Clayton Oliver, Bayley Fritsch and Kysaiah Pickett celebrate during the round two match between Hawthorn and Melbourne at the MCG, March 23, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

STEVEN May is in hospital and fellow Melbourne premiership key defender Jake Lever was also hurt in the club’s 55-point AFL win over Hawthorn on Saturday.

Lever sat out the last quarter with a sore right knee, but the Demons were well on top and outclassed Hawthorn 14.9 (93) to 5.8 (38) in the twilight game at the MCG.

HAWKS v DEMONS Full match coverage and stats

Melbourne killed off the game with five goals to nil in the opening term.

Bayley Fritsch kicked five goals, while Christian Petracca and Jack Viney were imperious in the midfield.


May is nursing a sore chest after Hawks opponent Mabior Chol landed on him in a marking contest during the third term.

The Melbourne fullback left the MCG in an ambulance.


Lever was hurt in the third term and, after having his right knee strapped, tried some run-throughs on the boundary.

He spent the last quarter on the bench.

Jake Lever during the round two match between Hawthorn and Melbourne at the MCG, March 23, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

New Hawk Nick "Wizard" Watson finally kicked his first AFL goal, after kicking 0.3 on debut last week and another 0.3 early against Melbourne.

When his set shot went through in the third term, Watson turned to the crowd and celebrated.

In round 23 last season, Hawthorn tagging specialist Finn Maginness kept Melbourne star Clayton Oliver to just 14 disposals - easily the ball magnet's lowest return for the year.

So it was no surprise that Maginness went to him after the first centre bounce.

The Hawks put work into Oliver, including a heavy bump from Jai Newcombe, and the Demons star finished the opening term on the bench.

Clayton Oliver wrestles Hawks players during the round two match between Hawthorn and Melbourne at the MCG, March 23, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

But it did not matter, with the Demons splitting the Hawks wide open in the first quarter.

Oliver's comeback from his turbulent off-season continued with 23 possessions for the game.


Hawthorn had a whopping 52 uncontested marks in the opening term, but that did not bother the Melbourne as it dominated clearances 11-1 and the inside 50s 14-5.

Predictably, the Hawks changed their strategy at the first break and tried taking on the game more.

They outscored the Demons in the second term with two goals to one.

Hawthorn's second goal came from the incident that sent May from the field as he contested a mark on the wing and Chol crunched him.


As trainers helped a distressed May off the ground, Chol quickly moved the ball down the ground and Luke Breust capitalised.

After the Hawks outscored Melbourne in the second term, the Demons kicked clear with eight goals to three in the second half.

It's the little things that matter
With two stars injured, the result beyond doubt and, to be honest, three Brownlow votes in the bag, Christian Petracca just couldn’t stop himself doing what he does - anything and everything required for his club. As the clock ticked down towards the final siren the gun midfielder sprinted to the last line of defence to spoil what looked a certain Hawthorn goal. And he came up smiling like he'd just won a premiership. Post-match he explained that the play ticked off his annual quota of defensive 50 pressure acts, but don't be surprised if he does the exact same thing next week - he just doesn’t know any other way.


Wayward Wizard finally finds his magic
After kicking 0.3 against Essendon in round one, Nick Watson’s nerves would have been a little shaky in front of goal, and they would have been a whole lot worse halfway through Saturday’s game when he had added another trio of points without yet registering a major. So when, late in the third quarter, he lined up for his seventh shot on goal, the 19-year-old’s legs must have been more than a tad wobbly. However, Watson's waywardness couldn't last forever and the ball sailed through, registering the first of what should be many career goals in the future.


When a high marks equals a low final grade
Sam Mitchell went into Saturday knowing his side needed to bring a different sort of game if it was to challenge Melbourne, and he decided on Keepings Off. The Hawks dominated the marks tally in the first quarter as they chipped around the ground and amassed over 50 uncontested grabs, yet trailed by 32 points at the change. They went a little more conventional in the second quarter and managed to outscore Melbourne by a goal, yet still went to the long break with 74 marks to 33. At the final siren Hawthorn still led the mark and possession count, but the plan had little effect on the result.


HAWTHORN     0.1    2.3    4.6     5.8 (38)
MELBOURNE    5.3    6.5   10.7    14.9 (93)

Hawthorn: Weddle, Watson, McDonald, Lewis, Breust
Melbourne: Fritsch 5, Pickett 3, Chandler 2, van Rooyen, Petracca, Billings, Sparrow

Hawthorn: Sicily, Weddle, Amon, Scrimshaw, Worpel
Melbourne: Petracca, Fritsch, Neal-Bullen, Salem, Rivers

Hawthorn: Nil
Melbourne: May (ribs), Lever (knee)

Hawthorn: Jack Gunston, replaced Luke Breust in the third quarter.
Melbourne: Marty Hore, replaced Steven May at half-time.

Crowd: 43,960 at the MCG