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Ten things we learned from Hawthorn's premiership win over the Sydney Swans

Highlights: Sydney Swans v Hawthorn The Swans and Hawks clash in the Grand Final 2014
Jarryd Roughead  and Shaun Burgoyne celebrate a goal  of the Hawks during the 2014 Toyota AFL Grand Final match between the Sydney Swans and the Hawthorn Hawks at the MCG, Melbourne on September 27, 2014. (Photo: Darrian Traynor/AFL Media)
Jarryd Roughead and Shaun Burgoyne celebrate a goal in the final term
Given the challenges Hawthorn faced throughout this season, many will consider the club's 2014 premiership triumph the best in its history. Days after last year's premiership, the Hawks lost star Lance Franklin to a fellow contender. They had a number of key injuries to important players through the season, including long spells on the sidelines for matchwinners Josh Gibson and Cyril Rioli. Even coach Alastair Clarkson was out for five weeks when struck with illness. To overcome it all and thump the Sydney Swans in the Grand Final by 63 points makes 2014 perhaps Hawthorn's greatest flag.
 
2. It was lucky the Swans had their Buddy
It was a very ugly day for the Swans, who entered the game strong favourites, but imagine how much worse it would have been without Lance Franklin. Franklin kicked four goals – one in each quarter – to be one of the Swans' best players. Whenever the ball was moved quickly into attack, Franklin looked far too good for his Hawthorn opponent. But it was a lack of quality inside-50 entries which hurt the Coleman medallist and former Hawk. After all the talk about playing his old side in his first season as a Swan, Franklin could hold his head high after the game as his team's standout performer.  
 
3. There's nothing like big-time pressure
Hawthorn rocked the Swans in the first quarter with the type of pressure not witnessed before in 2014. It was exemplified by Jarryd Roughead's crunching bump on Dan Hannebery. At a contest, Hannebery jumped to grab a bouncing ball and Roughead went low and smashed him into the ground with a tackle. It led to a Hawthorn goal through Jack Gunston and was a symbolic moment. The Hawks recorded 22 tackles in the first term to the Swans' seven – a telling reminder that on the biggest stage sometimes it is the most basic things that make a difference.
 
4. Luke Hodge is an all-time great
We're not telling you anything you don't know here, but after another Norm Smith Medal, it is worth repeating. In his 250th game, the Hawthorn captain was masterful in another Grand Final for the club, gathering 35 disposals and 12 marks. When the game was up for grabs, Hodge kicked two telling goals in the second term. Later, he even beat former teammate Lance Franklin in a one-on-one battle near the Swans' goal as they were pressing. Hodge won the Norm Smith in his first Grand Final back in 2008 and repeated the effort in his fourth. As if his standing as a champion needed any further validation, here it was.     

 
5. The Hawks' brave selections paid off
Ben McEvoy and Cyril Rioli vindicated the Hawks' tough call to include them in the Grand Final team. McEvoy was clearly the best ruckman on the ground, from start to finish. Although Mike Pyke won more hit-outs (32 to McEvoy's 14), McEvoy had far more influence around the ground. Rioli was dangerous throughout, and set up a goal for Roughead in the second quarter when he intercepted a look-away handball from Kurt Tippett. Rioli was subbed out seven minutes into the last quarter having done more than enough for coach Alastair Clarkson.
 
6. The star Swans went missing
Few would have predicted some of the most important Swans would have such little impact on a Grand Final. Co-captains Kieren Jack and Jarrad McVeigh had forgettable days, Hannebery couldn't get into the game at all, and Luke Parker didn't finish his breakout season with a strong performance. There were few winners for the Swans, with pacy duo Gary Rohan and Lewis Jetta among the least influential on the ground. Rohan had just seven disposals and Jetta had four, albeit missing some time in the third term while being assessed for concussion.  
 
7. The Hawks sit comfortably with the best – and more might be on its way
With three premierships in the past seven years, this Hawthorn side can quite rightly claim to be one of the best ever. And now it has the chance to eclipse the record of Geelong (2007, 2009 and 2011 flags) and the Brisbane Lions (2001-2003) and break through for a fourth premiership in the modern era. The Hawks, we think, aren't done yet. They have plenty of young talent waiting for opportunities, and many who have gotten used to the feeling of winning flags. Clarkson, too, joins the pantheon of all-time great coaches with his third flag and you get the sense he will be pushing for more.
 
8. Curtain raisers are a good thing for footy
For the first time in six years, there was a curtain raiser game on the MCG before the Grand Final. And may it continue into the future. The NAB AFL All Stars match showcased some of the best talent of this year's draft as well as the 2015 pool. One player, Nakia Cockatoo, gave his draft hopes a huge boost with his breakout performance. Let's hope the curtain raiser is back for good. And for what it's worth, the League's pre-game entertainment was a hit. The mix of youth (Ed Sheeran) and experience (Sir Tom Jones) was well appreciated by the crowd in Melbourne's sun.
 
9. Will Langford is the story of the 2014 premiership
Not so long ago, few knew much about Will Langford, apart from the fact he was the son of Hawthorn premiership star, and AFL Commissioner, Chris. But Langford couldn't have timed his run of breakout games any better – starting with a two-goal, 23-disposal game against Geelong in round 22 and ending his year with three goals from 21 disposals in the Grand Final. His bouncing goal in the third term, which trickled through and then flicked up to stun the Swans from the boundary line, summed up the way everything went the Hawks way on Saturday. The 22-year-old soaked up the premiership in the middle of the MCG after the game, his story now a part of Hawthorn history.
 
10. 'Selfie' season
It was the city of selfies in the victorious Hawthorn rooms post-game, with every fan and his friend carrying a phone, sticking it in the air and clicking away. A popular figure was Matt Spangher, who has risen to cult status with a consistent season in Hawthorn's defence. Perhaps the biggest cheer of the day came when Spangher was presented with his premiership medallion, and that same popularity was obvious in the post-game celebrations. It has been a long road for Spangher, who made his debut back in 2008 at West Coast, moved to the Sydney Swans and then arrived at Hawthorn with few expectations.