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Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from the MCG, Melbourne

Hawthorn has had the edge on the Melbourne Demons over their last six matches and much was expected from them in this clash. Melbourne was coming off a draw against Sydney, while Hawthorn was winless after a discouraging finish against Adelaide in Round 1. Even so the match odds were heavily in favor of Hawthorn coming into the game.

Hawthorn started full of running and hit their targets with slick handball and precision kicking. Jarryd Roughead scored the first goal when he took a strong mark and played on into the 10 meter square. The play was on Hawthorn’s terms early but they were frustratingly inaccurate on goal and could not make an impact  on the scoreboard. Melbourne, on the other hand, made the most of every opportunity when they went forward. Goals to Lynden Dunn, Aaron Davey and Jack Watts had the predominately Hawthorn crowd silent. Shaun Burgoyne scored late in the quarter for the Hawks to give them a one point lead at the end of the first quarter.

Melbourne got out of the blocks early starting the second quarter with multiple goal scorers. First Brad Green, then Liam Jurrah and finally big ruckman Mark Jamar goaled to round out the triple play. Hawthorn had stopped running and leading up to the ball while Melbourne seemed to have found extra leg speed and were at the drop of every ball. Green was gifted another goal on an assist from Jurrah who had marked in the goal square and hand passed over his head. Jack Trengove snapped from 40 yards out to score Melbourne’s fifth goal in a row. At this point the siren couldn’t sound quickly enough for the Hawthorn players who were being run ragged. Chance Bateman scored the Hawks’ first goal in more than 30 minutes to add some respectability to the scoreline, but when the half ended the Hawks were still trailing by 19 points.

Coach Alistair Clarkson must have given the Hawks a roasting during the major break. His team came out and played one of the most one-sided third quarters in recent AFL history. With the exception of Ricky Petterd’s goal at the Demons’ end, the entire game was played in Hawthorn’s forward half. An eight goal eleven to one goal one quarter blew the Demons out of the water. Lance (Buddy) Franklin came alive, covering the ground from one end to the other and kicking two fine goals. He was assisted by young Hawk Matt Suckling who contributed two majors of his own. Cameron Bruce (the ex-Melbourne veteran, traded this year to Hawthorn after a contract dispute), Rick Ladson, Cyril Rioli and Roughead added goals to the tally and the game was effectively over. A 19 point deficit had been turned around to a 33 point Hawthorn lead when the quarter ended.

The Hawks didn’t take their foot off the gas in the final quarter. Burgoyne was on fire and kicked three goals. One in particular was spectacular as he stopped the ball soccer style, gathered it, spun out of a pack and kicked truly for a goal. A couple of consolation goals by the stunned Demons made the scoreboard slightly more respectable but their decent first half performance was completely eclipsed by the stunning second half turned on by the Hawks.

Hawthorn looked back to their 2008 Premiership best and players like Rioli, Franklin and Burgoyne seem set to trouble other sides in 2011. The Demons looked fast and hungry in the first half but dropped badly off the pace and were completely outclassed when it counted. This game will have the club looking for answers and doing a lot of soul-searching in the week to come.

Hawthorn  2.8 3.13 11.24 16.26 (122)
Melbourne 3.1 8.2  9.3   12.5  (77)

Best Players
Hawthorn C Rioli, L Franklin, S Burgoyne, M Suckling, S Mitchell
Melbourne N Jones, A Davey, C Sylvia, L Tapscott, J Grimes

Article last changed on Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - 7:15 AM EDT

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