Hawks three times better

HAWTHORN 4.6 9.10 15.13 20.15 (135) COLLINGWOOD 2.3 7.4 12.7 15.7 (97) GOALSHawthorn: Franklin 4, Rioli 2, Hale 2, Gunston 2, Breust 2, Hodge 2, Savage 2, Smith, Roughead, Puopolo, Ellis. Collingwood: Cloke 6, Krakouer 4, Wellingham 2, Sinclair, Dawes, Shaw. BEST Hawthorn: Mitchell, Sewell, Gibson, Hodge, Rioli, Breust. Collingwood: Cloke, Reid, Swan, Pendlebury, Krakouer. INJURIES Hawthorn: Whitecross (knee) UMPIRES Meredith, Nicholls, McInerney. CROWD 85,625 at MCG.
Nanjing Night Net

ON THE ladder, Hawthorn and Collingwood were only one game apart. In reality, the distance was several goals, as the Hawks repeated their two regular-season beatings of the Magpies last night and became the first team to earn a berth in the competition’s final four.

The extent of Hawthorn’s superiority was evident, not only in the difference of 13 scoring shots , but in the premiership topweight’s capacity to boot clear whenever challenged.

This happened twice in the opening half and perhaps once in the third quarter, but the match as a contest – already dying – was killed early in the final quarter when Xavier Ellis and Jarryd Roughead finished the Pies off with easy goals.

The Hawthorn victory was all the more meritorious for the fact that it entered the match without vice-captain Jordan Lewis and were down to 21 within the opening minutes when Brendan Whitecross was subbed off and had to be replaced by Shane Savage, who had been brought in place of Lewis. Yet, the Hawks finished stronger.

The Pies have been noted for their defensive and contested abilities in recent years and one fancied that they would only have a prayer if this became a serious scrap, which, ultimately, it wasn’t.

As the first half scrimmages opened up in the second half, the Hawks increased their advantage. In the final stanza, Collingwood seemed spent, as a four-goal deficit at three-quarter time quickly blew out beyond seven goals.

The most significant difference between the teams was in Hawthorn’s ability – unmatched this season – to score constantly, and at the match’s most crucial moments – basically, whenever they needed a goal. This was most evident in the period before half-time, when a level match was turned into an 18-point advantage.

Lance Franklin finished with four goals but wasn’t a huge factor – two of those majors coming in the match’s final quarter afterlife. He wrestled and scuffled with Chris Tarrant in the opening minutes, disappeared for a while and improved from time-on in the second term.

In confirming their favouritism for the flag, the Hawks also repeated the pattern of the regular season. Sam Mitchell, their premier player this year and last, was the most effective player in the midfield (12 clearances), where he was well supported – as he has been all season – by the relentless Brad Sewell.

Collingwood scored more freely than it had on occasion during the latter half of the season, with Travis Cloke standing up to boot six and Andy Krakouer contributing four in his second game this year. The problem for the Pies was that it was unable to a) get the ball forward often enough, and b) that it couldn’t halt the Hawks’ scoring proficiency.

Hawthorn’s opening-quarter lead of 15 points was based on their trademark ball usage and defensive dominance. Most ominously for the Magpies, Josh Gibson was controlling the game from behind the ball; he had six spoils in that quarter alone, plus six disposals. Notionally, he was matched to Chris Dawes – brought back to support Darren Jolly and provide a foil for Cloke – but in reality he was playing like a spare man.

The Pies asserted themselves after a tentative first 10 minutes, as playmakers Pendlebury and Beams became prominent; Sharrod Wellingham nailed a curling snap, Ben Sinclair – not noted for his finishing – slotted another and the Pies briefly led.

In what would be a pattern of the first half, the Hawks answered quickly, as Rioli, Luke Breust and Shane Savage, who been substituted in for the injured Brendan Whitecross, booted the last three goals of the term. Franklin was quiet, having been earmarked for physical aggression and niggling by his opponent, Collingwood veteran Chris Tarrant, who must have reasoned that his best hope of besting Franklin was to distract him.

