ESSENDON 1.4 3.7 9.11 12.14 (86)
HAWTHORN 8.5 14.9 20.15 27.18 (180)
Hawthorn have further enhanced their premiership credentials after smashing yet another top eight team. This time it was Essendon who were on the receiving end of a 94 point romp.
The Hawks won the game in the first half, putting on a clinic kicking 14 goals to three. Essendon were blown out of the water and were made to look like a second rate team. The Dons were able to put up a fight in the second half but they were still no match.
The tone was set early by the Hawks three of their first five goals came as a result of quick transitions combined with suburb disposal. All night Hawthorn sliced open the Bombers, easily finding men in space and hitting them with pinpoint passes.
The Hawks freedom came as a result of their hard work, whenever they won a contest two even three players would stream forward knowing that their teammate would find them.
While the Essendon defenders battled valiantly, they were always going to succumb to the the pressure and sheer weight of numbers, the Hawks finished with 70 inside 50s. Hawthorn came in so often because they controlled the midfield, not allowing the Bombers to get their hands on the ball.
Essendon also contributed to the problem, constantly turning the ball over while coming out of defence because of both perceived and real pressure.
Essendon’s troubles down back were compounded by their problems up forward. They rarely got the ball inside 50 when the game was up for grabs and when they did Essendon never looked like scoring. Scott Gumbleton was the only forward to have any success finishing with four goals.
Scoring for Hawthorn on the other hand was never a problem. They almost seemed to look better without Lance Franklin as the goals were spread among many. Luke Hodge had the perfect first game back kicking five goals before being subbed off. Matt Suckling also kicked four while Jack Gunston and Jarryd Roughead contributed with three each.
However the star of the show was Cyril Rioli. With 21 possessions, 15 contested, seven clearances, 10 inside 50s and nine tackles; Rioli ran amok. Cyril spent more time in the midfield where his skill and poise paid dividends. He also moved forward to apply plenty of pressure.
Brendan Whitecross was also one of the Hawks best with 29 possessions. At 93% efficiency his disposal was superb and set up many goals.
As for Essendon Jobe Watson stood out with 37 disposals and nine clearances. His 14 possessions in the first quarter were admirable but he lacked any support throughout the whole match. Gumbleton continued to impress with limited opportunities and Dyson Heppell was solid off half back.
3) Cyril Rioli
2) Brendan Whitecross
1) Luke Hodge
Essendon: Gumbleton 4, Hille 2, Dell’Ollio, Howlett, Jetta, Lovett-Murray, Monfries, Winderlich
Hawthorn: Hodge 5, Suckling 4, Gunston 3, Roughead 3, Young 2, Breust 2, Rioli 2, Smith 2, Lewis, Puopolo, Shiels, Whitecross
Essendon: Watson, Gumbleton, Heppell, Howlett, Carlisle
Hawthorn: Rioli,Whitecross, Hodge, Suckling, Gunston
Essendon: Crameri (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Kavanagh, Hooker replaced in selected side by Dell’Olio
Hawthorn: Hale (soreness) replaced in selected side by Bailey
Essendon: Nathan Lovett-Murray replaced Alwyn Davey in the third quarter
Hawthorn: Shane Savage replaced Luke Hodge in the third quarter
Official crowd: 44,899 at Etihad Stadium