Jordan Lewis lays a crushing tackle on Saints skipper Nick Riewoldt
HAWTHORN has given St Kilda a painful reminder of how far it has to go to return to the top end of the ladder, mercilessly taking apart the rebuilding Saints in a record 145-point demolition at a rain-soaked MCG on Saturday.
But the Hawks' 27.13 (175) to 4.6 (30) win looks to have come at a high cost, with star midfielder Sam Mitchell
(right hamstring) and key defender Brian Lake
(right calf) unable to complete the game.
Mitchell was injured late in the first term, Lake early in the third quarter.
After the game, Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson ruled Mitchell out of next Friday night's clash against the Sydney Swans at ANZ Stadium and said Lake was in doubt.
The Hawks' winning margin was their biggest ever against St Kilda, eclipsing their 129-point win in round three, 1983.
Hawthorn kicked the opening five goals of the match, but really flexed their muscles after the rain started at the quarter-time break, kicking 21 of the last 23 goals and holding St Kilda scoreless in the second quarter.
The Saints entered their forward 50 just three times in that term to the Hawks' 19, with their first inside 50 not coming until the 25-minute mark.
The Saints' half-time score of 2.3 (15) was their lowest against Hawthorn since round nine, 1960.
St Kilda youngster Jack Billings kicked the opening goal of the second half at the two-minute mark of the third term, but the Hawks then piled on 15 unanswered goals, 10 in the third quarter and five in the last.
Jack Steven broke the Saints' scoring drought with a consolation goal with a minute remaining in the match.
Clarkson said after the game that his team had an even spread of contributors against the Saints.
"We shared the ball across all areas of the ground, particularly up forward, where we kicked 27 goals but our highest goalscorer [kicked] four," he said.
"It indicates that the players are well prepared just to give the ball to someone who was in the best position for Hawthorn to be able to score."
Jarryd Roughead was outstanding for the Hawks on a tough day for key forwards, kicking four goals and dishing off two goal assists.
Shaun Burgoyne brightened a dreary day with his class through the midfield, racking up 33 possessions, while Josh Gibson was impassable in defence, Luke Hodge a ball magnet all over the ground and Luke Breust lively in attack with four goals.
Teammates swamp Jordan Lewis after he kicked a goal in his 200th match. Picture: AFL Media
Ryan Schoenmakers also made an impressive return in his first game since rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament against Fremantle in round four last year, starting in attack and kicking four goals.
There were countless other strong contributors for Hawthorn, but St Kilda had precious few.
Billings gave Saints fans hope for the future, showing flashes of his class in attack, while Lenny Hayes, Leigh Montagna and Jack Steven never stopped trying around the ground.
St Kilda coach Alan Richardson said at his post-match press conference that the Saints had to learn from the pressure the Hawks had put them under.
"We will review that performance really strongly, collectively and as individuals," he said.
"We got an absolute belting today, there's no hiding from that and we'll learn from that.
"To come up against the reigning premiers in that form and to play and fail dismally with respect to pressure – our ability not to apply it, our ability not to cope with it – that will be where our focus lies and we'll learn and grow from that performance."
The Saints' day was soured even further by an elbow injury to defender Jarryn Geary
in the second quarter that Richardson said would sideline him for up to 12 weeks.
HAWTHORN 6.2 11.7 21.9 27.13 (175)
ST KILDA 2.3 2.3 3.4 4.6 (30)
Hawthorn: Schoenmakers 4, Roughead 4, Breust 4, Gunston 4, Rioli 2, Puopolo 2, Hale 2, Burgoyne 2, Hill, Hartung, Lewis
St Kilda: Stanley, Montagna, Billings, Steven
Hawthorn: Burgoyne, Roughead, Gibson, Breust, Schoenmakers
St Kilda: Billings, Montagna, Steven, Hayes
Hawthorn: Ben Stratton (corked hip) replaced in selected side by Angus Litherland, Sam Mitchell (right hamstring), Brian Lake (right calf)
St Kilda: Jarryn Geary (right elbow)
Hawthorn: Sam Mitchell (right hamstring) replaced by Billy Hartung at quarter time.
St Kilda: Jarryn Geary (right elbow) replaced by Josh Saunders during the second quarter.
Umpires: Margetts, Mollison, O'Gorman
Official crowd: 32,924 at the MCG