A BUDDY Franklin brain explosion has taken the gloss off a stirring Hawthorn comeback victory over the Sydney Swans on Friday night that guarantees the Hawks the minor premiership.
Franklin was reported for a high shot on Nick Malceski in the second quarter that will have the superstar forward and the Hawks sweating on the Match Review Panel's assessment on the eve of the finals.
The Swans led at every change and set the pace all night, but the Hawks kicked six goals to three in the final term for a 17.10 (112) to 16.4 (100) victory in an absorbing game of finals-like football.
Five talking points: Sydney Swans v Hawthorn
The result also means the two teams will meet again next week in a qualifying final in Melbourne, when the Hawks could be without Franklin.
After the game, that prospect didn't seem to overly bother coach Alastair Clarkson.
"What can you say? He's been reported … we've just got to let the authorities deal with that and see what happens," the Hawthorn coach said.
"Those sort of things happen in games of footy. We'll just see what the Match Review Panel deem it to be.
"We've won games of footy without him, so we'll do that again (if need be).
"But I didn't think it was a very malicious act … Malceski continued to play.
"We'll see how it pans out."
Jarryd Roughead kicked four goals for the Hawks, including two in the opening six minutes of the final term, to almost seal his first Coleman Medal, extending his advantage over Travis Cloke to seven.
Jordan Lewis, Brad Sewell, Paul Puopolo and Grant Birchall were all influential on a night when Sam Mitchell and Luke Hodge were well contained.
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In the absence of Kurt Tippett (hamstring tightness), who was a late withdrawal, Shane Mumford (41 hitouts, two goals) and Jesse White (three goals) were immense for the home side.
Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker and Ryan O'Keefe led the way in the Swans' midfield, but it was the Hawks left with the bragging rights following another fierce tussle between these two modern-day rivals.
Paul Puopolo celebrates a second-half goal as the Hawks' sealed the minor premiership against the Sydney Swans at ANZ Stadium on Friday night. Picture: AFL Media
Despite their third defeat from four games, coach John Longmire felt his side had taken a step forward from its recent form, and would be buoyed by the return of several big names for next week's qualifying final.
"I thought we had a lot of positives come out of the game even though we got beaten on the scoreboard," Longmire said.
"We were minus-30 in the tackles last week and we were plus-14 or so tonight (81-69).
"That was a really good start, and I thought our first half in particular our ability to cause some turnovers and score on those turnovers were good.
"We played some kids that did OK as well. Ultimately we leaked a few easy goals which we need to tighten up on, but there were positives to come out of it."
Click here to vote for the three best Sydney Swans players from the game
Seemingly intent on making a statement from the opening bounce, the Swans made a blistering start, kicking four of the game's first five goals.
Overwhelming the Hawks with their ferocity and intent, it was a one-sided quarter capped by Kieren Jack's running goal from a tight angle just before the siren that gave the home side an 18-point lead.
As you would expect of a side that has lost just three games all season, Hawthorn hit back to start the second term, but not before Franklin's moment of madness just two minutes into the quarter.
It failed to rattle the premiership favourites, however, who kicked four goals to two through a 16-minute period to close the gap to just five points.
But the Swans were right up for the challenge, with Gary Rohan kicking consecutive goals to give the home side back the momentum.
Yet despite all the Swans' dominance, a late David Hale mark and goal meant the visitors were only nine points down at the main break.
Four goals apiece in the third quarter then set up a grandstand final term, with the Hawks kicking away early to lock up the minor premiership for the second year in succession.
SYDNEY SWANS 5.2 9.2 13.4 16.4 (100)
HAWTHORN 2.2 7.5 11.6 17.10 (112)