Collingwood owned most of the second quarter but lost control in what shaped as the game’s most critical period – time on of the second term, when the Hawks booted the last three goals – all after the 25-minute mark – to open up a decisive lead of three goals at half-time. The crushing blow came on the siren, when Franklin took a diving mark on the second grab and converted from 35 metres, deflating one team and inflating the other.

In the second quarter, Collingwood actually changed game styles. In the opening term, the Pies played into Hawthorn’s defensive hands by excessive long bombing to out-numbered forwards.

But in the second quarter, the Pies adopted a very deliberate short kicking game that was clearly aimed at making the Hawks’ defenders, such as Gibson and Birchall, accountable to a direct opponent. For a time, this worked. Collingwood found scoring easier, as Wellingham, Heath Shaw and Krakouer booted goals to briefly snatch the lead.

It worked only for a time. From that moment, the Hawks had theirs.

EARLY BIRDS

Late inclusions Shane Savage for Hawthorn and Ben Sinclair for Collingwood had an early impact. Savage, having come in as substitute for the injured Jordan Lewis, was then on early when Brendan Whitecross was hurt. He had two goals to half-time, the first a classic dribble from the right forward pocket. Sinclair was also prominent in the first term, having replaced Jackson Paine for team-balance. Given the job of silencing Grant Birchall, Sinclair slotted a lovely set shot from the boundary.

CRACKING PACE

Andrew Krakouer’s remarkable comeback from a knee reconstruction continued as he emerged as one of the Magpies’ more damaging forwards. The Magpies were too intent on looking for Travis Cloke in the first term but a change of tactics after the break helped Krakouer work his way into the contest. He clearly had the better of Tom Murphy, booting two goals in the second term and finishing with four.

KICKING ON

Travis Cloke reinforced his value with an uncompromising performance. He was left to battle two, sometimes three, opponents in the first quarter and broke even but emerged as a major threat when left one-out on Ryan Schoenmakers, particularly in the third term when he had four marks. Cloke has yet to sign a new contract and the prospect of him joining Carlton next season would surely give Collingwood supporters nightmares.

QUARTER BY QUARTERQuarter 1 Tarrant made his intentions clear by roughing up Franklin before the opening bounce. This was a ferocious start, but the Hawks were dealt a blow when Whitecross was carried off with a leg injury. It took 17 minutes for the first goal after Hodge willed himself through congestion. Wellingham responded with a clever snap for the Pies. Rioli replied and there was controversy when an O’Brien tackle was wrongly not deemed holding the ball and Breust ran into an open goal. Hawthorn by 15

Quarter 2 Gunston ran on to a loose ball behind the pack to give the Hawks the early momentum but the Pies worked themselves back. Cloke was influential, booting one goal and assisting in another. Krakouer’s stunning return from a knee reconstruction continued when his long bomb gave the Magpies the lead – but not for long. Smith and Hale bobbed up to hit back for the Hawks, and when Franklin marked, then kicked straight after the siren, the Hawks again had control. Hawthorn by 18

Quarter 3 Cloke looked certain to open with a goal but a free kick upfield resulted in Hale’s second, giving the Hawks an early edge. Cloke responded and the teams traded goals for 10 minutes. However, when Rioli capitalised on a tap from Roughead, the Hawks had a five-goal lead. Krakouer converted, but the Hawks had all the run. Franklin and Gunston goalled in quick succession, the latter’s coming just as Maxwell clashed with Puopolo, leaving the Hawk with a bloody nose as he angrily pointed at the Collingwood captain. Hawthorn by 24

Quarter 4 Collingwood desperately needed the first goal but Ellis ruined that hope, extending the Hawks’ advantage to five goals and the Hawks then went in for the kill. Franklin outbodied Tarrant and handballed to Roughead for a goal, Hodge capitalised on a 50m penalty against Nick Maxwell and Franklin then hit the scoreboard with a towering goal. It was his 10th score involvement of the match, highlighting his importance. Led by Mitchell and Sewell, the Hawks dominated the clearances and contested ball. Hawthorn by 38 – JON PIERIK

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.