Highlights: Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs
The Hawks and Dogs clash in round 17
Isaac Smith breaks away from Tory Dickson on Saturday afternoon
HAWTHORN skipper Luke Hodge kicked a 65m goal and Jarryd Roughead reached his half-century of majors for the season as the Hawks beat the Western Bulldogs by 19 points on Saturday.
Ladder leaders Hawthorn improved its win-loss record to 14-2 with a 13.17 (95) to 11.10 (76) victory at Launceston's Aurora Stadium, with Coleman Medal contender Roughead booting three goals to take his tally to 50 for this year.
The Bulldogs suffered their 12th loss from 16 outings but finished strongly by kicking the last four goals of the match after trailing by 44 points at the 24-minute mark of the final term.
The highlight came in the second term. With his side only 15 points ahead at the 23-minute mark, Hodge kicked a classic captain's goal.
The 2008 Norm Smith medallist smothered a kick by Ryan Griffen and booted the ball forward with an old-fashioned torpedo punt that sailed through the goals on the first bounce.
Hawthorn led by 15 points at quarter-time and 20 points at half-time - 6.9 to 3.7 - as both sides struggled for accuracy in the windy conditions.
The battling Bulldogs dug in their claws during the third term and outscored Hawthorn two goals to one to trail by 15 points at the last break.
Four consecutive goals in the first nine minutes of the final term - including two to sub Jonathan Simpkin who came off the bench in the last quarter - extended Hawthorn's margin to 41 points.
Hodge added a second goal to cap a fine performance as the Hawks scored six goals in the last quarter, but the Bulldogs also kicked six including a second goal to Griffen, who had a game-high 37 possessions.
Adam Cooney was also prominent for the Bulldogs while Hodge, Jordan Lewis and Isaac Smith were good contributors for the Hawks.
Small forward Cyril Rioli was held to seven disposals by Bulldogs' tagger Liam Picken.
Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said his team had endured a tough month including a win in Launceston over the Brisbane Lions, a loss to Geelong at the MCG and victory away against Port Adelaide. Their next assignment is another big clash, against Essendon at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.
"We've got to freshen ourselves up and get ready for the Bombers now," Clarkson said.
"Really it's just a matter of continuing to play good enough footy to get the four points, and keep adding them up so you put yourself in a good enough position at the end of the year."
Clarkson said he expected to regain key players Franklin (knee) and Sam Mitchell (ill) for the blockbuster against Essendon while Grant Birchall (knee) has resumed running.
Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney said he was proud of his team.
"We've made some terrific steps in the last two weeks," he said after the game.
"In the last month we've hung in and hung in and hung in and we'll get a win soon if we keep doing that."
But in a big blow for the Dogs, McCartney said defender Brett Goodes may have broken his arm.
"It seems like it's a broken arm (for Brett Goodes), just caught in between a contest and a teammate," he said.
"We're running games out pretty strongly but we keep breaking bones."
Bulldogs skipper Matthew Boyd has missed three games with a fractured cheekbone.
Ryan Griffen scoots away from Hawthorn's Jonathan Simpkin in Launceston. Picture: AFL Media
HAWTHORN 4.6 6.9 7.12 13.17 (95)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 2.3 3.7 5.9 11.10 (76)
Hawthorn: Roughead 3, Lewis 2, Simpkin 2, Hodge 2, Whitecross, Puopolo, Rioli, Breust
Western Bulldogs: Dahlhaus 2, Dickson 2, Giansiracusa 2, Griffen 2, Addison, Grant, Jones
Hawthorn: Smith, Lewis, Hodge, Stratton, Hale, Hill
Western Bulldogs: Griffen, Liberatore, Cooney, Picken, Giansiracusa
Western Bulldogs: Brett Goodes (arm)
Hawthorn: Brent Guerra replaced by Jonathan Simpkin at three-quarter time
Western Bulldogs: Nathan Hrovat replaced by Lachie Hunter in the third quarter
Umpires: Bannister, Schmitt, Fisher
Official crowd: 14,022 at Aurora Stadium