Hawks prevail in für alte Tiere


WE knew, just knew, it would be an epic. Even with Hawthorn well ahead on the score­board. We just knew.

Gee­long just brings out the best in the Hawks. And visa versa.

They had their chances, the Cats. Af­ter los­ing the early ter­ri­tory bat­tle yes­ter­day the Hawks feasted on ba­sic Gee­long skill er­rors and a dis­tinct lack of horse­power up for­ward out­side of Tom Hawkins.

Therein lies the prob­lem for Cats coach Chris Scott. Too many chiefs in and around the ball-win­ning ar­eas and only the one av­enue to goal.

Pa­trick Danger­field threat­ened to blow the con­test apart, post­ing 20 dis­pos­als in the first half alone, in­clud­ing 13 con­tested pos­ses­sions.

Gary Ablett chipped in with 15 dis­pos­als in the same pe­riod, one more than Joel Sel­wood (six), Tim Kelly (five) and Mitch Dun­can (three) com­bined.

Los­ing ruck­man Rhys Stan­ley (calf) in the sec­ond quar­ter only com­pounded Gee­long’s woes as Hawthorn squeezed and stran­gled the Cats.

That last quar­ter was some­thing else, Ablett fin­ish­ing with three goals while Kelly sprung to life in red time.

But the Cats paid for clumsy er­rors and all of a sud­den the pre­mier­ship dream punc­tured.

They lacked ur­gency and spirit for much of the day, bar Danger­field, es­pe­cially his rock-star mid­field lieu­tenants.

Gee­long’s star-stud­ded mid­field — bar Danger­field — was com­pletely out­played and out­worked by the Hawks, who feasted on the mantra of many hands make light work, with Tom Mitchell well held.

“We played great pas­sages of footy when we had to rather than re­ally start­ing that way,” Danger­field, who brushed off a corked thigh in the sec­ond half, said.

“We weren’t great around the ball. Our ef­fi­ciency wasn’t that good. We dropped marks in crit­i­cal ar­eas and the same with turnovers. So when you turn the ball over against Hawthorn in ar­eas that you have po- ten­tial to score, they’re so good at sling-shot­ting and main­tain­ing pos­ses­sion that they turn your scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties into scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for them.”

James Wor­pel stepped up again and in­spired a cru­cial goal af­ter body-lin­ing Joel Sel­wood in the third term.

Liam Shiels called the shots around stop­pages, while the old­est player on the ground, Shaun Bur­goyne, led all-com­ers with a ca­reer-best 13 tack­les.

The Hawks had lost four of their past five against Gee­long be­fore this 11-point thriller.

Act­ing cap­tain Isaac Smith sparked the on­slaught with two clutch goals and 12 pos­ses­sions

in the sec­ond quar­ter and stymied a late surge with an in­ter­cept mark inside the Toy­ota logo. Luke Breust and Jack Gun­ston slot­ted im­por­tant goals to help the Hawks ce­ment their place inside the top four.

With so much big game ex­pe­ri­ence and pre­mier­ship mas­ter­mind Alas­tair Clark­son at the helm, who wants to face this lot in a fi­nal?

INSPIRATIONAL: Hawthorn’s James Wor­pel skips away from Gee­long su­per­star Gary Ablett. Pic­ture: MICHAEL KLEIN


STAND­ING TALL: Gee­long's Pa­trick Danger­field takes a strong de­fen­sive mark.

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