David Hale played a key role in Hawthorn's big win against the Swans
IT WON'T erase the pain of last year's Grand Final defeat, but Hawthorn has landed an impressive blow against the Sydney Swans, winning Saturday night's Grand final rematch by 37 points.
The Hawks burst out of the blocks to kick the first five goals of the game and they were never seriously challenged thereafter, leading by 40 points at half-time and eventually winning 18.11 (119) to 12.10 (82).
It was a victory set up by the Hawks' big forwards, with Lance Franklin, Jarryd Roughead and Jack Gunston each kicking three first-half goals and David Hale booting three in the second half.
Franklin, who has gone goalless the past two weeks, ended his barren run just two minutes into the match and finished with three goals, his third a brilliant show of strength that involved fending off two opponents.
Importantly, after poor kicking let the Hawks down in last year's Grand Final, they were deadly accurate, booting 6.0 in the second quarter to set up a match-winning lead.
"We've worked over the summer to get an even spread of inside 50 targets and they were all targets and it was good they all got on the end of it at different stages.
"We knew that Sydney was going to come. They tried to get themselves back in the contest in the first term but we were able to suffocate their little assaults, particularly in the second term."
Captain Luke Hodge was superb, finishing with 32 possessions and 11 inside 50s in a best on ground performance, while ruckman Hale played predominantly forward after Max Bailey came into the team late.
Defender Josh Gibson repeatedly cut off the Swans entries and gave the Hawks rebound, finishing with 27 possessions and 12 marks.
It was a performance out of character for the Swans, who won last year's decider by tackling and pressuring the Hawks relentlessly, but they couldn't stifle their slick movement on Saturday night.
There were also problems in attack for last year's premiers, with key forward Sam Reid held goalless and sent into defence at times to play as a loose man.
Adam Goodes (27 possessions and 10 inside 50s) and Josh Kennedy (30 and 13 clearances) battled bravely for the Swans, but with midfielders Jarrad McVeigh, Dan Hannebery and Kieren Jack all down on their normal output, they were fighting a losing battle.
"We didn't put enough pressure on them, they were able to get too many uncontested marks, and when it was our turn we didn't really use it as efficiently as we should have, particularly going into the forward line.
"[When you're playing catch up] you're never in control of the game, you're just trying to get back slowly and make it on even terms."
It was just the fourth time since 2000 that the reigning premier has lost the Grand Final rematch, with Geelong in 2010 and 2012 and the Swans in 2006 the others.
The 5-2 Swans face Fremantle, Collingwood and Essendon in the next three weeks, while the 6-1 Hawks face lowly Greater Western Sydney, Gold Coast and Melbourne.
Hawthorn's Jarryd Roughead celebrates a goal against the Swans. Picture: AFL Media
HAWTHORN 5.3 11.3 14.6 18.11 (119)
SYDNEY SWANS 1.4 4.5 7.7 12.10 (82)
Hawthorn: Roughead 4, Franklin 3, Gunston 3, Hale 3, Bailey, Breust, Hodge, Osborne, Burgoyne
Sydney Swans: Kennedy 2, McGlynn 2, O'Keefe 2, Pyke, Parker, Lamb, Bolton, White, Goodes
Hawthorn: Hodge, Gibson, Roughead, Birchall, Puopolo, Gunston, Mitchell, Lake
Sydney Swans: Kennedy, Goodes, Jetta, Parker, McGlynn
Hawthorn: Guerra (knee) replaced in selected side by Bailey.
Sydney Swans: Mumford (groin) replaced in selected side by White.
Hawthorn: Jonathan Simpkin replaced Bradley Hill in the last quarter
Sydney Swans: Jed Lamb replaced Marty Mattner at three-quarter time.
Umpires: Dalgleish, Nicholls, Meredith
Official crowd: 54,725 at the MCG