UPDATE: Hawthorn have finally captured their elusive second premiership under coach Alastair Clarkson with a 15-point win over Fremantle at the MCG this afternoon.
The Hawks earned their way into the grand final on the back of a season in which they lost only three games and showed just why they had been so dominant with a ruthless dismantling of the Dockers’ game.
Brian Lake, a recruit from the Western Bulldogs only a year ago, was named Norm Smith Medal winner for best on ground.
The game looked all but over when the Hawks took a 23-point lead into half-time but a brilliant purple patch from Fremantle had them back in the hunt for their first premiership, narrowing the gap to 10 at the final break.
However the Hawks wrestled the momentum back with an Issac Smith goal from beyond 50 and rode the wave to kick another two goals within minutes, effectively sealing the game.
The problem for the Dockers was a lack of composure in front of goals, with the 11.11 (71) to 8.14 (62) scoreline, plus four shots out on the full, suggesting a missed opportunity for Ross Lyon’s troops.
Four-goal hero Jack Gunston was vital for the Hawks, bobbing up and kicking goals when nobody else could find a way through, while Lake proved a monster in defence.
For Fremantle is was captain Matthew Pavlich who helped keep his side in the game with three goals and David Mundy creating much of their attack through the middle of the ground.
Gunston kicked the opening goal of the game from a set-shot, with Lance Franklin the only other goal-kicker on the ground courtesy of a 50m penalty against Luke McPharlin.
Dockers midfielder Nat Fyfe missed his side’s first two goal-scoring opportunities by spraying the ball out on the full from two consecutive set shots.
A Michael Barlow shot on goal pulled up short with just minutes remaining in the quarter, ensuring the visiting side would go goal-less in their first-ever grand final quarter and go into the break trailing by 12 points.
Gunston added another two goals the following quarter in a masterful display against Zac Dawson, with a free kick in front of goals to Cyril Rioli helped his side amass a comfortable margin.
The Dockers were the kings of pressure football after last week’s demolition of Sydney in the preliminary final, but have had the tables turned on them early by the Hawks.
The visiting side strugged to get clean possession in the face of a brutal Hawks engine room, who have steered their side to a 33-29 lead in the tackle count on top of their scoreboard advantage.
The Dockers trailed by 23 points at the half-time break but burst out of the blocks courtesy of purple patches by Pavlich and Mundy.
After kicking just one goal in the opening half, the captain’s goal in the opening minute sparked a run of majors including two to himself and Michael Walters and another to Chris Mayne.
However goals to Jarryd Roughead and Gunston ensured the favourites kept their nose in front at three-quarter time.
It was a lead they wouldn’t give up despite another late Dockers surge.