Sizzling second half sets up victory over the Sydney Swans at the MCG.
Hawthorn have taken a giant step towards erasing the pain of last year’s AFL grand final loss after beating the Sydney Swans by 54 points in their qualifying final at the MCG.
After a see-sawing first half the Hawks blew the game open in the third term with five goals feeling more like 15 in the context of the game.
In the end the varied dangers on goal and kicking options put the Hawks over the top as they won through to the preliminary final in two weeks time thanks to the 15.15 (105) to 7.9 (51) victory.
The home side suffered a blow before the game with the news Cyril Rioli was a late withdrawal after failing to overcome an ankle injury.
However, it was Hawthorn on the board first as Brad Hill split the sticks from a set-shot as the home side took an early lead.
Sydney enjoyed much of the early possesion, but liek last week, there were not able to make the most of the inside fifty chances.
Gary Rohan continued his excellent form in front of goal for the Swans in the last two weeks to give the away team the lead again in what was an intense first quarter.
Kurt Tippett bagged his second for the game as the Swans swept downfield quickly in what was a worrying sign for the Hawks.
Jarryd Roughead made up for an earlier miss to slot one through from 50m out to see the home side lead by one at quarter time.
Mike Pyke continued his strong start to the game when he kicked from in front as a result of a 50m free, to give away side a four-point buffer.
Both sides missed valuable scoring chances in the second half as they felt the pressure only finals can create.
In what was a war of attrition with plenty of contested football the score remained locked up at half-time, with both sides scoring just 31 points in the first half.
Brian Lake kicked a rare goal for the Hawks to open proceedings in the third term before another goal saw Hawthorn’s lead become 13.
Fourty-three possessions to 17 after 13 minutes of the third quarter saw the Hawks kick three in a row as the margin continued to grow with the Hawks leading by 19.
The sudden turn in possession to the Hawks had Sydney rattled as they turned over the ball and had not managed an inside fifty.
Amazingly it was uncommon targets that stood up for the Hawks with Lian Shiels bagging his side’s fourth of the term.
Sydney brought on their sub with Lewis Jetta on for Shane Mumford with the Swans hoping their speedster could give them an injection of run despite playing little football in recent weeks.
Despite all of their dominance the Hawks began to look sloppy as the third quarter came to a close
as the Swans did just enough to stay in touch if they could snare two goals in a row.
After being locked-up at the long break the Hawks had done very well to find themselves 25 points clear of their close rivals at the last break of the game.
Sydney has kicked just two goals in the last 66 minutes of the game as the final quarter began with the away side having all of the work to do.
The Hawks had two good chances for goals early in the last term but they mattered little as the home side began to run riot and confirm themselves as the side to beat for the title this year.
Sydney will play the winner between Richmond and Carlton while the Hawks have earned the week off with a direct passage through to the preliminary final.