Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson now wants consistency from his side after they kept their AFL top-eight hopes alive with a gritty 31-point win over Fremantle in Launceston.
Tom Mitchell boosted his Brownlow Medal hopes and helped give Hawthorn an important percentage boost in Sunday’s 59-point thrashing of Fremantle at Optus Stadium.
Mitchell tallied 42 possessions, seven clearances and two goals as the Hawks prevailed 17.10 (112) to 7.11 (53) in front of a crowd of 41,845.
Hawks forward Luke Breust (four goals), Jaeger O’Meara (33 disposals, one goal) and veteran Shaun Burgoyne (20 disposals, seven clearances) were also crucial in the win.
Fremantle were held goalless from the 11-minute mark of the first term until the 22-minute mark of the third quarter, allowing the Hawks to boot eight unanswered goals and build a 50-point lead.
The win lifted Hawthorn (11-7) into seventh spot on the ladder, just a win adrift of the fourth-placed Power.
But with teams likely to need at least 13 wins to make this year’s finals series, the Hawks still have some work to do, especially with tricky games against Essendon, Geelong and Sydney (SCG) in their run home.
Along with the win, Hawthorn added 3.7 percentage points – something that could prove crucial at the end of the season.
“If you can win the game and win it comfortably, I am certain it will help at the end of the year,” Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said.
“It is going to be tight in terms of ladder position – and could be the difference between a top four position and not getting a double chance.
“And if could be the difference between either making it or not too.
“We’re in the that bracket of sides – we could finish as high as top four or as low as not making it at all.”
Hawthorn are now bracing themselves for a crunch clash with fellow finals aspirants Essendon at the MCG on Saturday.
Mitchell is the hot favourite to win this year’s Brownlow Medal and his performance against the Dockers will help his cause.
The 25-year-old made a scintillating start to the match with four early centre clearances to help the Hawks boot three of the opening four goals.
The Dockers sent tagger Bailey Banfield to Mitchell after the early barrage and it allowed the home side to work their way back into the contest.
The margin was just 11 points at quarter-time but the game became one-way traffic from that point on.
Fremantle registered just six inside 50s in the second quarter and the second half proved just as painful as the Hawks strolled to victory.
“It was a tough day,” Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said.
“We expected to play better than that, and we wanted to play better than that. Are we hitting a wall? I’m not too sure.”
Fremantle face West Coast in a western derby on Sunday.