Jai Newcombe and James Worpel celebrate a goal during Hawthorn's clash against the Western Bulldogs in round 22, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

HAWTHORN has pulled off a second sizeable upset in as many games, denting the Western Bulldogs' finals hopes with a nailbiting three-point win in Launceston.

Starting the round 16th on the ladder, the Hawks held their nerve on Sunday afternoon to register their seventh victory of the season against finals hopefuls the Bulldogs.

HAWKS v BULLDOGS Full match coverage and stats

The 9.13 (67) to 9.10 (64) result comes after Hawthorn shocked ladder leader Collingwood last weekend.

It was ahead by more than three goals early in the final term before the Bulldogs mounted a surge with two quick majors. 


Bulldog Bailey Williams then cut the margin to just two points with less than two minutes remaining but his team fell agonisingly short.

Luke Beveridge's men host West Coast next round before finishing the regular season with a trip to Geelong as they try to lock in a top-eight spot.

Jai Newcombe was outstanding for the Hawks in his 50th AFL game, picking up a game-high 40 disposals, a goal and two assists.

The Hawks lost Chad Wingard inside the first few minutes when the experienced forward collapsed with a suspected Achilles problem.


It was a poorly timed blow for the off-contract 30-year-old, who has been sidelined with several injuries this year including a nasty tongue laceration. 

He had to be helped from the field and was unable to put weight on his left foot. 

Hawthorn shot itself in the foot multiple times in the first half, with turnovers inside its own 50 leading to Bulldogs goals. 


The Hawks conceded the opening three goals and trailed by 20 at the first break but reduced the margin to nine at half-time on the back of long-range efforts from Newcombe and Karl Amon.

The Bulldogs suffered an injury hit of their own in the second quarter when Tom Liberatore was substituted out after being accidentally knocked in the head by a knee. 

Liberatore had blood running from his head and was wobbly leaving the field. 


Hawthorn hit the lead for the first time early in the third quarter when Luke Breust converted from close range.

The Bulldogs managed just three behinds in the third term with the breeze at their back and the Hawks did enough to see out a shock win.


Hawks make surprise Finn call
Finn Maginness tagged Nick Daicos successfully in the Hawks' win over Collingwood last week and all eyes were on who he would go to on Sunday. The answer was Tom Liberatore rather than Marcus Bontempelli. Maginness locked down Liberatore before the Bulldog was substituted in the second quarter after suffering a concussion, with the Hawk then rotating through numerous opponents.

Jai steals the show
While most eyes may have been on Brownlow Medal contender Marcus Bontempelli, it was Jai Newcombe who starred in an enormous performance. Newcombe had 40 disposals, four clearances, four tackles, 10 score involvements and kicked a goal in a best-on-ground performance.


HAWTHORN                           1.1     4.8     6.9     9.13 (67)
WESTERN BULLDOGS            4.3     6.5     6.8     9.10 (64)

Hawthorn: Worpel, Newcombe, Moore, Lewis, Koschitzke, Grainger-Barras, Day, Breust, Amon
Western Bulldogs:
Ugle-Hagan 2, Lobb 2, Williams, West, Treloar, English, Baker

Hawthorn: Newcombe, Day, Amon, Worpel, Moore, Koschitzke
Western Bulldogs:
Bontempelli, Treloar, Richards, Lobb

Hawthorn: Wingard (Achilles)
Western Bulldogs:
Liberatore (concussion)

Hawthorn: Bailey Macdonald (replaced Chad Wingard in first quarter)
Western Bulldogs:
Oskar Baker (replaced Tom Liberatore in second quarter)

Crowd: 12,480 at University of Tasmania Stadium