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Flying Hawks serve wooden spoon to Blues with crushing win

Highlights: Hawthorn v Carlton The Hawks and Blues clash in round 23
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 5: Bradley Hill of the Hawks celebrates a goal as Dylan Buckley of the Blues looks on during the 2015 AFL round 23 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Carlton Blues at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia on September 5, 2015. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Happy Hawk Bradley Hill celebrates a goal ahead of not-so-happy Blue Dylan Buckley

HAWTHORN has tuned-up for its shot at a history-making premiership three-peat while condemning Carlton to the wooden spoon with a 57-point belting of the Blues in their final round clash at the MCG on Saturday.

But the Hawks' flag bid hit a potential snag when line-breaking wingman Isaac Smith twisted his left knee as he was tackled in the third quarter.

Smith hobbled from the ground in pain, went straight down to the rooms and didn't reappear for the rest of his side's 17.11 (113) to 8.8 (56) triumph.

"That tackle has rattled the knee in some way. I'm not sure (of) the severity of it. We don't think it's too bad, but we'll just have to wait and see," coach Alastair Clarkson said post-match. 

Five talking points: Hawthorn v Carlton

"Whether it's jarred or … it looked to be more on the medial side than otherwise, so we just need to get that checked out.

"I haven't spoken to the doc since the game, but (Smith) was obviously not OK to come back on the ground."

Hawthorn still has suspended skipper Luke Hodge, Luke Breust, Billy Hartung and Cyril Rioli – who was a late withdrawal due to illness on Saturday – to return for next weekend's qualifying final.

But Smith looms as one of their most important cogs against West Coast, most likely on the expanses of Domain Stadium, and the Hawks are hopeful he will be fit for the trip to Perth.

His injury was the only sore point from a routine win for the back-to-back premiers, who romped to their 13th consecutive win over Carlton.

"It was a pretty scratchy old game, wasn't it? I'm not sure I've witnessed a game where there's so little atmosphere in the game itself and the crowd," Clarkson said.

"For us to have a near-10-goal win, win every quarter, we weren't absolutely sensational with the way we played but we got the job done."

The Blues were severely undermanned but could take some solace from their improved effort after they suffered the biggest loss in club history – a 138-point mauling – at the hands of Hawthorn six weeks ago.

While this heavy defeat, coming after the Brisbane Lions' shock win over the Western Bulldogs, handed Carlton (4-18) its fourth wooden spoon since 2002, it comes with a silver lining.

List manager Stephen Silvagni will now take the prized No.1 pick to November's NAB AFL Draft and possibly the next selection, depending on in-demand ruckman Matthew Kreuzer's plans and attached free agency compensation.

"What I'll say about our list and our list management is we need to be bold," outgoing caretaker coach John Barker said.

"Because what you saw over the last six or seven weeks when we started to lose senior players was … what our depth looks like – and there's a hell of a lot of work to be done with our depth."

Saturday's match began with a touching tribute as the two teams met and shook hands before running through a joint banner in honour of Carlton great and Hawks assistant coach Brett Ratten's late son, Cooper.

The shared, one-word banner said it all - 'Family'. Picture: AFL Media

The twilight encounter proceeded to be a largely uncontested affair, suiting the back-to-back premiers, and Hawthorn held sway almost from the opening bounce.

The Hawks used their precise skills to (31 uncontested marks) cut Carlton to ribbons as they hit the front by 25 points at quarter-time.

Carlton improved after the break, with retiring midfielder Andrew Carrazzo and Ed Curnow leading the way as the Blues went into the rooms five goals down.

However, one-way traffic resumed after the main change, despite Clarkson taking the chance to rest silky half-back Shaun Burgoyne by handing him the red substitute's vest at half-time.

On his return from illness, Sam Mitchell enhanced his Brownlow Medal chances by racking up 34 possessions and Bradley Hill picked up a confidence-boosting 27 touches and booted a goal.

Jarryd Roughead and Jack Gunston (four goals each) feasted in attack, while swingman James Frawley chipped in three majors and Josh Gibson (25 disposals) was superb in his preferred quarterback role.

Carlton's shining light from a bleak season, Patrick Cripps, made one last claim for the Rising Star award, announced this Wednesday, gathering 26 disposals.

Souring the Blues' day was a report for a head-high bump from Kade Simpson on David Hale, although there seemed little impact in the incident and the Hawks ruckman carried on immediately.

In his last match, Carrazzo went out on a high with a team-high 33 touches, while fellow retiree David Ellard finished with nine disposals.

With three wins from his 14 matches in charge, Barker now officially hands over the reins to ex-Hawks assistant Brendon Bolton to start the lengthy rebuilding job at Ikon Park.

Hawthorn will be hoping Isaac Smith's finals hopes haven't been ruined. Picture: AFL Media


HAWTHORN      5.3   9.5    14.7   17.11   (113)
CARLTON           1.2   4.5      5.7   8.8   (56)          

GOALS
Hawthorn: Roughead 4, Gunston 4, Frawley 3, Puopolo, Birchall, Sicily, Lewis, Hill, Shiels
Carlton: Everitt 2, Watson 2, Walker 2, Simpson, Kreuzer

BEST 
Hawthorn: Mitchell, Gibson, Hill, Roughead, Lewis, Gunston
Carlton: Curnow, Cripps, Carrazzo, Tuohy, Tutt

INJURIES 
Hawthorn: Smith (knee)
Carlton: Boekhorst (corked leg)

SUBSTITUTES
Hawthorn: Angus Litherland replaced Shaun Burgoyne at halftime
Carlton: Clem Smith replaced Blaine Boekhorst in the third quarter

Reports: Kade Simpson (Carlton) reported for making high contact with David Hale (Hawthorn) in the third quarter

Umpires: Stephens, Nicholls, Chamberlain

Official crowd: 33,182 at the MCG