Brian Lake is the recruit of the year. There is no further argument to be had on the topic after the former Bulldogs defender anchored his team's premiership win over Fremantle at the MCG this afternoon.
The man brought in to bolster Hawthorn's suspect key defensive stocks - needed even more after Ryan Schoenmakers went down with a knee injury mid-season - had 22 possessions, took 10 marks and interrupted so many Fremantle attacks the Dockers were heartily sick of the sight of him by the end of the match.
The Hawks won their 11th flag 11.11 (77) to 8.14 (62). Led by Lake, Jordan Lewis, forward Jack Gunston and the ever dependable Luke Hodge, they were the better team most of the day.
Fremantle were in the contest, but never in control of the ball to the degree the Hawks were. And the Dockers butchered too many chances to expect to beat a gun team.
Ryan Crowley held Sam Mitchell well but it didn't matter. Matthew Pavlich kicked three goals and David Mundy had a stellar third term. But too much added up to too little for the Dockers.
The first quarter was a tale of misadventure for Fremantle. Stricken by nerves, they gifted the Hawks two early scoring opportunities - one a Danyle Pearce miskick that hit Jarryd Roughead, the other a Stephen Hill scrambled kick that Grant Birchall mopped up.
The Hawks took one of the chances - Gunston marking and goaling from close in. They would add another before quarter time when Luke McPharlin overstepped the mark on the 50-metre line and turned a Lance Franklin long shot into a gimme from the goalline after a 50-metre penalty.
At the other end it was a tale of what might have been.
Nat Fyfe was in everything but his first two shots on goal were sprayed out on the full - one left, one right.
The scoreboard damage at quarter time wasn't severe but the Dockers needed a settler.
They couldn't find one. It took 12 minutes into the second quarter for the Dockers to kick their first goal when Tendai Mzungu nailed a difficult set shot from 40 metres.
But that settled nothing. At the other end the Hawks weren't exactly making hay, but they were gradually making the margin bigger. Gunston got on the end of a chain of possession involving Franklin and Cyril Rioli, then got goalside of Zac Dawson for two goals. Rioli hit the scoreboard as well after Lee Spurr was pinged for holding the ball.
At the other end the points and missed opportunities were mounting. Fyfe, stellar in every aspect of the game except shooting for goal, finally managed to score from a set shot but it was a point not a goal. Pavlich missed one, then tried a square-up kick that was neither shot nor likely to lead to anything good.
At half-time Fyfe had had 18 possessions, 13 won in contests but his team was 23-points down and struggling.
They finally got their game going in the third term, thanks to a stellar quarter from Mundy, who assumed complete control of midfield stoppages. That meant the game started to be played more in Fremantle's forward line and that, in turn meant that the Dockers were able to apply some pressure, both in the contest and on the scoreboard, to the Hawks.
Pavlich got involved. He kicked two goals for the quarter and exerted an influence on the game for the first time. And with better quality opportunities headed his way, Michael Walters got busy, too. His two goals and a long bomb from Chris Mayne meant the Dockers rattled on five goals to three for the quarter and twice closed to within a kick.
But Gunston continued to be a threat at the other end and a snapped goal off the line after getting Paul Duffield under the ball, stretched the lead to 10 points at the last change.After that the Hawks had the poise when it counted and they had Lake, whose performance in a key defensive post was priceless.Hawthorn kicked the first three goals of the quarter and while Fremantle got two back, they also butchered more opportunities.The premiership favourites all year proved to be the favourites for a good reason.