The Hawthorn Hawks have bounced back from their shock loss last weekend against Essendon to register a comfortable 70-point win against a injury ravaged Western Bulldogs, with the game ending Hawks 19.13.127 to Dogs 8.9.57.
Luke Hodge was the standout player of the match, collecting 44 disposals, kicking two goals and having a hand in a host of other fine counter-attacking goals. Jarryd Roughead booted seven, while for the Bulldogs they will have been pleased to see former Giant and No. 1 draft pick Tom Boyd show signs of promise with three goals for the game.
The Bulldogs made a bright start to the match, kicking the first two goals and restricting Hawthorn’s renowned attacking game. It took some gritty work from the favourites to work their way into the contest, as they posted two majors to end a rather dull first term ahead by two points.
After the interval Hawthorn began to flex their muscle with their prolific midfielders starting to accumulate the ball at will. Issac Smith’s clever set up for Ben McEvoy was the beginning of a string of goals.
This bullet from skipper Luke Hodge showed his class and saw the premiers push their lead out to 14 points early in the second quarter.
The signs were ominous, and the Dogs had few answers to an emphatic Hawthorn machine.
Nine goals for the quarter, including this stunning 65 metre set shot from Grant Birchall and it appeared all but game over at half-time with the Hawks 35 points ahead.
Hodge had a whopping 25 disposals in the first half, Roughead four goals and Jordan Lewis used his damaging skills to good effect. What could the Dogs muster with the advantage of the breeze after the main break?
The Dogs offered an attacking threat throughout the third quarter but their inaccurate goal kicking and Hawthorn’s strong defence kept them at bay. Adopting a defensive approach, due to the strong breeze favouring the Dogs’ end, the home side were able to effectively negate their opponents and add three goals in clinical fashion at the other end.
With a 37-point buffer heading into the final term it was simply a matter of how much for the Hawks. They were aided by a strong breeze and slammed on … goals to the Bulldogs …
Youngster Billy Hartung capped off a fine individual display with this composed effort to begin a flurry of goals for premiership favourites.
Cyril Rioli, who was quiet by his lofty standards, still provided that trademark magic of his with not one, but two big grabs in the final term. Here’s a closer look at his incredible marking prowess below:
And to add more icing on the cake, Roughead kicked his seventh of the day (see below) and showed why the Hawks are still the team to beat.
Next week a victorious Hawthorn face a trip to play Port Adelaide for the first time since their epic Preliminary Final last season in a Saturday night blockbuster. On the other hand, high-flying Adelaide await the Western Bulldogs on home soil in the Sunday evening match.