Highlights: Hawthorn v Fremantle
The Hawks and Freo clash in the grand final
Lance Franklin and Jarryd Roughead celebrate a goal during the Grand Final win
HAWTHORN has won its 11th premiership, defeating Fremantle by 15 points in Saturday's tough and scrappy Grand Final at the MCG.
On a cool, wet and windy afternoon, the Hawks started with the sort of manic intensity for which the Dockers are renowned, and they led by 23 points at half-time after restricting their opponents to just one goal.
Freo surged back into the contest in the third quarter, closing to within three points, but Hawthorn held firm, winning 11.11 (77) to 8.14 (62).
"It's really rewarding," victorious coach Alastair Clarkson said after the match. "It shows that we're a really strong footy club."
Hawthorn sealed its triumph by kicking the first three goals of the last quarter and opening a 31-point lead, which was enough to hold out a Dockers side that never gave up.
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"When you're playing quality sides, you've just got to take your chances when they come," Clarkson added.
"We stressed that to the players at three-quarter time, to try and take your chances early in the last quarter and put some scoreboard pressure on the Fremantle side."
"A couple of those early goals (in the last quarter) were really important for us to have that buffer."
Fremantle will rue a horror day in front of the big sticks, wasting several easy chances throughout the game.
Gun midfielder Nat Fyfe was off target early, putting two gettable shots out on the full in the first quarter.
Small forward Hayden Ballantyne and skipper Matthew Pavlich then had chances to narrow the margin to two goals late in the final term, but both missed.
"It's about the basics under pressure. Missed shots, at the end of the day, separate quality."
Forward Jack Gunston and backmen Luke Hodge and Grant Birchall were among the other heroes for the victors, who avenged their defeat at the hands of the Sydney Swans in last year's decider.
Gunston kicked three of Hawthorn's five goals in the first half and finished with four.
Lake did a superb job in restricting Pavlich to two third-quarter goals and one in the last.
In addition, Lake took a number of intercept marks, while Hodge and Birchall were rock solid across half-back.
Jordan Lewis had a huge second half in which he won a stack of the ball and curbed the influence of Fyfe, who was among the best players on the ground in the early stages.
Along with Fyfe, midfielder David Mundy, defender Michael Johnson and tagger Ryan Crowley flew the flag for Fremantle, which was competing in its first Grand Final since joining the AFL in 1995.
The victory secured Hawthorn its first premiership since 2008, and the team that beat the Dockers included nine members of the '08 side – Jarryd Roughead, Lewis, Mitchell, Brad Sewell, Birchall, Hodge, Brent Guerra, Lance Franklin and Cyril Rioli.
Midfielder Shaun Burgoyne, who played in Port Adelaide's 2004 flag, has also become a two-time premiership player.
Brian Lake looks for an option upfield while Chris Mayne tries to close him down. Picture: AFL Media
The win was sweet relief for Clarkson, whose coaching record at the club now reads: nine seasons, six finals series and two flags.
It was similarly sweet for Lake, a veteran of 218 games, who played in three losing preliminary finals during his long stint with the Western Bulldogs.
"I have to thank Hawthorn for having the courage to pick me up," a beaming Lake said.
However, the result was another bitter pill for Lyon, who notched his third Grand Final defeat, having previously led St Kilda to a loss in the 2009 decider and a draw then a loss in 2010.
It was also another big blow for Freo defender Zac Dawson, who was at the Saints with Lyon during that period and was playing in his fourth Grand Final.
Despite all that, Lyon remained positive, and praised his players for their "their work ethic and their growth".
"There's a lot to like," he added. "We sit here really frustrated and disappointed that we weren't good enough to take an opportunity."
Fremantle's Nat Fyfe takes a strong mark in between a pair of Hawks on Saturday. Picture: AFL Media
HAWTHORN 2.3 5.5 8.8 11.11 (77)
FREMANTLE 0.3 1.6 6.10 8.14 (62)
Hawthorn: Gunston 4, Roughead 2, Franklin, Rioli, Smith, Breust, Hill
Fremantle: Pavlich 3, Walters 2, Mzungu, Mayne, Pearce
Hawthorn: Lake, Gunston, Lewis, Rioli, Hodge, Birchall
Fremantle: Mundy, Fyfe, Crowley, Johnson, Barlow
Hawthorn: Jonathan Simpkin replaced Max Bailey at three-quarter-time
Fremantle: Lachie Neale replaced Zac Clarke in the fourth quarter
Umpires: Rosebury, Nicholls, Meredith
Official crowd: 100,007 at the MCG