Hawks block out season shutdown to conquer Lions
If Hawthorn players were aware of the devastating halftime news that footy had been put on hold, it didn't show.
Clearly, the writing was already on the wall by the time they went out for their warm-ups that footy was in real trouble.
But, a team that has spent a big chunk of the past decade up near the top, was determined to enter footy's long break back on the winner's list.
And it was the oldest player in the league, Shaun Burgoyne, who led the club to a win in extraordinary circumstances, brushing aside a flat Brisbane Lions by 28 points at the MCG.
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Who knows when we will see footy back on the colosseum again.
But Burgoyne put on a show in the forward half with three classy goals, while Chad Wingard played one of his best games in brown and gold, looking like the damaging playmaker who burst onto the scene at Port Adelaide.
And the hardnuts in the middle, Tom Mitchell, James Worpel and Jaeger O'Meara were able to curb the Lions' clearance dominance that we saw last season.
The Hawthorn re-tool over the summer was all about increasing the brown and gold's scoring capacity to help break the magical 100-point mark more often this season.
But this was not all-out attack footy from Hawthorn yesterday. If anything, they brought the defensive noose back out and ramped up the pressure.
While the first few games this round were clearly lacking on the tackle front, Alastair Clarkson, perhaps unsurprisingly, had his troops wound-up to seize upon the Lions.
Even with the shadow hanging over the season, the Hawks brought the intensity.
And a Brisbane team which had hardly had an injury all summer looked jittery, managing only nine goals for the day.
The Hawks had eight forward 50m tackles to the Lions' two at half time to help build a nine-point lead.
It was a decent first-up performance form former Demon Sam Frost who made a desperate effort to wrench the back on the half back flank to set up a Luke Breust goal in the second term.
Ben McEvoy also resumed life as a centre half back and was solid to help shut down Brisbane's tall towers Eric Hipwood and Oscar McInerney.
Veteran Burgoyne was an early beneficiary from Hawthorn's pressure up the field early on, hitting targets with tough kicks around the corner, like few others can.
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The big worry for Hawthorn was Lions' speedster Charlie Cameron.
Without regular gun small defenders Blake Hardwick and Jarman Impey, captain Ben Stratton got the job on the electric goal kicker, and kept Cameron on a tight leash in one of the most important positional match-ups on the ground.
Cameron kicked a goal from a bolting mark on the lead towards the end of the first term and then snagged his second major in a foot race out the back of a marking contest in the third quarter.
But he could not sustain the threat in a big win for the Hawks.
The duel briefly reignited some existing tensions between the pair.
Stratton was seen slapping and punching Cameron last year before his pinching tactics were exposed in a battle with Essendon speedster Orazio Fantasia.
Emotions came to the fore momentarily at the quarter time change when there was a verbal exchange between Stratton and James Sicily and Cameron.
HAWTHORN 3.1 6.2 10.2 14.6 (90)
BRISBANE 3.3 4.5 7.7 9.8 (62)
Wingard, Shiels, Neale
HAWTHORN: Wingard, Shiels, Mitchell, Breust, Burgoyne, O'Meara, Frost
BRISBANE: Neale, Andrews, Lyons, Robinson
Originally published as Hawks block out season shutdown to conquer Lions