Sunday, 8 July 2012
Geelong had a scare, but Hawthorn were plain scary in a percentage-boosting win to lift themselves back into AFL top-four contention.
The Hawks destroyed Greater Western Sydney by 162 points at the MCG on Sunday to give themselves the best percentage in the competition and lift them to one win off top spot.
Geelong had a far tougher time against the other expansion club Gold Coast, only shaking off the stubborn Suns in the final quarter to win by 14 points after trailing at halftime at Metricon Stadium.
It continued the Cats' unconvincing form in their premiership defence, though they remain inside the top eight.
Hawthorn gave their supporters no such headaches and sent a clear message in leapfrogging Essendon and closing in on the top four.
Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson admitted he was happy with the performance in the 28.25 (193) to 4.7 (31) win, especially a 17 goals to two second half.
"We're really pleased with today's game and we'll just look forward to the Western Bulldogs next week now," Clarkson said.
"Our form has looked pretty good over the last little while, but we've got eight home-and-away games to go and we'll add up the wins at the end of the year and see where we sit."
Jarryd Roughead booted six goals for the Hawks, while Lance Franklin kicked four - including his 500th career goal - before being substituted in the third quarter with the game already safe.
Geelong trailed at halftime to the winless Suns, though the Cats always looked likely to kick up a gear at some point.
It only came in the final quarter, though, as four goals each to Paul Chapman and Tom Hawkins proved the difference.
While the Cats did open up a four-goal-plus break late in the final term, the Suns closed the margin up again late to go under 15.20 (110) to 13.18 (96).
Sydney powered back to the top of the ladder with a 47-point win over Brisbane at the Gabba on Saturday, with Sam Reid kicking six goals.
The Swans, West Coast and Adelaide all leapt over Collingwood after the Magpies' 23-point loss to Carlton on Friday night sent them tumbling from top spot.
West Coast rode a brilliant final-quarter effort from three-goal ruckman Dean Cox to roll North Melbourne by two points in Hobart on Saturday.
Adelaide won a one-sided Showdown by 58 points against Port Adelaide on Saturday night.
Essendon fell out of the top four with a 71-point spanking by St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, while Richmond ran out 23-point winners over Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday.
In the twilight match, Fremantle kept their final hopes alive and ended those of the Western Bulldogs with a 38-point win in Perth.
Matthew Pavlich booted six goals and Chris Mayne four in the 14.11 (95) to 8.9 (57) victory.
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