PORT CHANNEL TIGERS TO SWOOP ON HAWKS
PORT Adelaide copied the strategy Richmond used to beat Hawthorn with similar stunning success last night.
This time it was under the roof at the Docklands instead of the MCG that Hawthorn were exposed by speed and spread.
Like the committed Tigers three weeks ago, the Power cut through the Hawks’ defensive setup with chaostype, high-risk ball use that delivered a 22-point victory against the odds.
Bullocking onballer Robbie Gray set the standard with a stunning opening quarter and, once Power teammates followed his in-close workrate, Hawthorn found themselves comprehensively beaten in the midfield duels and punished on the turnovers.
Not only is Hawthorn’s top two ambitions in serious jeopardy, skipper Luke Hodge will face scrutiny from the AFL match review panel for a bump that flattened Power forward Chad Wingard.
Wingard was crouched when Hodge’s hip sandwiched his head against the padded post.
Wingard let fly at Hodge after he booted two goals in as many minutes shortly after the incident.
Hawthorn realised the need for speed when they subbed out key defender Brian Lake midway through the third quarter and let loose pacy Billy Hartung.
Sensing the urgency of the situation, the Hawks lifted the tempo and slotted five of the next six goals in 20 minutes of dominance to trail by just one point heading into the final term.
But the damage was done a lot earlier. Hawthorn were simply outworked in the first half and, frankly, lucky to be trailing by only 11 points at the main break.
Wingard finished the game with four goals, while Gray and namesake Sam Gray had 34 touches each.