Melbourne weren’t able to get their breakthrough win against the Hawks despite taking a surprising lead at quarter time in the first AFL match of Round 7, eventually losing in embarrassing fashion, 115-49.
After a slow start in the scoring department the Hawks came storming back to kick 13 goals to three over the final three quarters, as Buddy Franklin had a prolific night in front of goals with 10 scoring attempts alone. The Hawks did however have their struggles against an inferior opponent, kicking 15 goals and 25 behind on the night.
The Hawks looked as if they’d break the game apart in the opening stages of the first term but their inaccuracy in front of goals actually allowed Melbourne to take a 21-18 quarter time lead, storming back with a dominant final ten minutes.
Mitch Clark and James Magner stood out in a Melbourne forward line that produced three consecutive goals after Puopolo kicked the game’s first for Hawthorn. Clark kicked all three, one coming from a beautiful mark at half forward by Magner who then used a fine delivery to find the former Brisbane goal sneak. He went back after the mark and delivered a sensational goal from a tight angle.
The Hawks were saved by a second goal to Puopolo with just ten seconds remaining in the quarter. They kicked six behinds in the term, including a couple of key misses to Buddy and Rioli, until Puopolo somehow managed to run completely free inside 50 to kick the easiest of goals.
Hawthorn finally managed to exert some of the dominance they could not establish in the opening term, kicking six goals to Melbourne’s none in the second quarter. The Ds had their chances, Franklin was brutal in front of goals with five first half behinds, and when they did have chances they sprayed easy attempts wide. They also handed the Hawks a number of opportunities- one easy goal came when Morton gave away a 50 meter penalty that allowed Savage a close set shot right in front of the sticks.
Buddy finally got his breakthrough after missing his first couple of shots by kicking the Hawks fourth of the quarter, a dribbling ball that bounced kindly. Fellow forward line star Cyril Rioli added his first before Franklin kicked across his body on the run for another.
The third was a slightly better quarter for the Demons who received a couple of consolidation goals courtesy of McKenzie and Howe, Howe’s a bomb on the run from 50.
The two goals broke a 50 minute scoring drought and a nine goal to nil run for Hawthorn after Hale, Roughhead and Breust kicked the quarter’s first three majors. It provided something for the fans although it was more than clear this was no serious comeback, still trailing 78-41 at three-quarter time.
The flood gates really opened in the fourth as the Hawks kicked five unanswered goals, the best of which came from a check side kick from Franklin next to the left-side boundary post. Hawthorn would run away big winners by 66 points.
Rioli was given the red vest early in the fourth after a fairly lackluster effort.
A lot has been made of the Hawthorn midfield in recent weeks, but they were truly dominant against the Ds. Brad Sewell racked up 32 disposals while Birchall and Suckling had 29 apiece. Franklin kicked 3.7 while Puopolo and Young were the only other multiple Hawks goal kickers.
It was a pretty gloomy day for Melbourne with Nathan Jones being the only Demon to register over 20 possessions. Clark wasn’t able to add to his three goals after quarter time, an area the Demons really had trouble with, kicking just six majors.