WHO SAW this coming?
Wearing the retro kit they wore when they won the Ansett Cup in 1999, Hawthorn has pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season to stun premiership favourites Collingwood by 32 points at the MCG on Saturday night.
HAWKS v MAGPIES Full match coverage and stats
The Hawks kicked the first five goals of the game, absorbed every challenge presented by the Magpies and never relinquished the lead to bank the most impressive win yet under Sam Mitchell’s watch 16.9 (105) to 11.7 (73).
And the result wasn’t the only shock on a day where Collingwood’s grip on the minor premiership loosened again following a second straight loss.
Finn Maginness held Magpies superstar Nick Daicos to just five disposals – 11 less than his previous lowest disposal haul – across the first three-and-a-half quarters, before the Brownlow Medal favourite ended the game sitting in the back row of the bench with a knee concern.
Suddenly, after winning 16 of the first 19 rounds of the season, the Magpies have problems after losing back-to-back games for the first time since round nine last year. It was as much about Hawthorn's brilliance as it was about Collingwood's inability to match the intensity.
The rebuild at Waverley Park has been crystal clear since the club traded away Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O’Meara last year, as well as losing Jack Gunston to a trade after Ben McEvoy and Liam Shiels retired. The win over Brisbane was a shock, but this was something not even the most optimistic Hawks supporters would have dreamt about on Friday night.
James Sicily set the tone from the start and produced another phenomenal showing that will enhance his All-Australian chances after being snubbed last year, despite winning the Peter Crimmins Medal. The skipper amassed 37 disposals, hauled in a career-high 19 marks, 10 intercept possessions, three goal assists and 515 metres gained in a defensive masterclass.
Jai Newcombe (28 disposals and six clearances) and Will Day (29 disposals and seven clearances) – the present and the future of Hawthorn's engine room – upstaged a highly fancied Collingwood midfield, while Maginness claimed another major scalp after shutting out Greater Western Sydney star Josh Kelly in round 17 in a performance that reignited his career.
What a difference a week makes. Hawthorn conceded nine first-quarter goals against St Kilda last week which led to an old-fashioned rocket from Mitchell at quarter-time. The game was over at that stage. Six days later, the Hawks couldn't have started any better.
Six days later, the Hawks couldn’t have started any better. It was the Dylan Moore show early. The half-forward kicked the first two goals of the game to clean up after a messy start at either end of the ground. When Josh Weddle added another on the run and Luke Breust got in on the action, Hawthorn had four goals on the board and Collingwood couldn’t have looked less impressive.
When Ned Reeves broke free of Darcy Cameron on the lead and went back to slot the first goal of the second term, somehow the Hawks had five unanswered goals and were starting to look unbeatable a long way from home.
Collingwood responded, it were always going to. When Jamie Elliott did the impossible from just inside the boundary, deep in the pocket in front of the MCC members, suddenly the stars were firing and the Magpies had kicked four straight goals to reduce the margin to under a kick in the second quarter.
It felt like the Pies would overrun them, but they never did.
To highlight the level of the role Maginness had done on Daicos across the first half, McRae moved the second-year Pie to full forward. Daicos took a courageous mark early in the third quarter and copped a corkie when he was sandwiched between James Blanck and Maginness.
Every disposal was earned. Especially the next one when the son of a gun received a free kick deep inside 50 after a melee broke out following a goal by McStay. Daicos snapped a goal and the margin was back to single digits after the Hawks kicked the first two goals of the second half.
But just like it did all day, Hawthorn had all the answers. Harry Morrison and Jacob Koschitzke took their chances before Mitch Lewis nailed a shot right on the 50m paint to extend the margin to 26 points by the final change.
Collingwood has defied logic by recovering from behind at three-quarter time so often under McRae, but not on Saturday. Hawthorn kicked the first three goals of the final quarter to dismiss any concern of another black and white snatch-and-grab job.
Maybe the Hawks should wear the retro round jumper every week?
Pies' injury chaos
Collingwood had a full list to pick from this week with only three injuries, and none to first-choice players. But now they might have some personnel concerns. Nick Daicos, Tom Mitchell and Nathan Murphy all finished on the bench. Murphy was the most serious of the three, exiting the game in the arms of trainers after his ankle was caught in a tackle. Mitchell had ice applied to his quad after being subbed out of the game in the third quarter, while Daicos was crunched in a marking contest and appeared to cork his leg.
Finn is the best in the business
Finn Maginness is the best tagger in the business. No question. It came as no surprise when Sam Mitchell put this on the radar on Thursday. Maginness has done some key tagging roles across the past 18 months, most notably against Greater Western Sydney star Josh Kelly in round 17. He clamped Nick Daicos back in Launceston during the pre-season. Five months later, Daicos is the Brownlow Medal favourite and might just have an unassailable lead already. But Maginness held the 20-year-old superstar to just two touches in the first quarter, three for the first half and five for the game. It might not be enough to poll Brownlow votes, but it will be to poll votes in the Peter Crimmins Medal.
Ryan comes the clouds
Brandon Ryan hadn't played a VFL game in March. Now the 25-year-old has played two AFL games. This time last year, the key forward was playing for Maribyrnong Park in the EDFL. On Saturday, the man they call 'Sticks' kicked three goals from nine touches and five marks against the premiership favourites. Hawthorn plucked the Barwon Heads product out of the Northern Bullants in the Mid-Season Rookie Draft at the start of June. It looks like the Hawks have found another mature-age bargain to add to the likes of Jai Newcombe, Ned Reeves, James Blanck and others.
HAWTHORN 4.2 6.4 12.7 16.9 (105)
COLLINGWOOD 0.3 4.5 8.5 11.7 (73)
Hawthorn: Ryan 3, Breust 3, Morrison 2, Moore 2, Lewis 2, Weddle, Reeves, Koschitzke, Newcombe
Collingwood: Elliott 3, McStay 2, De Goey 2, McCreery, N.Daicos, Pendlebury, Hill
Hawthorn: Sicily, Day, Maginness, Newcombe, Moore, Hardwick, Nash
Collingwood: Crisp, Pendlebury, Elliott
Collingwood: Murphy (foot), N. Daicos (leg), Mitchell (quad)
Hawthorn: Cam Mackenzie (replaced Seamus Mitchell in the third quarter)
Collingwood: Oleg Markov (replaced Tom Mitchell in the third quarter)
Crowd: 62,134 at the MCG