Hawthorn has defeated Adelaide by 32 points, 13.8 (86) to 8.6 (54), behind five first-half goals from Mitch Lewis to snap a five-game losing streak.
It looked like it was going to be a one-sided affair early after the Hawks booted six goals to Adelaide’s one in the first term, but the Crows gradually clawed back the deficit over the next two quarters.
Tensions were then high among Hawthorn fans at Marvel Stadium after Adelaide kicked the opening goal of the fourth quarter. But Sam Mitchell’s side reawakened with the next three majors to put the game out of reach.
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It marked Hawthorn’s 1000th win in club history and its first victory since ousting Brisbane in Round 10.
With it the Hawks leapfrogged the Crows to take 14th place on the ladder, with both clubs sitting on five wins.
QUARTER-BY-QUARTER MATCH REPORT
James Sicily was heard arguing with the umpire early in the contest, leading to a free kick for dissent to Ben Keays in front of goal, but luckily for Hawthorn, he didn’t make them pay.
Hawthorn youngster Finn Maginness was tasked with a defensive tagging role on Jordan Dawson, who’s been in brilliant form in recent weeks.
The Hawks got off to a strong start with back-to-back goals to Ned Reeves and Jarman Impey to take ascendancy in the contest.
Mitch Lewis converted a long-range set shot to make it three in a row for the hosts.
“Perfect start to the Hawks they are right on top in this game,” Channel 7 commentator Luke Darcy said.
Taylor Walker stemmed the bleeding for Adelaide by nailing a tight set shot late in the quarter, then missing his next opportunity from an easier angle to get it even closer.
Lewis made them pay at the other end with his second major of the day before finishing the following play with a soccer goal on in the goal square for his third goal in the opening term alone.
“Mitch Lewis really emerging before our eyes,” Darcy said.
Channel 7 commentator Alister Nicholson added: “This has been a stirring performance from Hawthorn… they have skipped out to a significant early lead.”
Hawthorn took a 31-point lead into the first break, 6.3 (39) to 1.2 (8).
“A thoroughly dominant quarter to the Hawks,” Nicholson noted.
Lewis continued his hot form with his fourth goal six minutes into the second term after a brilliant left foot at snap in what’d been a brilliant start for the 23-year old.
“He‘s firing! He is setting himself up for perhaps a career day,” Nicholson said.
It was still one-way traffic in the second term as Hawthorn maintained ascendancy in the contest.
Lewis put through his fifth goal minutes later to already tie his career-high tally of five majors in a match in an insane feat, previously reaching the mark against Port Adelaide in Round 2.
It marks the first Hawthorn player to kick five goals in a half since Luke Breust in 2018.
Riley Thilthorpe booted a much-needed steading goal for Adelaide late to bring it back to a 32-point deficit.
Hawthorn took a 38-point lead into half-time, 9.4 (58) to 3.2 (2o).
Ben Keays booted the first goal of the second half with a snap around his body, with Darcy questioning if it “could be the start of something.”
The Crows started to find their groove but missed set shot opportunities through Darcy Fogarty and Thilthorpe.
Hawks great Campbell Brown noted that the club could be tired coming off last week’s away clash GWS in wet conditions.
“There’s no doubt the Hawks aren’t covering the ground like they were in that first half, they’re just a little bit fatigued,” he said on Channel 7.
“Maybe it’s coming off those heavy, wet conditions at Giants Stadium, that’s got to take it out of them.”
Thilthorpe made good on his next opportunity though to get the Crows within 24 points.
The Hawks led by 26 points at three-quarter time, 9.7 (61) to 5.5 (35).
Adelaide maintained its hot play in the fourth quarter, kicking the first goal through Ned McHenry and continuing to threaten to push further ahead.
“Nervous tension suddenly through Marvel Stadium … Hawks suddenly under siege,” Darcy said.
But Jaeger O’Meara nailed a timely set shot at the other end to steady to ship for the hosts, while Breust and Jacob Koschitzke added two more to blow it back out to a 38-point game in what proved to be the game-sealing surge.
THE 3-2-1 (what we learned)
3. ‘MITCH LEWIS SHOW’ WOWS EARLY
It was a tale of two halves for Mitch Lewis, but he still was still the match winner on the day with a career-best five goal all in the first half.
Lewis looked ominous early, kicking three goals in the first quarter alone to set up the Hawks’ dominant start to the contest.
He then booted his fourth goal six minutes into the second quarter to have five majors by the main break, with Fox Footy’s pundits predicting he was in line for a monster bag.
He also became the first Hawk to kick five goals in a first half since Luke Breust in 2018.
“It’s been the Mitch Lewis show hasn’t it?” Former Fremantle star Michael Barlow told AFL Nation.
“He’s involved in everything, the first eight scores of Hawthorn’s game he was involved in every score either kicking them or setting them up.
“It’s been huge from him, Adelaide changed the match-up but the Hawks were on fire.
But Lewis was then much quieter in the second half, held goalless with just two disposals and even hurting his knee in the fourth term.
Although it was still another monumental performance from the breakout Hawk amid a career-best season.
Lewis clearly likes playing against the South Australian clubs too, kicking five goals against Port Adelaide in Round 2.
He now has 36 goals from 12 matches at an average of three per game – a higher average than current Coleman Medal leader Jeremy Cameron.
YOUNG GUN’S BRILLIANT SHUTDOWN OF STAR
Sam Mitchell clearly identified star Adelaide recruit Jordan Dawson as the club’s most dangerous player, sending Finn Maginness to him in a shutdown role.
And the youngster blanketed Dawson on the day in what was a big win for the Hawks, restricting the gun Crow to a season-low 15 disposals.
“The job they’ve done on Dawson has been exceptional,” Saints great Nick Dal Santo said on Fox Footy during the game.
While the likes of Rory Laird (42 touches), Ben Keays (30) and Matt Crouch (28) were allowed to run amok, their volume of possessions aren’t as valuable as Dawson’s.
It included Dawson having just nine disposals until three-quarter time before he was moved forward in the fourth term, thus releasing the Maginness tag.
It comes after a brilliant stretch from Dawson, where if not the Crows’ disappointing season, you suspect he’d be right up there in All-Australian contention.
Going into the game Dawson had been in a red-hot form, putting up 32, 29 and 30 touches respectively over his last three games while averaging a career-best 24.3 disposals and 7.9 marks on the season.
HAWKS’ HOT START THE DIFFERENCE
The win came off the back of a red-hot start for Sam Mitchell’s side, booting six goals to Adelaide’s one in the first quarter.
Outside of that – and a Hawks surge in the fourth quarter – there really wasn’t much between these sides, just as their separation the ladder by just 4.4% suggests.
Hawthorn’s 39-point first quarter marked its second-best opening term in six and a half seasons.
And Hawks legend Dermott Brereton called out the Crows for their slow start to the game and lack of fight.
“If I was in the Crows’ coaching box I’d be really disappointed with effort in the first 40 minutes. I thought they were pretty average,” he said on Fox Footy at half-time.
“They’re a team that has to bring effort to the table until they start to get a bit more skill into the club.”
The Crows answered that call with a dominant third quarter, but for all their hard work, only put on two more majors while holding Hawthorn goalless during the period.
You sensed Adelaide needed to hit the scoreboard harder than they did during its period of ascendancy, and Hawthorn proved just that, kicking three consecutive goals early in the fourth quarter shut the door on any potential comeback.
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