Jai Newcombe celebrates a goal with Cam Mackenzie and Calsher Dear during the R14 match between Hawthorn and Richmond at the MCG on June 15, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

HAWTHORN has spoiled the party in Dustin Martin's 300th game, defeating Richmond by 48 points on Saturday to continue its impressive run.

Now with an even ledger, the Hawks made it six wins from their last seven with the 14.13 (97) to 6.13 (49) victory in front of a record crowd between the two teams at the MCG on a frosty Melbourne evening.

TIGERS v HAWKS Full match coverage and stats

Fittingly, it was Martin who got the Tigers off the mark. On the receiving end of a Hugo Ralphsmith handball, the seas parted for the milestone man to kick a neat goal from the 50m arc as the crowd stood in unison. 

But a run of seven unanswered goals from the Hawks in the second half stretched the margin after an early arm wrestle.

"It's amazing - it's a disappointing result, but I love the Tiger army so much, I love the club so much," Martin said after the match in an interview with three-time premiership teammate Jack Riewoldt on Fox Footy.

"All the love I've received this week has just meant the absolute world to me," he added, before putting to bed any rumours of retirement by telling Tigers fans he would see them for game 301 against Carlton after the bye.


The class and endeavour Will Day offered Hawthorn was game-changing. His work with the footy was one thing, recording 20 disposals and five inside 50s, but equally important was his aggressive defensive running without it.

Meanwhile, Mabior Chol (four goals) was also immense against his old side, playing an important role both deep inside 50 and supporting Lloyd Meek in the ruck.

From there, however, it was all Hawthorn. Dominant out of centre stoppages, the Hawks won the metric 14-7, allowing them to move the ball with speed inside 50 and prevent Richmond from getting numbers back to clog up its defensive arc.


Efficiency by foot around the ground allowed the Hawks real control in the game, slicing through a typically staunch Tigers defensive structure and generating opportunities forward on the lead or out alone in space. That allowed Hawthorn to negate the impact of Nick Vlaustin, whose intercepting work has been a highlight for the Tigers this year.

In his second game back from a wrist injury, Tim Taranto got off to a blistering start, with 12 disposals and a goal in the first quarter. He continued to work tirelessly, finishing with 33 disposals and eight clearances, despite having Conor Nash to contend with for the second half.

Although Tom Lynch was back for his first game since round three, Richmond struggled to find any damaging connection between its midfield and forward lines. The Hawks ran impressively to support their defence, which didn't allow the space for the likes of Lynch and Jacob Koschitzke to move dangerously on the lead.


Instead, it was when midfielders like Martin and Taranto got on the move from higher up the ground that the Tigers looked most dangerous.

Despite back-to-back four-goal performances in the VFL forcing young Hawk Nick Watson back into the senior side, he wasn't able to replicate that accuracy on Saturday. His conversion failed to reflect his workrate in attack, kicking just one goal from five scores.


The super sub
Luke Breust has been Hawthorn's substitute in each of its last six games – equalling the competition record – and has made the role his speciality. Coming onto the field for good friend Jack Gunston in the third quarter, his movement inside 50 was immediately threatening. The sub role, however, isn't simply about injecting fresh legs onto the field for Breust, but the impact he can have on the bench while still in the warm-up top. Throughout the first half, he was regularly getting up to chat to Calsher Dear, offering guidance before the teenager re-entered the field with each rotation. The partnership was topped off with a third-quarter goal, off the boot of Dear after receiving the footy from Breust.

A Day out
Hawthorn's reigning best and fairest winner Will Day was once again impressive. Around stoppages he was difficult to stop because of his almost choreographed movement, as time seemed to slow when the ball was in his hand. But it was without the footy that his impact was more keenly felt. Gut running to get from contest to contest, he set a standard for his teammates, and that running wasn't only in an effort to win more of the footy himself. Defensive efforts to mow down his Tigers opponents and generate poor disposal and opportunity for turnover were a highlight of his game. Hawthorn is a far better side with Day on the park.

Will Day evades Dustin Martin during the match between Richmond and Hawthorn at the MCG in round 14, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Tim's big term
After returning from a wrist injury last week, Tim Taranto was immense from the outset. The Tiger had 12 disposals and three clearances in the opening quarter, capping it off with a stunning goal late. Taranto received a neat handball from ruck Toby Nankervis out of a stoppage deep in the right forward pocket, turned toward the crowd to slam the ball onto his right boot in what initially looked like a squaring kick. But no other Tigers were necessary, as the ball bent beautifully through the big sticks for his side's second goal of the game, to remain within two majors at the first break.


RICHMOND                 2.3    4.5    5.8   6.13 (49)
HAWTHORN               4.3    7.6    12.10   14.13 (97)

Richmond: Martin, Taranto, Koschitzke, Bolton, Campbell, Mansell
Hawthorn: Chol 4, Mackenzie 2, Moore, Dear, Newcombe, Ginnivan, Macdonald, Watson, Dear, Breust

Richmond: Taranto, Rioli, Short, Nankervis
Hawthorn: Day, Weddle, Sicily, Chol, Newcombe, Amon

Richmond: Nil
Hawthorn: Nil

Richmond: Kane McAuliffe (replaced Noah Cumberland in the final quarter)
Hawthorn: Luke Breust (replaced Jack Gunston in the third quarter)

Crowd: 92,311 at the MCG