If the Geelong Cats are the team to beat for this year’s premiership, then the GWS Giants are the team to watch in 2019.
The North Melbourne Kangaroos have stunned the Hawthorn Hawks with a win by 28 points in front of 27,981 at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
The Kangaroos came out fast to lead by 35 points at quarter-time thanks to Ben Brown opening his account with three goals before the first siren.
A spirited comeback from the Hawks made Roos fans nervous throughout the second half, but a goal to youngster Cameron Zurharr in the final 10 minutes helped calm the scoreline for home side.
The Roos led at every change, as the second quarter was all one way traffic again for the Roos who took a 57-point lead into half time — but not without a comeback, the Hawks kicked six goals to one in the third in what would have been the greatest comeback from half-time in history. However, it wasn’t to be.
Ben Cunnington (30 disposals, 6 tackles) was instrumental all day for the Roos, supported by Ryan Clarke (26 disposals, 10 marks), Majak Daw was solid in defence, and Ben Brown leading the forward line with a four-goal haul to hit the front of the Coleman Medal race with 19 total.
The Roos had 13 marks inside 50 in the first half to just the single for the Hawks in what was a sign of sheer dominance to start the match.
For the Hawks there were too many passengers relying too heavily on James Sicily (28 disposals, 11 marks), Ricky Henderson (26 disposals, 9 marks), and Isaac Smith (25 disposals, 10 marks), while Luke Breust kicked 5 goals to give Hawthorn some hope in the second half.
Superstar player Tom Mitchell had a quiet day by his standards with just 20 disposals and 6 tackles. However, he may come under the match review with a high hit on Roos ruckman Todd Goldstein which will be looked at overnight. Liam Shiels had signs of a sore back, but played out the match.
Midfielder Shaun Higgins (concussion) was sent to hospital after a clash with Ryan Burton in the third quarter. The incident halted play for six minutes, ending the Hawks momentum for a patch to start the third quarter in what could be reviewed by tomorrow. Ed Vickers-Willis (concussion) was also sidelined for the game from the clash.
To add to the Roos’ woes, Zurharr appeared to have bumped sophomore-gamer David Mirra into the fence at a rough pace, however the defender got back up soon enough to warrant no injury.
There was plenty found out about the Roos today as they showed a lot of grit and built on a large win over Carlton last week but for the Hawks, they’ll wonder what could have been after a stunning win last week over the Demons, but a no-show in the first half today.
North Melbourne will line up next week against a revengeful Port Adelaide while Hawthorn will look to get their season back on track against St Kilda in what could become a big clash for both sides.