Hawks leave Magpies and wall well beaten
Collingwood and a coaches’ box wall got holes punched in them by Hawthorn in an emphatic statement of the Hawks’ AFL premiership credentials on Saturday.
In a match billed as a possible grand final preview, the Hawks sliced and diced the Magpies with a 47-point win at the MCG.
Without superstar forward Lance Franklin and skipper Luke Hodge, Jordan Lewis and Luke Breust booted five goals apiece in the convincing 21.12 (138) to 13.13 (91) victory to join the Magpies on 12 wins for the season.
But rather than the emphatic win over key premiership rivals, Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson was most pleased with the fact his side is now assembling a Swiss Army knife-like set of tools to dismantle teams rather than relying on a few weapons.
“Across the board, the evenness and spread of our contribution was very good for us today,” Clarkson said.
“That’s important … not to try to be too one-dimensional up forward. We’ve got a tendency to do that when Bud (Franklin) plays – and naturally enough too – he’s a phenomenal player.
“We have to learn as a side to find other targets when Bud’s not available … it’s a really good test for our group to do it without some of these key players.
“If something catastrophic happens in big games, you’ve got a plan B.”
Clarkson was perhaps looking for the polyfilla in his burgeoning tool kit at quarter-time, after some late defensive sloppiness for a Collingwood goal prompted him to thump a wall in the coaches’ box.
By the end of the match, the cracked plaster on that MCG wall was nothing compared with the cracks his side had exposed in Collingwood in a rampant third quarter.
Hawthorn turned a 19-point halftime lead into a 55-point advantage by three-quarter-time, booting the opening five goals among eight for the term.
Wearing pink boots as a breast cancer fundraising initiative, Lewis bobbed up with three of his goals in the Hawks’ third-quarter clinic.
He also negated the usually dangerous Heath Shaw, who was unable to have any influence running out of Collingwood’s defence.
Midfielders Sam Mitchell and Cyril Rioli led a quality team performance, while defenders Ryan Schoenmakers and Josh Gibson were dominant – holding out-of-form Magpies forward Travis Cloke to just one fourth quarter goal.
Hawthorn’s lead extended beyond 11 goals midway through the final term, before Collingwood managed four of the last five goals of the game to make the margin more flattering but the win no less convincing.
Magpies midfielder Dane Swan gathered 49 touches in a beaten side, while Dayne Beams starred with four goals and 34 disposals.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley admitted his side had been outclassed by a Hawks team he said was “playing the best footy in the competition at the moment” alongside Sydney and Adelaide.
He lamented his side’s inability to win the contested ball, and their slow ball movement to a misfiring forward line.
“We were dominated in all areas, their ball movement was excellent, their pressure was very good and we struggled to deal with all of it,” Buckley said.© AAP 2013