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In pictures: Hawthorn's historic preliminary final triumph

Is this the last time we'll see this man lead his team out? Speculation swirled before the game that Matthew Pavlich would announce his retirement if the Dockers lost. It would be a sad note on which to end to his career if he was to hang up the boots. Though his overhead snap was a beauty, it was his only goal in the preliminary final defeat and he ended the game on the bench after corking his leg. Picture: Will Russell, AFL Media

The umpires are always unpopular with at least one lot of fans, but on Friday night both clans had opportunity to voice their displeasure with a run of divisive calls. Early on, it was the Dockers who got the short end of the stick. The contentious decisions started with the off-the-ball free paid to Matt Suckling against Hayden Ballantyne that gifted the Hawks their opening goal. Picture: Daniel Carson, AFL Media

There was plenty of spice in the game, starting before the bounce when Hayden Ballantyne got in Grant Birchall's face. Picture: Michael Willson, AFL Media

Repeated warnings from the umps to "save your money" fell on deaf ears as tempers continued to flare throughout the night. Picture: Daniel Carson, AFL Media

Nat Fyfe entered the game nursing a lower leg injury, and was battered the moment he entered the fray. Soldiering his way through the opening quarter, Fyfe iced his leg at quarter time, no doubt had further treatment at half time, but rose to give the Dockers hope with his renowned toughness at the coalface. It was a typically brave performance from the deserved Brownlow favourite. Picture: Michael Willson, AFL Media

Who will Jack Gunston replace for the Grand Final if the forward has recovered from his ankle injury? Swingman Ryan Schoenmakers performed an admirable job here for two goals and seven marks. There's a case for him to stay in the side but whether the Hawks want to tinker with their structure by dropping someone else for Gunston will be their big internal debate this week. Picture: Will Russell, AFL Media

Saving his best work for the deciding final term, Cyril Rioli was part of the reason Tom Sheridan will be haunted by this game for the rest of his career. The Dockers were within nine points when the ball was passed to Sheridan at half-back 10 minutes into the last quarter. He dropped an uncontested mark, Rioli pounced on the ball and rammed through his second goal It killed Fremantle's momentum and four match-winning Hawthorn goals followed. Picture: Michael Willson, AFL Media

Hawthorn defender Taylor Duryea has plenty to celebrate, including his final-quarter goal that helped the Hawks seal the game after a terrifically silky 26-disposal, 10-mark performance. Picture: Sean Garnsworthy, AFL Media

His team led the competition all season, finished atop the ladder and positioned themselves perfectly for a Grand Final tilt by taking the fast track into the preliminary. So this loss will leave a filthy taste in Freo coach Ross Lyon's mouth. A flag remains an elusive goal for Lyon, who will now have to wait another 12 months for another chance. Picture: Michael Willson, AFL Media

By contrast, this man, pictured with Bradley Hill, is on the verge of becoming a four-time premiership coach. The Hawks have had to do it the hard way this year, having lost their opening final before hitting their straps against Adelaide a week ago. Whatever happens at the MCG next week, Alastair Clarkson will go down as one of the competition's best, having led the Hawks through this successful era as well as recent obstacles like Brendon Bolton leaving his coaching panel on the eve of the finals as fellow assistant Brett Ratten grieved for his late son. Picture: Michael Willson, AFL Media

They're four quarters away from football immortality. If the Hawks sing their song again next week, they will do so as only the fifth club in history to have won three consecutive premierships. Just West Coast or North Melbourne stands in their way. Picture: Michael Willson, AFL Media