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Hawks hold off fast-finishing Gold Coast in McEvoy's 250th

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Roar Rookie
6th August, 2022
7

Hawthorn has continued their late-season form with a dominant win over the fast-finishing Gold Coast Suns by seven points at the University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston.

Jack Gunston was vital with five goals.

There were no late changes for either team. James Blanck was the medical sub for Hawthorn and Rory Atkins for Gold Coast.

Going into the game, the Suns had lost all five of their previous matches at the venue by an average margin of 51 points and were determined to break that pattern to keep their slim finals chances alive.

But the boys in brown and gold had different plans.

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The Hawks had a couple of milestones – captain ‘Big Boy’ Ben McEvoy was playing his 250th game and young pocket rocket Dylan Moore was playing his 50th game for the Hawks. And the Hawks were determined to win for their mates.

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While the Suns opened the scoring with a couple of behinds including one to Noah Anderson, it was Hawthorn forward Jack Gunston who booted the first goal of the game.

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The slick forward added his second soon after.

Midfielder Jeremy Sharp kicked the Suns’ first goal with a long-distance snap.

McEvoy was instrumental, finishing the quarter with four score involvements as well as winning five hitouts to advantage.

It was a heart-warming moment when the ruckman kicked a great goal to extend Hawthorn’s lead and was swarmed by his teammates.

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Ben McEvoy of the Hawks celebrates a goal

(Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Elijah Hollands got one goal back for the Suns to reduce the deficit.

By quarter time, the Hawks had an eight-point lead, leading the Gold Coast Suns 23 to 15.

Jacob Koschitzke kicked the first goal of the second quarter to extend the Hawks lead to 14 points before the Suns got on the board.

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Gold Coast matched that through Ben Ainsworth at the other end, but Hawthorn maintained their lead as Gunston kicked his third goal of the game.

When Luke Breust kicked his first for the day and the Hawks’ seventh, Hawthorn had extended their lead to 27 points. They led 7.7 (49) to 3.4. (22).

A 50m penalty for umpire dissent against Hawthorn gifted Nick Holman a shot at goal from the goal square. Holman didn’t miss.

Then Hawks forward Jack Gunston kicked his fourth for the day followed by a response from Levi Casboult.

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The Hawks had extended their lead to 21 points by the main break. They led 8.8 (56) to 5.5 (35).

The Suns kicked the first goal after half time through Jarrod Witts.

Not to be outdone, Hawthorn midfielder Jaegar O’Meara marked down the other end and then kicked truly.

By halfway through the third quarter, the Hawks still had a 20-point lead, leading 63 to 43.

When the sharp-shooting Gunston marked in the goal square and converted to kick his fifth goal, Sam Mitchell’s men were out to a 26-point lead.

Elijah Hollands kicked his second followed by behinds to Izak Rankine, Mabior Chol and Ben Ainsworth.

Hawthorn’s Jarman Impey was reported for a bump on Darcy Macpherson.

Despite all their efforts around the ground in that third quarter, the Suns were unable to impact the scoreboard. Even though they won the third quarter, they only reduced the halftime margin by four points.

At the final change the Hawks led by 17 points. Hawthorn was 10.9 (69) to Gold Coast’s 7.10 (52).

Whatever Stuart Dew told his men at three quarter time, it seemed to kick them into gear. They seemed to remember that they had a finals place still on the line.

Suns coach Stuart Dew talks to players

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

When Nick Holman kicked his second four minutes into the final quarter, the Suns were within two goals.

When Levi Casboult marked on the forward pocket, he had a shot to bring the Suns within one straight kick but his shot drifted to the side for a behind.

Then Mabior Chol marked and had an opportunity to bring them within four points but his kick hit the post.

Another rushed behind shortly after brought the deficit down to eight points with 11 minutes left in the match.

Then what appeared to be a calamity of errors; the long kickout went to Will Day who was all by himself but he ran too far without bouncing so the Suns were awarded a free kick.

Despite their best efforts and winning the contested possession count in the last quarter, Gold Coast were unable to punish the Hawks on the scoreboard. They kicked just one goal from nine shots.

With his head bandaged, McEvoy stood up and took a heroic mark in defensive 50m for the Hawks in the final two minutes as the Suns were pressing.

The adored captain finished with 31 hitouts, a goal and laid six tackles. And coach Sam Mitchell praised the 33 year-old.

“I was rapt for ‘Big Boy’ to be able to take that catch at the end and just have a couple of big moments and be so influential and for him to have his family there and to be part of a win, he mentioned it to the boys after the game, it’s really special for him,” Mitchell said.

“He’s not a guy who has ever shied away from the contest. He’s done that his whole career and today was no different.”

Despite kicking just one behind in the final quarter, the Hawks held off the fast-finishing Gold Cost Suns to win by seven points.

Jaeger O’Meara had eight clearances, eight tackles and kicked a goal from his 20 disposals in a brilliant display while Tom Mitchell gathered 25 possessions and laid four tackles.

Josh Ward was a shining light for the Hawks with 20 possessions and four tackles as were Jai Newcombe and Jack Scrimshaw, while Finn Maginness led the way with 10 tackles, keeping Touk Miller out of the contest. He kept Miller to three uncontested possessions for the game.

For the Gold Cost Suns, it was David Swallow leading the way with 33 disposals, seven tackles and five clearances while Brandon Ellis had 30 disposals.

The young Hawks have now won four of their past five matches. The gradual improvement over the season will have Hawks fans excited for what the future holds and as McEvoy mentioned during the week, finals is a real possibility next year.

The Suns, however, will be lamenting this one as they had ample opportunities in the last quarter to seal the win and keep their finals chances alive but now are almost certain to miss out on September action once again.

To play finals, the 11th-placed Suns need to win their remaining two matches and hope that all other results go their way, which seems highly unlikely at this stage.

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