Any time a rookie draft selection hits a milestone someone in footy media trots out the term ‘Moneyball’.
Hawthorn have finished with a wet sail to overcome St Kilda by 35 points in an AFL match where both teams have suffered the yips in front of goal.
The Hawks never trailed on Saturday night in Launceston but were made to work for a 13.11 (89) to 7.12 (54) victory.
Isaac Smith kicked four goals and was backed up by Jack Gunston, who booted three including a crucial major early in the final term.
Hawthorn piled on four-straight goals to run away with the match after having their lead cut to just a point early in the third quarter.
St Kilda were left to rue a host of missed set shots.
Hawthorn weren’t much better throughout but brought it together late.
Ball magnet Tom Mitchell was again in the thick of the action with 45 disposals – 16 higher than his next-best teammate Ricky Henderson (29).
Mitchell had a hefty 27 possessions by halftime.
Shaun Burgoyne made a solid return for Hawthorn with 16 touches and five marks.
St Kilda were sluggish out of the blocks, kicking 0.4 for the opening term, as Hawthorn opened up a 19-point lead at quarter-time.
Tim Membrey looked set to break St Kilda’s duck early in the second term but had the miss of the season, somehow finding the post at point-blank range from inside the goal square.
He made up for it, though, booting his side’s first minutes later.
St Kilda dragged themselves back into the contest with three-straight goals to trail 33-25 at the main break.
Paddy McCartin kicked the first of the third term as the match tightened.
But back-to-back goals to Gunston and a running effort from Luke Bruest pushed Hawthorn out to 51-40 heading into the final term.
From there, it was one-way traffic.
Four-consecutive goals early in the fourth quarter broke the back of St Kilda, recording just one win from six rounds.