Hawthorn is a team on the brink of true greatness, defeating Fremantle at Subiaco on Friday night to move into its fourth consecutive AFL Grand Final. A win in that match will give the Hawks three consecutive premierships, a feat achieved only five times before, by Carlton (1906-08), Collingwood (four premierships, 1927-30), Melbourne (1940-42 and 1955-57) and Brisbane (2001-03).
The Hawks overcame a fast start from the Dockers to lead by 19 points at the first break, and then fought off several challenges from Fremantle throughout the evening to eventually win by 27 points. The Dockers had several chances to get right back into the match, bit crucial errors at critical moments cost them dearly. In particular, a dropped mark from defender Tom Sheridan allowed Cyril Rioli to pounce on the ball and goal in the final term, and, while it would be unfair to pin the cause of the loss on one piece of play, Fremantle's chances seemed to evaporate with at that moment. The general consensus was that the Dockers also didn't get the rub of the green with the umpires, several decisions at crucial moments not going their way.
As has been their MO all season, the Dockers got away to a flying start, a running goal from Michael Walters after a crisp handball from Chris Mayne giving them the game's first goal in the second minute of the match. At the four-minute mark, a chain of foot passes ended with Jonathon Griffin near the goal-square and he strolled in to kick his first major and put Fremantle 11 points clear. The Dockers had a huge chance to go further ahead at the 10-minute mark but Chris Mayne missed an easy shot after being paid a free kick for holding and the tide began to turn Hawthorn's way after that.
A soft free kick against Hayden Ballantyne saw Isaac Smith kick Hawthorn's first goal and the Hawks clicked into gear from that moment. A 50-metre penalty at the 18-minute mark saw David Hale goal and give the Hawks a one-point lead and then Luke Breust marked and goaled to put them seven points clear after 25 minutes. A left-foot snap from Matt Suckling a minute later made it 13 points and then a beautiful pass from Rioli to Ryan Schoenmakers saw Hawthorn get a fifth goal and take a 19-point lead into quarter time.
It was panic stations for the Dockers early in the second term when Schoenmakers again marked and goaled at the two-minute mark, and the Hawks' lead was suddenly out to 25 points. Fremantle did manage to lock down Hawthorn after that, however, and the Hawks did not score again until the 26-minute mark. The Dockers kicked a couple of behinds and then Stephen Hill got on the ends of a Matthew Pavlich pass and converted to get Fremantle's first goal in 39 minutes and cut the margin to 17 points. A scramble in the goal-square at the 23-minute mark saw the ball end in the arms of Pavlich and he snapped the ball over his head to goal and cut the margin to just 11 points. The Dockers would have been very happy to go into the long break with that margin but a beautiful pass from Taylor Duryea to Jarryd Roughead inside the last minute saw Roughead convert from a tight angle. Fremantle had a chance to hit back with Griffin marking just before the half-time siren. His kick looked like going through but faded late to hit the post and Hawthorn led by 16 points at the main break.
Ballantyne swooped on a loose ball in the first minute of the third quarter and snapped a goal to cut the margin to 10 points and give the Dockers the perfect start to the second half but Hawthorn set up a decisive break over the next 10 minutes. The Hawks' run started with a chain of handballs that finished with Bradley Hill goaling from close range and continued with a mark and goal to Rioli at the eight-minute mark. Ben McEvoy then easily outpointed Zac Dawson in a marking contest, and his first major gave Hawthorn a comfortable 28-point buffer.
But Fremantle was not done with yet. After Barlow marked outside 50, he received a bump to the forehead which saw him get a 50-metre penalty and he goaled to bring the margin back to 22. Mayne then took a great mark and converted to reduce the difference to 16 and then a brilliant long bomb from Griffin from well outside 50 had the Dockers back within 11 points and brought the crowd to fever pitch. However, a trip by Nathan Fyfe on Suckling with just 11 seconds remaining in the term saw Suckling kick a long goal himself to deflate the Dockers and give Hawthorn a 17-point buffer going into the final quarter.
