Hawthorn have taken yet another step closer to a second premiership in five years with yet another comfortable victory over Collingwood at the MCG.
It was a physical contest on a cold night, and a tense one early on with five behinds the total score early on, but Hawthorn’s coherence and skill allowed them to break the shackles more efficiently.
While Collingwood were nudging ahead in the inside 50 count, Hawthorn’s defense, led by Josh Gibson with 16 spoils for the game, was immense in spoiling and neutralising every attempt to score.
The Collingwood backline, on the other hand, weren’t so coordinated and fluent and it allowed more scoring shots Hawthorn’s way, which in time were duly converted.
And, once they got on a roll, they’re hard to stop. However, in saying that, Collingwood somehow did.
Midway through the second quarter, Collingwood were much smoother in transition forward and it allowed them to turn a deficit into a lead, albeit by one point, through an Andrew Krakouer goal, who kicked four for the night.
They played much more contested footy and for a brief yet effective period, they were damaging. Heath Shaw pushed forward in an attempt to make the Hawthorn defenders more accountable and, with one of the three goals his, it proved successful.
However, it was short-lived, as Hawthorn slammed home three late responses in succession to drain nearly all confidence from the surge, including Lance Franklin’s first after the half-time siren, which received the applause of the entire team.
And that ended up being the momentum that swung through to the second half, with Franklin starting to better Chris Tarrant, who was highly influential on him, and players such as Sam Mitchell and Brad Sewell’s hard work in the contest pivotal to a constant flux of goals from their outside players.
David Hale and Jarryd Roughead, despite being overwhelmed by Darren Jolly’s 49 hitouts, started to work their way into the contest on the scoreboard, kicking three goals between them; they came from everywhere.
Dane Swan, Dayne Beams and Scott Pendlebury all played well and found plenty of it but Hawthorn just had so many more that ended up finding it and providing outside run to complement the good contested work.
And with Alan Toovey and Harry O’Brien having disappointing games, under the extended pressure, it allowed them to pile goals on.
On top of that, captain Nick Maxwell looks set to miss next week after striking Paul Puopolo, and coming up against either West Coast or North Melbourne, both with dangerous forward lines, it leaves sizeable shoes to fill.
Likewise for Hawthorn, who will go into the two-week break without midfielder/forward Brendan Whitecross, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament early in the match.
Hawthorn: Franklin 4, Savage 2, Hale 2, Breust 2, Rioli 2, Gunston 2, Hodge 2, Smith, Puopolo, Ellis, Roughead
Collingwood: Cloke 6, Krakouer 4, Wellingham 2, Sinclair, Shaw, Dawes
Hawthorn: Sewell, Mitchell, Gibson, Breust, Franklin, Ellis
Collingwood: Pendlebury, Swan, Krakouer, Cloke, Sinclair
Hawthorn: Lewis (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Savage, Whitecross (knee), Puopolo (nose)
Hawthorn: Brendan Whitecross (right knee) replaced by Shane Savage in the first quarter
Collingwood: Nathan Brown replaced by Alan Didak in the third quarter
Reports: Nick Maxwell (Collingwood) by umpire McInerney for rough conduct on Paul Puopolo (Hawthorn) during the third quarter.
Umpires: Nicholls, Meredith, McInerney
Official crowd: 85,625 at the MCG