Hawthorn 0.6.2 0.10.4 1.12.8 1.17.12 (123)
Melbourne 0.2.3 0.4.6 0.4.7 0.6.8 (44)
David Hale may have kicked six goals for the Hawks, but it was once again ‘The Buddy Franklin Show’ with the charismatic forward booting five of his own.
His haul included the game’s opening goal, a freakish dribble from the boundary line, and an awe-inspiring 65m supergoal midway through the third quarter that set tongues a-wagging.
Melbourne was never in the match right from the opening stages, embarrassingly conceding the first six goals of the match as they trailed at one stage 38-0.
Spirits lifted late in the high-scoring opening quarter with goals to Lynden Dunn and newcomer Mitch Clark, but the writing was already on the wall for the struggling Dees.
Coach Mark Neeld’s frustration in the box was evident as sharpshooter Brad Sewell booted the first of the second quarter to extend Hawthorn’s lead back out to 29 points.
Man of the moment James Magner was subbed out with a hand injury early in the term, and it was all downhill from there for the Dees as they struggled without injured co-captain Jack Grimes and experienced servicemen Brad Green and Joel Macdonald.
There were some positive aspects for the Dees though.
Clark’s work didn’t go unnoticed around the ground, with the former Brisbane ruckman also providing a capable forward option, kicking three goals.
Jeremy Howe also enhanced his reputation as a high-flyer with two spring-heeled grabs providing some enjoyment for the mellow Demons supporters.
Franklin’s supergoal came eleven minutes into the second half off the back of two consecutive Hale majors, and the mercurial talisman sealed the game with the nine-pointer, stretching the lead to 57 points.
In fact, Melbourne worryingly went without a goal for the entire third quarter with just a single Clark behind for the term.
Jack Watts frustratingly showed Melbourne fans glimpses of the talent he possesses with two goals, including one from a strong contested mark inside 50.
The Hawks ran away with the match in the last quarter to give themselves the best chance of advancing to the NAB Cup grand final, fittingly with Franklin kicking the final goal of the afternoon.
Meanwhile, the Demons have some soul-searching to do and there were indications that the midweek drama with troubled star Liam Jurrah may have had an effect on the morale of some of the players.
Hawthorn: Hale 6, Franklin 5 (including 1 supergoal), Breust 2, Sewell, Hodge, Lewis, Bruce
Melbourne: Clark 3, Watts 2, Dunn
Hawthorn: Franklin, Hale, Hodge, Suckling, Whitecross, Bateman,
Melbourne: Clark, Jones, Dunn, Howe
Melbourne: James Magner (finger)
UMPIRES: Orr, Harris, McInerney, Kamolins
Official Crowd: 10,611 at Etihad Stadium