Hawks win 12th AFL flag
29 September, 2014, 12:00 am
MELBOURNE – Hawthorn smashed Sydney by 63 points in the AFL grand final to confirm their status as one of the modern era’s greatest teams.
The Hawks unleashed their most unsociable football on Saturday at the MCG and blew away the Swans 21.11 (137) to 11.8 (74) .
It is Hawthorn’s 12th premiership and their first back to back flags in 25 years.
They are also the first team since Brisbane’s 2001-03 three-peat to win consecutive flags.
Coupled with their 2008 success, Hawthorn join the Lions and Geelong as the only teams to win three premierships this century.
Veteran midfielders Jordan Lewis and Sam Mitchell starred in the thrashing, alongside captain Luke Hodge in his 250th game.
Defender Shaun Burgoyne, speedster Bradley Hill and young midfielder Will Langford, a revelation of this finals series, also impressed, while Jarryd Roughead kicked five goals.
Key defender Brian Lake shut out Kurt Tippett.
Swans star Lance Franklin kicked four goals after being the focus of attention in the lead-up to this match.
A year after playing in a premiership for the Hawks, Franklin was clearly one of the main targets of physical aggression from his former teammates.
Two-time Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes was prominent for the Swans and kicked two goals in what could be his retirement match.
Sydney went into this game as favourites after a flawless finals series, but Hawthorn’s unrelenting physical pressure rattled them.
The term unsociable football was first used in 2008 to describe Hawthorn’s fierce style of play.
They unleashed a particularly vicious version on Saturday to smash Sydney.
Hawthorn led the tackle count at quarter-time 22-7 an unthinkable deficit given Sydney’s own justified pride in their physical style of play.
Two years after the Swans beat Hawthorn by just 10 points in an epic grand final, there were hopes of another classic between the two top sides of the season.
But Hawthorn’s five-goal burst during the second term confirmed this would be a rout.
It turned out to be the most one-sided grand final since Geelong’s record 119-point win over Port Adelaide in 2007.
The Hawks took a punt in playing Cyril Rioli, who only returned to football last weekend after three months out with his latest hamstring injury.
Rioli started on the ground and did plenty of grunt work.