Fremantle's hopes were raised again when Walters kicked the first goal of the final term, a dribbler from just outside the goal-square to bring the Dockers within 11 points. They had two further chances to put some real pressure on Hawthorn after that, but Barlow and Walters both missed gettable shots that would have cut the margin to under a goal. With the Dockers not having taken their chances, the Hawks made sure that they did when the momentum swung back their way. And that momentum swing took place with Sheridan's dropped mark and Rioli's consequent goal at the 11-minute mark.
Rioli then pounced on another spilt mark, this time from Tendai Mzungu, and his third gave Hawthorn a 20-point lead. A beautiful boundary-line snap from Duryea made it 26 points and then a long bomb from Roughead made the result certain, the Hawks 32 points clear as the final quarter went into time on. Walters marked and kicked his third at the 23-minute mark but that was merely a consolation goal, the Hawks going on to win by 27 and take their place in a fourth consecutive Grand Final.
Sam Mitchell was outstanding for the victors, with 35 possessions and six marks, while Isaac Smith (10 marks, 24 disposals) and Luke Hodge (25 touches, seven marks) played influential roles in the win, For the Dockers, Lee Spurr (11 marks, 27 possessions), Garrick Ibbotson (15 marks, 24 touches), David Mundy (27 possessions) and Walters (three goals, 21 disposals) played fine games.
The Hawks will take on West Coast in the Grand Final, having gone down to the Eagles at Subiaco in the first week of the finals. The MCG is a different proposition, though, and the match should be a fascinating affair.
For Ross Lyon and Fremantle, it's yet another year of so close, yet so far. The ongoing criticism of Lyon's game-style is that it is low-scoring and always leaves the opposition with a chance, and requires a little bit of luck. It's fair to say that over five seasons at St Kilda and three at Fremantle, the luck hasn't gone Lyon's way and he and the Dockers are still searching for a first premiership.
Fremantle: Walters 3; Griffin 2; Hill, Pavlich, Ballantyne, Barlow, Mayne
Hawthorn: Rioli 3; Schoenmakers, Suckling, Roughead 2; Smith, Hale, Breust, Hill, McEvoy, Duryea
BEST - AFL.COM.AU
Fremantle: Spurr, Ibbotson, Mundy, Walters, Griffin, Fyfe
Hawthorn: Mitchell, Hodge, Gibson, Duryea, Rioli, Stratton, Suckling
BEST - THE AGE
Fremantle: Mundy, Spurr, Fyfe, Ibbotson, Walters, Griffin
Hawthorn: Mitchell, Hodge, Duryea, Smith, Rioli, Lake
Fremantle: Matthew Pavlich (corked leg), Nat Fyfe (leg)
Hawthorn: Taylor Duryea (shoulder), Luke Hodge (leg)
Fremantle: Nick Suban replaced Matt Taberner at three-quarter time.
Hawthorn: Billy Hartung replaced David Hale in the fourth quarter.
REPORTS: Michael Walters (Fremantle), reported for striking Taylor Duryea (Hawthorn) at three-quarter time.
UMPIRES: Dalgleish, Stevic, Rosebury
TELEVISION BROADCAST: Seven Network
COMMENTATORS: Bruce McAvaney, Dennis Cometti, Wayne Carey, Cameron Ling, Matthew Richardson, Basil Zempilas
Video sourced from YouTube, courtesy of the AFL.
