AFL grand final: Hawthorn makes up for 2012 loss with 15-point win over Fremantle at MCG (ABC) - ( 4U5TR4L14 )

Hawthorn has earned redemption for last year’s grand final loss with a 15-point win over Fremantle at the MCG.

On a windy day at headquarters in front of a big crowd of 100,007, the Hawks led for all of the day before holding off the Dockers for a 11.11 (77) to 8.14 (62) triumph.

The Dockers kicked 7.8 to 5.6 in the second half, but they had given the Hawks too much of a start in a tight grand final, and Hawthorn had enough in reserve to get over the line.

The game was a turnaround from the early parts of the finals series for both teams.

Hawthorn was held almost level in inside 50s and well outdone in marks inside 50, the two building blocks of the team’s run to the grand final.

In contrast Fremantle was out-tackled by a fiercer Hawks outfit and beaten at the stoppages and clearances despite a monumental effort by big man Aaron Sandilands, who had 13 disposals, 44 hitouts and three clearances.

Jack Gunston showed he may well be the star of the Hawks’ future rather than Lance Franklin, kicking four goals to Franklin’s one in a stunning performance.

Gunston kicked three first half goals, and then kicked a vital fourth in the third quarter when Hawthorn came under pressure from the Dockers.

“I’m speechless,” he said after the game.

“It was a tight tussle, we got a couple of goals up, but we knew they (Dockers) were not going to go away.

“This feeling, it’s so much better than last year.”

The Dockers could not reproduce the same early pressure they had used to ground Sydney in the preliminary final.

Kicking for goal was a difficult process – in the first half Fremantle had 12 shots but kicked only one goal, with five behinds and five missed efforts.

Hawthorn led by two goals at quarter time and by 23 points at the half.

The Dockers hit back in the third term, booting 5.4 to 3.3 to sew some doubt in the hearts of the Hawks.

But a couple of bad misses for Fremantle stopped the chance of an upset, and Hawthorn sealed a first premiership win since 2008.

Lake proves the missing piece in premiership puzzle

Twelve months ago the Hawks were devastated by a 10-point loss to Sydney in the grand final.

A year on, they buried their demons in the finals series, killing off the Kennett Curse in the preliminary final against Geelong, before holding their nerve in a tough second half to redeem themselves with an 11th VFL / AFL flag.

It was a vindication for the Hawks, their coach Alastair Clarkson, and the club’s recruitment policy in the wake of the loss to the Swans.

The key pick-up was Western Bulldogs defender Brian Lake, who repaid the Hawks’ faith by winning the Norm Smith Medal.

Lake, who was criticised for being out of form and out of fitness at the Bulldogs, proved to be the last piece in the premiership puzzle.

He had 22 disposals, including 11 contested possessions, and 10 marks. But more importantly he took Matthew Pavlich and stopped the Dockers’ captain from kicking a match-winning haul, keeping him to just three goals for the match.

After receiving the medal, Lake made clear where his feelings were over his premiership medal: “Thank you to the Hawthorn Football Club for taking me 12 months ago.”

Coach Alastair Clarkson congratulated Fremantle on producing a tough contest, saying that the Hawks had “so much admiration for how you’ve developed over the last couple of years” and predicting big things for the Dockers.

Clarkson expressed relief and joy at his side’s second flag in six years before lifting the cup with captain Luke Hodge.

“To our Hawthorn guys, we will celebrate long and hard tonight, it was a great effort.

“We are a very happy team at Hawthorn.”

Hawks on-baller Sam Mitchell, who had 38 disposals in the preliminary final against Geelong, was held to just 12 touches by Fremantle tagger Ryan Crowley.

But Mitchell said he knew in advance he was not going to have another day out in the grand final.

“Part of our mantra at our football club is to get the job done for someone else,” he told Grandstand.

“That was my job today … I’m happy to have made a contribution to help the team.”

Asked whether the win made up for last year’s loss, Mitchell replied: “It would be nice to have three (flags), but we’ve got two and we’ll be working hard again next year to add to it.”

No consolation for devastated Dockers

In the Fremantle rooms, midfielder Matt de Boer echoed the sombre mood.

Asked what coach Ross Lyon had said after the match, he replied: “(He said) we couldn’t fracture (as a group), we’ve got to make the commitment to go again (next year).

“We will, we’re resilient … we just fell short today.”

De Boer could not hide his bitter disappointment at the result, although he thanked Dockers supporters for creating an incredible atmosphere for grand final week.

“It doesn’t count for anything, we came over here with just one purpose, and we weren’t good enough.”

There was no fairytale end to the grand final for Dockers captain Matthew Pavlich, who kicked three goals.

“He (coach Ross Lyon) is disappointed, we’re disappointed, but we’re going to have to butter up soon, and go again,” he said.

“They were able to get hold of the ball, win some clearances … we’re going to have to get better.

“They’ve been through some hard times as well as the players … it’s as hard for them to swallow as well as us.

“We believe we have the desire and the willpower to get back here again.”

Hawthorn: 11.11 (77) – J Gunston 4, J Roughead 2, L Franklin, C Rioli, I Smith, L Breust, B Hill

Fremantle: 8.14 (62) – M Pavlich 3, M Walters 2, T Mzungu, C Mayne, D Pearce

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