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Match report: Hawthorn edges plucky Blues

Highlights: Hawthorn v Carlton The Hawks and Blues clash in round 19
LAUNCESTON, AUSTRALIA - JULY 30: Ben McEvoy of the Hawks celebrates a goal during the 2016 AFL Round 19 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Carlton Blues at Aurora Stadium on July 30, 2016 in Launceston, Australia. (Photo by Sean Garnsworthy/AFL Media)
Ben McEvoy celebrates a goal early in the final term on Sunday

A HALF-TIME wake-up call has saved Hawthorn from humiliation at the hands of a hard-working Carlton, with the reigning premier holding on for a 19-point win at Aurora Stadium on Saturday.

After stretching to a lead of 32 points during the third quarter, the Hawks ended up winning 10.14 (74) to 7.13 (55).

The result is Hawthorn's 19th straight victory at its adopted Tasmanian home of Aurora Stadium, but far from its best showing.

Full match coverage and stats

"It was pretty tough conditions as you’d expect, you know, 2.8 to 1.8 at half-time and good kicks from both sides missing goals they should usually convert," Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said post-match.

"The wind dropped away a bit in the second half so the game opened up and players were able to use the ball a little bit more, a little bit better.

"We were pleased with our start although we couldn’t convert as well as we’d like. We thought we were wasteful with the ball in the second quarter and that allowed Carlton to rebound from their back end and control big periods of the second quarter."

Five talking points: Hawthorn v Carlton

Fan favourite Luke Breust finished with two goals – including a peach from the boundary line in the opening term – in an effort matched by Jonathon Ceglar, but some of the Hawks' big names kept a low profile.

Shaun Burgoyne was a standout in the closing phases, finishing with 25 disposals and five inside 50s.

After slow starts, Sam Mitchell and Isaac Smith both contributed well.

Overall, it was a lacklustre start for the premiers who were well below their best until half-time, including a goalless second term when they went to the sheds ahead by only six points.

The stats backed the Blues in every regard except precision in front of goal.

"We’re a team that needs to keep evolving and we think by-and-large we’re giving a lot of effort and trying really hard but as I said last week we need to be a team that learns and evolves to hurt the opposition when we get our opportunities," Carlton coach Brendon Bolton said.

"On turnover they hurt us, particularly by foot, but we’re doing a lot right.

"We’re on the right track in terms of effort, there’s no doubt about that."

Bolton's men were better organised in defence and well ahead in inside 50s, while Hawthorn's usually valuable contributors were shy.

Patrick Cripps was the star for the Blues, finishing with 31 disposals, 11 clearances and four inside-50s.

He found solid support from Zach Tuohy, Kade Simpson, Matthew Kreuzer and Andrejs Everitt.

The result consolidates Hawthorn's position two wins clear on top of the ladder.

Hawthorn: Kaiden Brand looked to be in trouble following a head clash with Dennis Armfield in the opening term. The young defender spent time in the rooms being assessed before returning to the field and showed no lingering concerns throughout the rest of the match. Tim O’Brien was also left stunned and missing a tooth following an accidental knock from teammate Will Langford during the third term.

Carlton: Jacob Weitering put a scare through the Carlton camp in the final term, hobbling from the field following a marking duel on the outer wing but Bolton confirmed post-match that both he and Levi Casboult (corked leg) weren’t likely to suffer any long-term effects.

Hawthorn will look to keep up its charge towards the finals against Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday afternoon. The Blues host St Kilda at the MCG on Sunday in a contest they will be desperate to win following three close losses against high-flying opposition in recent weeks.

HAWTHORN  2.5  2.8  7.11  10.14  (74)
CARLTON      0.4  1.8  5.11   7.13   (55)

Hawthorn: Breust 2, Ceglar 2, Duryea, Lewis, Burgoyne, Gunston, Hodge, McEvoy
Carlton: Buckley, Gibbs, Kreuzer, Cripps, Everitt, Silvagni, Sumner

Hawthorn: Burgoyne, Lewis, Birchall, Gunston
Carlton: Cripps, Tuohy, Gibbs, Simpson, Kreuzer, Curnow

Hawthorn: Nil
Carlton: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Hosking, Chamberlain, Mitchell

Official crowd: 18,112 at Aurora Stadium