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Hot Hawks eye off three-peat as error-prone Dockers rue mistakes

Highlights: Fremantle v Hawthorn The Dockers and Hawks clash in the first preliminary final
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 25: Ryan Schoenmakers of the Hawks celebrates a goal as David Mundy of the Dockers looks on during the 2015 AFL First Preliminary Final match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Hawthorn Hawks at Domain Stadium, Perth, Australia on September 25, 2015. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Ryan Schoenmakers kicked two vital first-half goals for Hawthorn

HAWTHORN is on the verge of a premiership three-peat and football immortality after dispatching of a brave Fremantle by 27 points in Friday night's preliminary final at Domain Stadium.

The Hawks' 15.4 (94) to 10.7 (67) win means they will contest their fourth straight Grand Final next Saturday, against the winner of Saturday night's West Coast-North Melbourne prelim.

Six things we learned from Fremantle v Hawthorn

They are now in a position become just the fifth club in history to claim three consecutive flags, after winning through to the decider despite two trips to Perth in as many weeks.

• The prelim in pictures: Fremantle v Hawthorn

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said winning next week would be focused on in isolation, rather than the bigger picture of leaving a triple premiership-winning legacy.
 
He also said he wasn't sure if it would be different to the past three years when they've needed two wins instead of three to reach the Grand Final.
 
“I haven't given it any thought. All our energy goes into this game," Clarkson said after the game.F

Freo needs forwards, Lyon concedes 

"We'll sit down and have a chat over the course of the next 24 hours, you know, address our playing group and any niggles or whatever, and work out the best way to prepare over the next eight days."

There was plenty of drama in the hotly contested final, played in front of a parochial and amplified West Australian crowd.

WATCH: Top five plays - Fremantle v Hawthorn

Divisive umpiring calls, persistent bouts of wrestling, two potentially dangerous fan incidents where Isaac Smith and later Luke Breust got up close and personal with Fremantle fans, and a one-legged but brave Nat Fyfe were all subplots of the entertaining bout.

• Your view: how the fans saw the Hawks' history-making win

However the Hawks weren't headed after they hit the front at the 18-minute mark of the first quarter and at one stage were 28 points clear, but the Dockers made several spirited charges after kicking the game's first two goals.

 
They moved within 11 points early in the fourth but were burnt by missed opportunities from Michael Barlow and Michael Walters, before Tom Sheridan made a horrendous error at half-back.

Sheridan dropped an uncontested mark on the devensive 50 only for Cyril Rioli to crumb the ball and kick his second of three goals.

It moved the Hawks 15 points clear and kicked off a run of four majors that sealed the game.

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said the Dockers only had themselves to blame for costly undisciplined acts.

Griffin devastated by crucial set-shot miss

"I think you acknowledge in the end that they got it done, the Hawks, acknowledge that they’re chasing three and they're a pretty good outfit," Lyon said.

"You can't shoot-out against them. Obviously we're not a shoot-out team and we'd like to improve all aspects of our game … but you can't make those sort of errors off the ball. I'm more concerned with discipline off the ball.

"At the end of the day our skill and decision in our (defensive) 50 (cost us). Tommy Sheridan's sitting there really upset. That's not the reason we lost, but obviously it was a critical moment."

Hawks midfielders Sam Mitchell and Luke Hodge were the main influences behind the victory, while Josh Gibson, Taylor Duryea and Ben Stratton were key in defence.

 Every Hawks player rated from the preliminary final

Hodge had his right hamstring treated in the fourth quarter after coming off second best in a marking contest.

The Hawks' captain played out the game and told Channel 7 afterwards he would be fine for next week.

After a week where Freo decided against recalling Ryan Crowley for his first game in a year, his usual opponent in Mitchell racked up 35 possessions.

• Every Fremantle player rated

For the Dockers, Lee Spurr did all he could in defence while David Mundy and Lachie Neale were consistent contributors in the midfield, but the story of their side was the performance of Fyfe.

The Brownlow Medal favourite suffered a nasty knock to his injured lower left leg in the first contest he was involved in after starting the game on the bench.

He was heavily rotated but had just two touches for the quarter, and ran with a heavy limp before being iced at the first change.

 
However, champions aren't kept down for long and by the main break, he had ignited for 13 disposals and five clearances.

After the main break, he did some nice things but didn't have a consistent impact before finishing with 24 disposals and nine clearances.

Freo captain Matthew Pavlich finished on the bench after suffering a corked leg after a relatively quiet one-goal performance against James Frawley, in what could be his last at AFL level.

And for coach Ross Lyon, the chance to clinch his elusive premiership will have to wait at least another 12 months.

FREMANTLE   2.1   4.4   8.4    10.7  (67)
HAWTHORN   5.2   7.2  11.3   15.4  (94)
 
GOALS
Fremantle: Walters 3, Griffin 2, Hill, Pavlich, Ballantyne, Barlow, Mayne
Hawthorn: Rioli 3, Schoenmakers 2, Suckling 2, Roughead 2, Smith, Hale, Breust, Hill, McEvoy, Duryea
 
BEST 
Fremantle: Spurr, Ibbotson, Mundy, Walters, Griffin, Fyfe
Hawthorn: Mitchell, Hodge, Gibson, Duryea, Rioli, Stratton, Suckling
 
INJURIES 
Fremantle: Matthew Pavlich (corked leg), Nat Fyfe (leg)
Hawthorn: Taylor Duryea (shoulder), Luke Hodge (leg)
 
SUBSTITUTES
Fremantle: Nick Suban replaced Matt Taberner at three-quarter time
Hawthorn: Billy Hartung replaced David Hale in the fourth quarter
 
Reports: Michael Walters (Fremantle), reported for striking Taylor Duryea (Hawthorn) at three-quarter time.
 
Umpires: Dalgleish, Stevic, Rosebury 

Official crowd: 41,508 at Domain Stadium 

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs