HAWTHORN has poured more misery on Adelaide's faltering season, leaving last year's losing grand finalist in serious danger of missing finals for the first time in four years. 

James Sicily proved the circuit-breaker in a game lacking for aesthetics in the opening half, bookending and kicking three of seven straight Hawk goals in the third quarter.

Two of Sicily's finishes – celebrated with gusto – were wonderfully struck kicks outside 50m and the other was from barely inside the arc to transform a dour struggle into a 56-point rout.

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Each side managed a paltry three majors in the first two terms – compared to a combined 14 behinds – but Hawthorn's scoring surge after half-time viciously put Adelaide to the sword.

The Hawks held the Crows scoreless for the term, just the seventh time in club history they failed to register a point in an entire quarter, in their first game at the MCG in 2018.

A four-point half-time buffer blew out to 48 at the final break and eventually became a 12.16 (88) to 4.8 (32) Hawthorn triumph that has it only outside the top eight on percentage.

It was Adelaide's third-lowest score in history, behind its 3.6 (24) against St Kilda in round 18, 2011 and 4.7 (31) in round seven, 1991, also against the Saints.

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The biggest roar was saved for four-time premiership player Shaun Burgoyne, who capped his 350th match with a brilliant checkside goal in the final term to go with 24 possessions.

"We were playing well (in the opening half), but we were frustrated … because we had 33 inside 50s for three goals – and that's not going to win you too many games of footy," coach Alastair Clarkson said.

"Albeit, because we defended so well, we were still in front at half-time.

"In the second half we took our chances a bit better, opened up the space a bit better and just directed our opportunities to teammates in better space in the third quarter and that split the game open, which was really pleasing."

It was an important result for the Hawks, who narrowly avoided a fourth consecutive loss with a last-start three-point win over Port Adelaide after trailing by 24 in the opening term.

Alastair Clarkson's men, fresh from the bye, destroyed Adelaide in the clinches in the pivotal third quarter, easily winning clearances (17-3) and contested possessions (37-23).

Jaeger O'Meara (30 disposals) won four of his nine clearances in the term and emerging midfielder Dan Howe (26) had three of his own as the Hawks pumped the ball inside 50 15 times to four.

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Tom Mitchell (40, eight clearances) amassed his usual gluttonous amount of possession, while Jack Gunston (27, five rebound 50s) shone at half-back in a Clarkson move that paid dividends.

Sicily finished with 24 touches at 88 per cent efficiency, eight marks and three goals.

The closest the Crows came to scoring in the third quarter was a wayward Taylor Walker attempt from 50m that sailed left and fell well short.

Don Pyke's team has now suffered four defeats in a row for the first time since dropping six on the trot between rounds nine and 14 in 2011, to slump from the top four to 11th.

"It was a really poor performance," Pyke told reporters

"The Melbourne performance about a month ago was disappointing, but tonight we came here with really high hopes and expectations.

"To perform that way, given at half-time we recognised the game was tight and a genuine arm-wrestle, our contest work and our defensive work in that third quarter was really poor."

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Adelaide missed All Australian Rory Laird (broken hand) badly, with stagnant ball movement plaguing its effort all night.

Bryce Gibbs (28, six clearances) did all he could to keep the Crows afloat, but had little support, although Jake Kelly hung tough as part of an under-siege backline.

Adelaide should regain Laird after next week's bye, along with Luke Brown (ankle), Riley Knight (hamstring tendinitis), Tom Lynch (side strain) and Rory Sloane (foot).

Hawthorn: The Hawks lost key defender James Frawley shortly before the first bounce because of a migraine. The same problem saw him sit out the second quarter against his former side Melbourne in round four. 

Adelaide: Sam Gibson left the ground in the second quarter with "hamstring awareness" in his left leg. The once-durable Kangaroo played 130 straight games before being a late withdrawal from the Crows' round one side with a hamstring injury. Gibson returned to the field in the third term after a rigorous fitness test. But Paul Seedsman struggled with a right hip pointer late in the contest, but coach Don Pyke said neither he nor Gibson should miss any time.

Hawthorn plays the third of its four matches this season in Launceston next Saturday against a suddenly upbeat Gold Coast, which has beaten the Hawks the past two times they met. The Crows have the chance to reflect during their bye before hosting West Coast at Adelaide Oval on Saturday, June 30.

HAWTHORN   2.5   3.9  10.11  12.16 (88)
ADELAIDE      1.2   3.5   3.5    4.8 (32)

Hawthorn: Sicily 3, Puopolo, Smith, Hardwick, Breust, Shiels, Ceglar, Gunston, Roughead, Burgoyne
Adelaide: Jacobs 2, Betts, Jenkins 

Hawthorn: Sicily, Mitchell, O'Meara, Breust, Gunston, Impey, McEvoy, Howe
Adelaide: Gibbs, Kelly, Crouch, Jacobs 

Hawthorn: Frawley (migraine) replaced in selected side by Brand
Adelaide: Gibson (hamstring), Seedsman (hip) 

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Stevic, O'Gorman, Stephens, Chamberlain

Official crowd: 26,693 at the MCG