The Hawks have put on a dominant display at the MCG, defeating a disappointing Bulldogs outfit by 51 points. Franklin was unstoppable for the Hawks, kicking 8 goals, including 5 in the first half against an out-sized Morris, while Osbourne was a surprise packet up forward with 4, and Roughead chipped in with 3. Sewell, Lewis and Hodge also starred. For the Dogs, Akermanis led the goal scoring with 3, and Daniel Cross, Adam Cooney, Ryan Griffen, Daniel Giansiracusa and Brian Lake can hold their heads high for the Dogs.
The opening quarter started nervously. Neither side had a lot of finals experience going into this match, and it showed. The first 8 minutes were riddled with mistakes, as both sides were unable to convert their chances inside 50. The Hawks were the first to regain their composure and put their nerves behind them, kicking the opening goal through Jarryd Roughead. The Bulldogs responded quickly through Brad Johnson, aided by a 50 metre penalty, and then briefly held the lead as Daniel Giansiracusa popped one through from close range. It was the only time the Bulldogs would lead, however, and three minutes later, Lance Franklin played the part of small-forward, kicking a snap shot from the pocket to give him his first goal, and give Hawthorn the lead. A stalemate ensued over the next 10 minutes. The stalemate was broken by a second small-forward’s goal to Lance Franklin, this time managing to get boot to ball in the goalsquare while being brought down in a heavy tackle after receiving a clever but not quite perfectly executed handpass from Mark Williams. Campell Brown then goaled two minuted later, giving the Hawks a 16 point advantage as they went into quarter time 4.5.29 to the Dogs 2.1.13.
The second quarter brought a tide of goals, and behind, to the Hawks, as they outscored the Bulldogs, 6.7 to 2.3. Franklin kicked his third of the game in the fifth minute, screwing the ball around the corner after some good work at ground level. Franklin then took a mark inside 50, 30 metres out, directly in front, but rather than take the shot, he popped the ball over to Crawford, who was streaming forward. Crawford took the mark uncontested, and kicked an easy goal, extending the Hawks’ lead to 30 points. Meanwhile, Luke Hodge was doing a terrific job as the loose man in defence, making it tremendously difficult for the Dogs to take a mark inside 50. Franklin followed up a well worked passage of play under pressure on Birchall’s and Rioli’s parts by taking a strong mark on 50 at a very sharp angle. Rather than going back and taking a traditional set shot (which had resulted in just two shots going out of bounds), Franklin immediately wheeled onto his left and launched the ball from 55 metres out. It sailed straight through, to the incredulity of the 76000 strong crowd, commentators, and players from both sides alike.
The Dogs managed to wrest back two goals, courtesy of some good work from Brad Johnson and Adam Cooney in the goalsquare, and a good mark from Akermanis, and they looked like they might have built up some momentum. However, Franklin tore the momentum away two minutes later, marking strongly inside 50, and converting from a tight angle with another magnificent kick. Michael Osbourne then kicked two in as many minutes, and Hawthorn enjoyed a 44 point lead going into half time. The score was the Hawks 10.12.72 to the Dogs 4.4.28.
The third term started off well for the Dogs, who looked to take advantage of Trent Croad’s absence – the Hawthorn defender did not emerge from the rooms after half time due to a foot injury. They kicked the first two goals of the quarter, through Jason Akermanis and Josh Hill, reducing the margin to 32 points and giving the Bulldogs some momentum. However, a silly free kick given away by Ryan Hargrave at a ball up gifted Michael Osbourne a shot at goal, which he duly converted for his third of the night. Three minutes later, body strength and a good second effort saw him dribble through his fourth on the goal-line under plenty of pressure, and any momentum that the Dogs may have had was lost. Sewell, Lewis, Mitchell and Young were winning the ball in the middle and sending inside 50 too much for the Bulldogs to cope with. The Dogs were also unable to break the Hawk’s defensive zone, pinning them back inside their own 50. Roughead, who had missed several shots at goal to this point, found his accuracy again, kicking his second. Franklin kicked his sixth for the game, combining with Cyril Rioli to engineer a quick snap at goal from 50 out, after being well held in the third quarter by Brian Lake, who had replaced Morris as his opponent. The Dogs managed to get one back through Josh Hill, but less than three minutes later, Jordan Lewis goaled from a tight angle, giving the Hawks a 15.17.107 to 7.7.49 lead at three-quarter time.
The final quarter saw a small improvement from the Bulldogs, or perhaps an easing of the pressure by the Hawks. Either way, it saw the Dogs kick the first three goals of the quarter, courtesy of Daniel Giansiracusa, Adam Cooney, and Ryan Griffen, who had worked hard all night for the Bulldogs. However, once again, Franklin and Roughead teamed up, kicking three more goals between them to return the margin to 59 points, Franklin kicking his 8th along the way. As in the first part of the first quarter, the last part of the last quarter saw a stalemate. Both sides traded behinds until Akermanis was able to convert in the 27th minute, after marking on the lead. This reduced the Hawks’ lead to 51 points, and the last few minutes of the quarter were played out without score. The final score was the Hawks 18.19.127 to the Bulldogs 11.10.76.
The Hawks take several injury worries out of the game. Trent Croad was unable to play for the entire second half with a foot injury, the nature of which is not quite known. Birchall came out of the game with a corked thigh, as did Cameron Stokes, while Rick Ladson damaged his AC joint. However, their victory means they have a week off before the Preliminary final in two weeks time.
The Bulldogs’ Robert Murphy had some injury trouble during the game as well, however, he was able to come back on and have an impact.
Hawthorn: Franklin 8, Osborne 4, Roughead 3, Brown, Crawford, Lewis
Bulldogs: Akermanis 3, Giansiracusa 2, Cooney 2, Hill 2, Higgins, Johnson
Hawthorn: Franklin, Sewell, Osbourne, Lewis, Roughead, Hodge
Bulldogs: Cross, Griffen, Cooney, Lake, Giansiracusa, Akermanis
Hawthorn: Croad (foot), Birchall (corked thigh), Ladson (AC joint), Stokes (corked thigh), Gilham (virus) replaced in the selected side by Stokes
Bulldogs: Robert Murphy (unknown).
Umpires: Donlan, Rosebury, Ryan
Crowd: 76, 703 at the MCG