hawthorn)

Riley Beveridge.

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