|1||Ballantyne, Hayden||10||5||1||11||1||0||0||3||2||2||28y 71d||121||195|
|21||Barlow, Michael||7||4||10||17||1||1||1||5||2||0||27y 281d||113||75|
|3||Dawson, Zac||2||2||9||11||0||0||0||0||1||2||29y 215d||146||7|
|9||de Boer, Matt||10||3||10||20||0||0||0||6||1||3||25y 199d||134||47|
|7||Fyfe, Nat||7||3||17||24||0||0||3||6||0||2||24y 7d||112||95|
|12||Griffin, Jonathon||8||4||6||14||2||1||7||0||1||0||29y 254d||77||27|
|32||Hill, Stephen||12||5||7||19||1||0||0||2||0||2||25y 147d||151||100|
|5||Ibbotson, Garrick||19||15||5||24||0||0||0||0||0||1||27y 194d||151||22|
|37||Johnson, Michael||7||3||8||15||0||0||0||1||0||0||30y 340d||205||63|
|23||Mayne, Chris||6||4||6||12||1||1||0||1||1||0||26y 327d||150||178|
|16||Mundy, David||10||2||17||27||0||0||0||3||0||1||30y 67d||233||92|
|13||Mzungu, Tendai||9||4||14||23||0||0||0||6||2||1||29y 209d||97||54|
|27||Neale, Lachie||7||2||15||22||0||0||0||1||1||0||22y 124d||70||36|
|29||Pavlich, Matthew||8||4||3||11||1||0||0||5||1||0||33y 268d||335||669|
|6||Pearce, Danyle||16||3||5||21||0||0||0||2||0||0||29y 171d||226||119|
|31||Sandilands, Aaron||0||2||13||13||0||0||40||1||1||2||32y 293d||239||92|
|11||Sheridan, Tommy||15||6||7||22||0||0||0||3||1||2||21y 332d||38||14|
|34||Spurr, Lee||20||11||7||27||0||0||0||2||0||0||28y 60d||82||5|
|8||Suban, Nick||6||0||2||8||0||0||0||0||0||0||25y 139d||129||52|
|33||Sutcliffe, Cam||7||3||5||12||0||0||0||1||1||0||23y 125d||68||14|
|20||Taberner, Matt||4||2||4||8||0||0||0||1||1||1||22y 100d||28||23|
|10||Walters, Michael||16||3||5||21||3||2||0||2||2||0||24y 261d||72||141|
|14||Birchall, Grant||13||9||9||22||0||0||0||2||0||2||27y 240d||215||30|
|22||Breust, Luke||5||4||10||15||1||0||1||2||0||1||24y 318d||115||224|
|9||Burgoyne, Shaun||12||8||8||20||0||1||0||3||2||0||32y 339d||294||244|
|8||Duryea, Taylor||17||10||9||26||1||0||0||1||1||0||24y 154d||62||12|
|12||Frawley, James||15||8||3||18||0||0||0||2||0||0||27y 5d||156||24|
|6||Gibson, Josh||15||11||10||25||0||0||0||2||1||1||31y 196d||189||2|
|20||Hale, David||4||2||3||7||1||0||9||2||2||0||31y 126d||236||217|
|40||Hartung, Billy||4||3||1||5||0||0||0||1||0||0||20y 244d||27||14|
|10||Hill, Bradley||15||7||10||25||1||0||0||1||0||1||22y 78d||74||46|
|15||Hodge, Luke||20||7||5||25||0||1||0||6||2||2||31y 102d||270||187|
|17||Lake, Brian||16||13||5||21||0||0||0||0||0||1||33y 210d||250||34|
|3||Lewis, Jordan||10||4||10||20||0||0||0||3||1||1||29y 154d||239||133|
|7||McEvoy, Ben||6||8||7||13||1||0||12||0||2||0||26y 76d||122||44|
|5||Mitchell, Sam||19||6||16||35||0||0||0||3||1||1||32y 348d||284||67|
|28||Puopolo, Paul||6||1||8||14||0||0||0||6||1||1||27y 297d||110||98|
|33||Rioli, Cyril||12||8||7||19||3||0||0||4||0||1||26y 73d||156||219|
|2||Roughead, Jarryd||12||5||10||22||2||1||0||7||2||2||28y 245d||230||490|
|25||Schoenmakers, Ryan||10||7||6||16||2||0||0||2||1||1||24y 321d||94||27|
|26||Shiels, Liam||12||6||11||23||0||0||0||4||1||0||24y 149d||123||43|
|16||Smith, Isaac||19||10||5||24||1||0||0||3||0||1||26y 269d||110||99|
|24||Stratton, Ben||6||4||2||8||0||0||0||2||0||1||26y 208d||116||1|
|4||Suckling, Matt||15||6||4||19||2||0||0||1||2||0||27y 62d||101||50|